Business men digging into his lunch

How to Eat Healthy At Work

Step One: Pick Whole Grains

A pan of wholegrain pasta with lots of cherry tomatoes, and brocolli

Whole grains are grains that maintain all three original parts—the bran, endosperm and germ—in their original proportions after being milled. Some grains, such as brown rice, can be eaten on their own while others are used to make whole grain products such as noodles, vermicelli or pasta.

When choosing meals for the workplace, pick whole grain options where possible. Eating more whole grains has been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers[1].

If you’re serving finger food, add texture to sandwiches by swapping white bread for wholemeal or multigrain bread. Wholemeal bread, which is made from whole wheat flour produced from milling the entire wheat grain, contains nutrients such as fibre and Vitamins A, E and B[2].

Related: 5 Healthier CBD Lunchtime Dining Options

Step Two: Choose Healthier Oils

Healthier Oil Label

When catering, look for companies that use oils with the healthier choice symbol, which are generally lower in saturated fat. Saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease[3]. Cooking with healthier oil will not change the taste of the food, so you can enjoy the same flavours in your favourite dishes that go easy on the heart.

Related: Reading Food Labels

Step Three: Limit Deep Fried Food

A plate of fried mozzerella sticks

Keep deep fried food to 20% of the overall buffet. For instance, try not to have more than two deep-fried dishes in a 10-dish buffet. Instead of deep-fried food, choose alternative cooking styles such as grilling, baking, or pan- frying. For instance, grilled chicken wings, fish fingers or tofu can be just as tasty as the deep fried variety. Steamed dumplings and spring rolls are also juicier and tastier than deep fried ones, not to mention healthier too.

Include more plant-based dishes in the buffet line. For instance, choose fun and zesty salads topped with protein such as grilled chicken strips for a dish that is high in fibre and low in animal fat. Cutting down on heavy, greasy food also help to avoid a “food coma”, or the post-lunch sleepiness that occurs when more blood is channeled to the stomach to aid digestion[4].

Related: From Goreng to Grill: Healthier Cooking Methods

Step Four: Lower Sugar Levels

Healthier Choice Symbol

When selecting drinks, look for canned or packet drinks with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) logo. Drinks with this logo contain at least 25% less sugar compared to regular sweetened beverages or products from the same food category.

Alternatively, ask caterers if they offer sugarless tea, with sugar or syrup served on the side. Popular and refreshing flavours include ice lemon tea, green tea or lemongrass tea. And always serve water—it’s quenching, refreshing, healthy and virtually free!

Related: The Not-So-Sweet Truth about Sugar

Step Five: Choose Healthier Caterers

Small cocktail bites laid out on a table

Finding the right caterer is the first step towards better health in the workplace. Choose from HPB’s list of healthier caterers, which will help you make better food choices.

When it comes to selecting the menu, pick from this checklist of healthier catered food and help your employees kick-start a healthier lifestyle!

Healthier Catering Self-Assessment Checklist

Find out if your menu qualifies as a healthier catering menu by answering the following questions.

Please read the questions carefully and answer each one honestly. Check YES or NO or N.A. (Not Applicable) for each of the questions.

S/N

True

False

N.A.

1

Water is provided free-of-charge.

2

For a menu that contains rice, noodles or equivalent and/or bread items, they are made of wholegrain.

3

For a menu that serves coffee and/or tea, they are served without added sugar or sugar syrup. Any sugar or sugar syrup served are to be placed on the side.

4

For a menu that contains dessert, the option of a fresh fruit platter is available.

5

For a menu with 3 or less items (inclusive of dessert, excluding drinks), there is no deep-fried item.

6

For a menu with 4 to 8 items (inclusive of dessert, excluding drinks), there is a maximum of 1 deep-fried item.

7

For a menu with 9 or more items (inclusive of dessert, excluding drinks), there is a maximum of 2 deep-fried items.

If you have answered FALSE to at least one of the above questions, your menu does not qualify as a healthier catering menu.

Please refer to our healthier catering guidelines and speak to your caterer to make the adjustments to your menu.


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References

  1. Health Promotion Board. (2015, Jan 5). Whole grains — the wise choice! [Website].
    Retrieved March 2017 from https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/183/whole_grains_wise_choice

  2. Cheong, T. (n.d.). Which Bread Is Healthiest? [Website].
    Retrieved March 2017 from https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/food-tips/which-bread-healthiest

  3. Health Promotion Board. (n.d.). Introduction to Fats [Website].
    Retrieved March 2017 from https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/76/introduction-to-fats

  4. Stewart, A. (2015, Sep 24). Here’s Why Eating Too Much Can Give You a ‘food Coma’ [Website].
    Retrieved March 2017 from http://www.sciencealert.com/health-check-food-comas-or-why-eating-sometimes-makes-you-sleepy