Do you work a 9-5 job? Yes... you're workplace IS trying to kill you! Sitting in a cubicle all day, constantly snacking and staring for hours at the unnatural glow of a computer makes an office a haven for poor health care. However, there are ways to beat the 9-to-5 deathtraps. Mashable spoke to five nutritionists based in and around New York City to get their top office health tips.
Each nutritionist recommended a unique method for the ultimate health guide, but one tip in particular was echoed by every single one: Be prepared. Yes, the Boy Scouts adage applies to office health. "If you just wing it, you’re bound to run into trouble," says Karen Ansel, a Long Island-based nutritionist. "That means knowing ahead of time what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to eat it."
Nikki Ostrower, who founded her own nutritionist practice NAO Nutrition, says the same thing about getting movement into your office routine. Plan ahead by scheduling walks in your calendar that remind you to get up and let your blood flow, she says.
From healthy snack options to tech that reminds you to move to headache-curing oils, here are five great health tips these nutritionists love.
- Movement is key. Nutritionist Karen Ansel, based on Long Island, tells Mashable that movement is key. "I wear a Fitbit Flex activity monitor and check it regularly throughout the day," she says. The Fitbit tracks a user's activity, including burned calories, distance and steps taken throughout the day. If it tells her she hasn't moved enough, she'll get up from her desk every half hour, and walk for a little bit.
- Never skip meals. Marissa Lippert, who founded nutrition counseling firm Nourish, says the most important tip is to never skip meals. The negative aspects include a sluggish metabolism, future overeating and a craving for sugar and carbohydrates. "Make sure you eat something small every three to four hours to keep your blood sugar steady and your energy strong," she tells Mashable. Lippert-approved work snacks are "fresh fruit with nut butter, or a piece of cheese."
- Walk around. Preparation is key for Vanessa Stasio, a nutritionist at practice Nutrition Energy. She says an easy way to prepare is to put everything on your calendar, reminding you to walk around. "Get up and move no matter how busy you are, for both your physical and mental health," she says. Some of her methods to enforce that tip include putting breaks in your calendar, setting up walking meetings and speaking to a coworker face-to-face instead of instant messaging. She also recommends seeking out like-minded coworkers concerned with sitting too much. They'll help reinforce your need to get moving.
- Early preparation. Nikki Ostrower runs NAO Nutrition, a health practice she founded in 2008. For her, a healthy day at the office requires early preparation at home. She wakes up around 5:45 a.m. and goes for a five-mile run, or heads to the gym. Breakfast could be a veggie omelette and strawberries, or a plain yogurt parfait. Not eating a healthy breakfast is a recipe for failure. "You’re already setting yourself up for food cravings, irritability, low immunity [and] nutrient deficiency right then and there," Ostrower warns. Keeping a food journal is a healthy way to watch your food intake (she recommends just writing it down in the notes section of your smartphone).
- Keep bottled juice handy. Dana James, a triple board certified nutritionist and founder of practice Food Coach NYC, has a green secret. Since she's usually in her office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., she drinks vegetable juice throughout her work day. Her beverage of choice? Evolution Fresh, which is sold at Starbucks, Whole Foods and various delis. Each bottle ranges from $2.99 to $6.99. James met the founder of the company and was "so impressed with the product," she tells Mashable. "It [stays good] for 30 days...and I love the fact that it’s readily available." Her EF bottle of choice is the Essential Green veggie juice, made with celery, lime, clover, kale, parsley, cucumber, romaine, spinach and wheat grass. If you still need to get a caffeine kick, James says it's fine to go ahead and drink one cup of coffee (having two is "just too much"). She takes hers black, with a squeeze of orange oil.