Are Professionals Up For The Challenge? Plus - 5 Quick and Dirty Tips to Stay Healthy Under Pressure

 Photograph by Marko Duśak of Hungry Foodography

Photograph by Marko Duśak of Hungry Foodography

Achieving work-life balance is hard in any profession.  All professionals (business, government, non-profit, medical, academic, etc.) struggle with having enough time to "do it all."  

Long work hours make eating "right" (whatever that means) difficult.  Project deadlines, meetings, and doing whatever it takes to get ahead can take their toll on us.  Some office pantries are stocked with snacks that include chips and cookies.  Coffee, soda, and energy drinks seem like great options to the blurry-eyed. We slip on eating healthy foods while at work (and when doing work), but social hours offer no respite.

Professional meetings, happy hours, networking or other social events offer drinks, appetizers, and meals that are designed to tantalize senses and be enjoyed!  Mini brownies, cakes, savory pastries.  Who can resist an indulgence?   Most of us would agree that there is nothing wrong with eating these foods every once in a while.  But in the professional world, the opportunities to eat them come up more often than our own bodies can handle. And those opportunities are hard to resist.  But what if on one day we accept a challenge to eat healthy - would that make turning down unhealthy snacks or eating healthier meals a little easier?   

On March 30, professionals are called participate in the No Junk Food Day Challenge.  The term "junk food" is one that can mean just about anything.  People define "junk food" differently:  some look at the quality of ingredients, while others focus on sugar, fat, salt content.  Some people don't believe there is such a thing as "junk food."  Foods to them are simply less or more nutritious.  No matter how you define "junk food" or "healthy food", participating in No Junk Food Day is about making a healthy change in your diet (however large or small) on the same day.  No Junk Food Day is about creating a community that, on March 30, is a little more aware of what they put in their bodies.   

And remember - the No Junk Food Day Challenge isn't about eliminating rich, sweet and savory foods from your life altogether - just for 1 day.  If your birthday or other event falls on March 30 this year, you are welcome to take the challenge on the 29 or 31 instead.  You can also choose to make a one-meal modification, or drink much more water throughout the day.  Whatever you do, we hope you decide to participate!  Check out the Challenge Wall here, if you do.  

Quick and Dirty Healthy Eating Tips for Professionals

  1. Drink as much water as possible.  Hydrating keeps your body and brain healthy.
  2. Some salads have more fat and calories than sandwiches or other choices because of the dressing. Order dressing on the side and try to gradually use less and less of it. 
  3. Eating lots of vegetables, together with a protein (nuts, hard boiled eggs, etc.), can fill you up for a longer amount of time than most packaged snacks.  As in the work-world, efficiency is key.   
  4. If you know the food will be fantastic at an event, try to eat less bread, starches, sugars, fats, etc. over the course of the week or on that day.  Cutting out packaged snacks and sticking with fresh veggies and proteins that are prepared with less fat on most days is what we like to call "strategic planning."  
  5. Generally, try choosing quality over quantity. You may find you eat less when you spend more to buy quality food.