Healthy Eating at Work
There are many barriers to healthy eating at work from a rushed or non existent lunch break to that box of donuts starring at you in the break room. The reality is that healthy eating is just as important as remembering to take your reflux medication to reduce symptoms and manage your reflux.
The basics of healthy eating at work (and home) include eating small, frequent meals instead of a large meal. A small meal will place less stress on your stomach and decrease stomach discomfort, heartburn and bloating. It is also important to chew slowly and carefully so the food will digest well and you will avoid ingesting air which can lead to burping or bloating. Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms will go a long way to reducing heartburn and discomfort too.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Try eating part of your lunch during break time (morning or afternoon, depending on your hunger) and the rest during your lunch break.
- If you purchase a meal, eat only part of it during lunch and save the rest for the afternoon break.
- Make your own lunch so you can avoid high calorie and high fat foods that are typical lunch fare (fried food, gravy, sauces, salad dressing and rich desserts). Many adults with reflux report that high fat and fried foods lead to digestive discomfort.
- Substitute water or a sports drink for a carbonated drink since carbonated drinks tend to increase reflux symptoms.
- Carve out a time and place to eat. It is better to eat a small amount slowly and carefully rather than to rush to finish a meal.
- Keep a supply of snacks in your locker or desk to avoid the temptation to visit the snack machine. Examples of healthy snacks include: individual fruit cups, yogurt, baked crackers, pretzels, rice cakes and granola bars. If you need something sweet, try a hard candy or gum, avoiding chocolate and peppermint.
- Limit your intake of caffeine from coffee, tea and carbonated drinks. Having a smaller portion may be more realistic than avoiding these staples of our existence. Gradually wean yourself down to a Tall instead of a Grande. Order a small soda with lots of ice rather than the large size.
- Avoid exercising right after a meal. Let your stomach rest and digest before working out or taking a quick walk.
It is a real balancing act to eat carefully, find the time to chew carefully and let your food digest during a typical day at work. Most adults have limited time to eat and few options for healthy foods choices. By planning ahead and carving out some time to eat carefully, you will be able to manage your reflux much better. In the end, your will feel much better and be more productive at work.