Many companies work towards providing a wholesome food experience to the employees through subsidised cafeterias on the office premises. But buffet style dining anywhere in the world is the easiest way to promote overeating and making poor nutrition choices.
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Besides affecting your weight and your health, eating too much in your office cafeteria can directly hamper your performance, right after lunch. Eating an unhealthy meal at lunch will make you feel more lethargic, lead to poor concentration and tend to spend more time doing simple tasks.
Simple tips can help you eat healthier at a cafeteria so not only are you providing the right nutrition to your body but you are also improving our work performance.
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Start with a glass of water: This applies not only to your lunch, but to all your meals. Most of us don't drink enough water, so right before your meal have a big glass of water. This helps reduce your risk of over-eating, and hydrates you appropriately.
Start with salad: Most cafeterias have salad on the menu. Stick to freshly cut salad vegetables and avoid those that are soaked in dressings. In case they don't have plain salad on the menu, you can request for fresh cut salad vegetables on the side. Salads contain fiber that helps fight cholesterol, antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage build immunity, and help prevent you from overeating at lunch time.
How much rice and roti: Carbohydrates are important for your body. In fact your brain's choice of fuel is carbohydrates. So, you should not remove rice or roti from your diet. But what you need to keep in mind here is portion control. You don't need three chapattis and a huge helping of rice for lunch. You will be surprised how a single roti or a cup of rice, along with the essential meal components (listed here) can help you feel full without making you overeat.
Skip the gravy: Most gravies are an empty calorie trap. What that means is they contain almost no nutrition and are loaded in oil that can be seen floating on top of the serving dish. They often contain deep fried dumplings that are mostly made of corn flour. The gravy is low on nutrition, high on calories, fat and cholesterol. They're best to skip.
Load up on the veggies: Vegetables are a store house of nutrients and contain all essential vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. Many people have a tendency to skip the vegetables on the menu purely because they look ugly. But get over your inhibitions, eat your veggies, and give your body the nutrition it really needs.
Dal: Dal is loaded with protein, healthy carbohydrates and soluble fibre that are great for cleaning your articles from eating too much gravy. Eat at least a bowl of dal with your meal. If you are feeling hungry take an extra helping of the vegetables but skip the extra roti.
Add yogurt: Yoghurt is a natural probiotic and therefore very good for your gut. Add a serving of yoghurt to your plate and improve the nutrient quality of your lunch a few notches. Research has shown that consuming dairy can help reduce your belly fat!
Finish it off with a fruit (optional): Skip the dessert. You don't really need it and serves no purpose. If you have a bad sweet tooth and you want something sweet to complete your meal, then try a fruit. You will thank us for helping you develop this one healthy habit.
(Dhruv Gupta is the founder of the online weight loss programme Fitho (www.fitho.in) and the author of popular book on weight loss, Losing It- Making Weight Loss Simple)