Working From Home – Nutrition Tips

Are you working from home (WFH) for the first time in your life? How is it going?

Given the current requirements to self-isolate and stay at home, many of us are having to learn new tricks…one of which is probably the daily struggle of knowing what to eat. To help arm you with some useful tips we’ve asked one of our wonderful members, Caroline Haigh (nee Uzielli), to help bring some comfort and clarity to the daily struggles that some of us may be experiencing!

Caroline had the following words of wisdom for us during these challenging times:

It can be tricky getting into a routine and not constantly grazing all day! Do you open the fridge about 57 times a day, or simply find yourself staring mindlessly into the food cupboards?  I have worked at home for about 12 years and I regularly do both of these!  Errick McAdams (Personal Trainer, Washington DC) once said the following:

“If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”   

This definitely rings true for me – if you want to stay healthy and feel great, make sure you surround yourself with delicious and nutritious goodies. 

Below are my working from home (WFH) healthy eating tips as well as one of my favourite granola bar recipes that is deliciously sweet but full of wholesome ingredients so won’t spike blood sugar levels but will definitely satisfy the sweetest of teeth!  Please let me know if you try them out – would love to hear if you and your family enjoyed them.

WFH healthy eating tips:

Set up a meal schedule – sounds boring but try to have vaguely set times for breakfast, lunch and supper.  This will stop mindless and continual grazing (which I’m definitely prone too!) which create blood sugar highs and lows. Eating three balanced meals a day consisting of good quality protein (1/4 plate), lots of veggies (about 1/2 the plate), complex carbs and good fats will keep you fuller for longer and help prevent the mid-afternoon munchies!

Menu plan – we will all be eating at home for the foreseeable future so why not set aside some time to make a weekly healthy meal plan. I promise you it can be fun! Contact me if you need some help. Maybe attempt a new recipe or add a new ingredient you’ve never tried before. Most of us have a bit more time at home now, so try to nourish your body and mind with good food.   

Eat the rainbow – I always say this but try to make every meal as colourful as possible. The shops seem to be pretty well-stocked at the moment so getting your hands on lots of colourful veggies should not be too much of a problem. Don’t forget to make the most of frozen veggies too, they are equally nutritious. Basing your meals about colourful veggies will ensure you get all the antioxidants and nutrients needed to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

Water, water, water – make sure you keep hydrated as thirst can often be confused for hunger and dehydration can negatively affect concentration and energy levels.

Snacks – we all love a snack but it can be easy to munch your way through a whole packet of hobnobs by lunchtime if you are not careful! Oatcakes, fruit, nuts, carrot sticks or Medjool dates are great foods to have on hand and won’t cause spikes in your blood sugars. OR, try out my recipe below….

Indulge & relax! A global pandemic is no time to be restricting yourself. I love the 80:20 rule – so for 80% of the time you enjoy delicious, healthy foods and then for 20% of the time you can indulge a bit – bake a cake, enjoy a glass of wine or support a local business and grab a takeaway.  Food is there not only to nourish your body but to be enjoyed and make you happy.

Caroline’s Oat, date & banana ‘any time’ snack bars

A flapjack-style oat bar packed with protein and fibre that will keep energy levels stable and hunger pangs at bay. 

100g organic butter
170g medjool dates, pitted
3-4 tbsp water in a small pan
2 tbsp nut butter, choose your favourite!
1 banana, peeled
150g rolled oats
50g mixed seeds
30g flaked almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
30g chopped dried fruit – apricots, dates, raisins or dried cranberries   

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Line an 8-inch square tin with greaseproof paper.

Place the butter, dates, nut butter and water in a small pan and heat stirring until the butter is melted. Place in a food processor, add the banana and blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl stir together the oats, seeds, almonds, cinnamon and chopped dried fruit.  Add the date and butter mixture. Stir well to combine.  If it seems a little solid, add a touch more water.  Spoon into the baking tin and flatten with the back of a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. Leave to cool

Slice into bars when cold and store in an airtight container. Can be frozen.

Chef tips:

  • Experiment with flavours – flaked almonds, dark chocolate chips, toasted coconut all work really well.
  • Vegan? Use coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Keeps for about a week or two in a sealed container in the fridge.

Nutritional stuff:

  • Dates – gut health and heart health
  • Deliciously sweet, gooey and full of natural goodness.  Dates are packed with gut-healthy fibre, iron and potassium, which is vital for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
  • Oats – heart-healthy and balance blood sugars
  • Packed with soluble and insoluble fibre that supports good gut health. The beta-glucans (a special type of fibre) in oats helps to lower cholesterol. Oats help support good energy levels as they are packed with B vitamins which are necessary for converting food into useable energy for the body. Being complex in structure, oats are slow to digest and offer a drip-feed of energy.
  • Bananas –  good for the heart, good for the gut and a great source of energy.
  • The humble banana packs a nutritional punch. They are particularly high in potassium which helps to regulate heart function so helps to lower blood pressure. Potassium also prevents muscles cramps during exercise. They are a good source of fibre with a low GI (glycaemic index) so do not raise blood sugars too fast so ideal for sustained energy levels. The fibre in bananas also feeds the good bacteria in our guts so they are fabulous for digestive health. What’s not to love!

Please contact Caroline direct for more information on the above, or for her full cupboard of other nutritional tips & tricks: 

During these challenging times we asked Caroline Haigh, a long time member of Trevose, for her tips (and inspiration) to help us plan a [realistic] balanced, healthy diet…with minimal pain!

Latest information:

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