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Kiwis keen to eat better at work, survey finds


A healthy workplace is not pie in the sky, with a recent survey showing most Kiwis would welcome the chance to eat better at work.

The 5+ A Day survey found 64 percent of workers would take part in a healthy eating challenge if it was organised by their employer.

Fruit has a real feel-good factor, with 69 percent of workers saying they would feel positively towards employers who made fresh fruit available. Yet most (65 percent) said their employers did not provide fruit or make it available at work.

A healthy work environment could also benefit the bottom line, with 72 percent of workers agreeing that eating a healthy lunch made them feel more productive for the rest of the day.

The survey on consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the workplace also found almost half (46 percent) of workers reported eating fruit at work at least once a day. And it seems Kiwis are heeding healthy eating messages, with 85 percent of those surveyed including fruit and vegetables in the homemade lunches they take to work.

Healthy Food Guide Editor-at-Large, Niki Bezzant, says a healthy lunch can help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

“At HFG we always have fruit in the kitchen for staff, and we have a little vege garden as well so we can get some of our five-plus in at work every day,” she says. “Eating well – and especially getting fruit and vegetables in – helps people feel better and perform better at work, and at home too. It’s a no-brainer as part of having a healthy workplace.”

The results are from a survey of 368 people nationwide, conducted by Nielsen in November. It forms part of 5+ A Day’s ongoing research into New Zealanders’ fruit and vegetable eating habits.

Healthy lunch ideas for work

For optimal health we should strive to eat five or more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. As a guide, a serving is about a handful. A great tasting healthy lunch doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan ahead and buy seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. Here are some tips:

Snack ideas

· Freeze a bunch of grapes and place in your lunchbox in the morning – not only does it bring out the sweetness but it also keeps other food fresh.

· Fruit – whole fruit, or try berries and sliced summer fruit mixed through yoghurt.

· Vegetables – sliced carrots, cucumber, celery and capsicum with a low-fat dip. Try homemade salsa (tomato, red onion, avocado, coriander and lime juice) or natural yoghurt mixed with lemon juice, cucumber and a little crushed garlic.

· Crackers with avocado, tomato, salsa and light cottage cheese.

Early autumn lunches

· Tomato, basil and feta bruschetta. Pack the bread and topping in separate containers and build at work for maximum freshness.

· Fruit salad – use any fruit in season. Lemon juice squeezed over chopped fruit will prevent it turning brown and will give it a nice tang.

· Green salads – mix salad greens with seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, tomatoes and cucumber. Dress with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

· Coleslaw – shred cabbage, carrot, a little red onion and add parsley. Mix through a dressing made with plain yoghurt, lemon juice, mustard and a little olive oil.

Sandwich fillings

· Spread avocado on your sandwich instead of butter or mayo and make your sandwich instantly healthier.

· Take vegetables in a container and put your sandwich together at work to prevent it getting soggy.

· Pack wholegrain pita, naan, bagels or wraps with all your favourite shredded vegetables mixed together with a diced boiled egg.

· Roast vegetables the night before to make tasty sandwiches. Roasted mushrooms, red capsicum and eggplant are great in sandwiches or wraps.

· Load up sandwiches or wraps with some or all of the following: grated carrot, capsicum, sliced cucumber, mushroom, tomato and spinach, avocado, lettuce or beetroot.

For practical tools and tips on how to improve wellbeing and productivity in your workplace, visit the Workplace Wellness Hub on www.5aday.co.nz.

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