Staying Healthy While Working from Home | Hoppers Lane GP

Written by Accredited Practising Dietitian Vicki Foord
Source: https://www.eatforwellness.com.au/staying-healthy-while-working-from-home/

Who doesn’t love working from home? No communiting, no ironing, no packed lunches and best of all, you get to stay in your pyjamas all day (unless you have a Zoom meeting)! But this can also present a new set of challenges, especially when it comes to your health and well-being. The lack of social stimulation, reduced level of productivity and the tempation of reaching for desirable snacks in the kitchen can become a recipe for disaster! 

Below our Dietitian has provided some helpful tips on how you can stay healthy and productive, while working from home.

Maintain a similar morning routine

Human beings are creatures of habit. Having a routine does help us mentally prepare for the day ahead. Whether it’s taking a shower, drinking a cup of coffee, eating your breakfast, reading the newspaper or even walking the dog, try and to stick to those morning rituals as much as possible. This will help get you ready for the work-day at home, just like it did when you were working in the office.

Plan out your meals

Planning your meals for the week can help you manage your time more efficiently. This also means you’ll spend less time thinking about food when you’re hunger, so will be more likely to make better food choices.

To get you started, we’ve included some healthy meal ideas below: 

Breakfast: milk with natural muesli, handful of blueberries and almonds

Morning tea: fruit with natural yoghurt 

Lunch: chicken and salad sandwich or wrap (wholegrain) 

Afternoon tea: vita-weat biscuits with cottage cheese and tomato 

Dinner: salmon with salad and wild rice  

Supper: handful of unsalted nuts 

Keep healthy snacks on hand 

It’s so easy to fall into the habit of mindless snacking when you’re working from home, particulary when the fridge and cupboard is so readily accessible! A great tip to help minimise the mindless eating throughout the day is to always check to see if you’re actual hungry before grabbing a snack. Chances are you could be getting peckish due to stress, lack of motivation or boredom. 

Stocking up your pantry with some nourishing items will certainly be a great strategy. We have listed some healthy snack options below that will help keep you satisfied and energised while working from home. 

  • Yoghurt and fruit
  • Unsalted nuts 
  • Vegetable sticks with hommus or gaucamole 
  • Wholegrain crackers (e.g. vita-weat) with avocado and tomato 
  • Popcorn 
  • Roasted chickpeas 
  • Homemade muesli bars (see recipe) 

Try and eat away from your desk

You might be tempted to work all day without a proper break so you can get all your work done in the fastest possible way. We highlighly recommend for you to take some time out for yourself and step away from the computer, particulary when you’re having a snack or eating your lunch. This will allow you to focus on what you’re eating, enjoy your meal and become more satisfied. Studies have shown, breaks can actually significantly improve productivity levels and a person’s ability to focus. This may help you get through the afternoon when three-thirtyitis hits! 

Set some time aside for exercise 

Since we don’t have to travel anywhere, working from home can quickly lead to a sedentary lifestyle. It may take lots of self-discipline and motivation, but it’s important for us to remain active for our mental and phyiscal health. Throughout the day, look for reasons to stand up and move. Go for a walk or join a Zoom fitness class when you have a break. Studies have demonstrated that exercise can help improve your mood, stimulate creativty and enhance focus, making it an all-round win for your health and productivity. 

There are plenty of free and inspiring exercise videos on YouTube and smartphone apps ranging from yoga, pilates or total body workouts. Exercise Right at Home also provides a range of free workout videos created by ESSA accredited exercise physiologists. The workout videos offer a range of programs such as strength training, aerobic activities and falls prevention exercises that can all be completed right at home. For more details, please visit their wesbite on: www.exerciseright.com.au/exercise-home/

If you’re unsure whether these exercise videos are right for you, please speak to your Doctor or an Accredited Exercise Professional before commencing these workouts.  

Best Foods to Eat Before and After Exercise | Hoppers Lane GP

Written by Vicki Ma (Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian)
Source: https://www.eatforwellness.com.au/best-foods-to-eat-before-and-after-exercise/

Feeling hungry and tired after your workout? Chances are you may not be having the right nutrition.

Just like a car needs fuel, your body needs energy to function and exercise. The amount of energy required is different depending on each individual. The three main foods that provide our body with nutrient and energy are carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Carbohydrate

Provides fuel to the body and is an important energy source for exercise. Starting a workout without carbohydrate foods can lead to early fatigue, slower recovery time and a reduced ability to train hard.

Remember not all carbohydrate foods are equal, some are better than others. Ensure to choose low glycaemic index (GI) foods as these are broken down slower in the body – providing you with longer lasting energy. These include whole grain breads and cereals, muesli bars, yoghurt as well as fruits such as apple, banana and orange.

Protein

Is really important for building and repairing muscles so they can get bigger and stronger. It can also keep you fuller for longer, helping to curb your appetite. Our body breaks down protein into amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, eight of which are essential and must come from the diet. The best sources of protein come from animal based products such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs and milk. These are considered as High Biological Valued (HBV) proteins as they contain all of the essential amino acids required by the human body. Plant based proteins such as lentils, tofu and nuts only contain some of the essential amino acids and are considered to be of Lower Biological Value (LBV).

Fat

Small amounts if dietary fat is essential for our body. Try to choose good sources of dietary fats such as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, these are also beneficial for our heart. Good fats are found in food such as avocado, nuts, fish, olive oil and olive oil based margarines.

Nutrition and exercise: 

Eating the right foods before and after exercise can make a significant difference to your training and performance goals. To get most out of your work out, you should eat a combination of protein and low GI carbohydrate foods to help you stay energise, build lean muscle and speed up rate of recovery.

What foods to eat before and after exercise: 

There is no one “best” pre or post-exercise meal option. It really depends on what your requirements and individual goals are, but I do have a few ideas to get you started!

Pre-exercise snack/meal options:

  • 200g natural yoghurt with fruit
  • 1 slice of fruit toast with ricotta cheese
  • Tuna with 4 x Vita Weat biscuits
  • Banana with handful of almonds
  • Fruit smoothie (250ml low fat milk, 2 tablespoons yoghurt, ½ cup frozen berries)

Post-exercise snack/meal options:

  • Ham/chicken/turkey/tuna salad sandwich (wholegrain bread)
  • Spaghetti bolognaise: 1 cup cooked pasta + ½ cup mince sauce and 2 cups salad
  • ½ cup baked beans with scrambled eggs on 2 slices of toast (wholegrain bread)
  • Baked sweet potato with ham, corn and cottage cheese filling
  • Chicken or beef stir-fry with 1 cup cooked basmati rice

When should you eat? 

The timing of protein and carbohydrate is also important. For maximum recovery and muscle resynthesis, make sure you have your post-exercise meal within 30 – 60 minutes after your workout. Don’t miss this window of opportunity!

To avoid unnecessary calorie intake, make sure your recovery meal is the next meal. This will mean you are not eating an extra meal / snack on top of your recovery meal.

By having the right nutrition at the right time, it could potentially help your body to adapt and become fitter, faster and stronger.

References: 

Burke, L. Deakin, V. (2015). Clinical Sports Nutrition 5E. Australia: Mcgraw Hill, pp.

Sports Dietitians Australia. Eating and Drinking During Exercise [cited 2017 July 10]. Available https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/eating-drinking-exercise/

Australian Institute of Sport. Recovery Nutrition [cited 2017 July 10]. Available http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/fact_sheets/recovery_nutrition

How To Support Your Immune System During Coronavirus Outbreak

Written by Vicki Ma (Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian)
Source: https://www.eatforwellness.com.au/boost-your-immune-system-during-coronavirus-outbreak/

With millions of jobs at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic, looking after your health would be the furthest thing from your mind. But it is ABSOLUTELY paramount for you to not only look after your health, but also the health of your loved ones (more so than ever).

You can protect yourself from the virus on the outside by practicing proper hand hygiene and you can also build up your defences from the inside by supporting your immune system. Having a stronger immune system will not prevent you from getting coronavirus if you were exposed, but it could potentially reduce the severity of the illness and help speed up rate of recovery.

Here are some great suggestions to help support your immune system. In the meantime, stay calm, safe and look after each other. And remember, we are all in this together!

Include more plant-based foods in your diet 

One of the best ways to build a stronger immune systems is to ensure you’re eating plenty of colourful fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. These are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are importance for maintaining your health and well-being. If you find it difficult to access fresh fruit and veg, frozen ones will also do the trick.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how you can include more plant-based foods in your diet:

  • Add fresh/frozen/canned (juice drained) fruit on top of your breakfast cereal or yoghurt
  • Have a fruit salad or fruit skewers (kids will LOVE this) as a snack
  • Make a fruit smoothie using a few different fruits (banana and blueberry is our favourite)
  • Grate up some fruit or veggies to make sweet or savoury muffins (you can try grated carrot, zucchini and apple)
  • Use leftover vegetables to make a big batch of soup. You can even add lentils, chickpeas or beans to increase the protein content
  • Add lots of salad based vegetables to your sandwich
  • Include more vegetables on your pizza topping (such as capsicum, baby spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onion)
  • Add frozen or freshly chopped vegetables in your spag bol
  • Use left-over roasted veg to make a frittata (click here for the recipe)

Ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D 

During these uncertain times, we may be faced with extended periods of getting minimal sunlight due to self-enforced social isolation and being indoors most of the day. It’s still important that we try to get some sunshine (where possible). This could simply mean going out into your backyard or balcony for a short period of time, so that we are not missing out on the essential Vitamin D. Research has shown Vitamin D helps support our immune system and can even help give us some degree of protection against acute respiratory infections.

There are very few foods that contain Vitamin D. These include eggs, liver, fatty fish (e.g. mackerel, herring and salmon), cheese and fortified margarine. The best way to get enough Vitamin D is via sunlight or supplementation.

Before you rush off to purchase Vitamin D supplements, it’s important to remember that these are not some sort of magic pill to help protect you from getting coronavirus (if you were exposed). It may however, help support your immune system and speed up your rate of recovery if you did get sick.

Build your gut microbiome 

Gut microbiome is the trillions of bacteria, viruses and microbes that live in our stomach. These play a pivotal role in the body’s immune response to infection and appears to be a key in determining our overall health. To feed your gut microbiome and help it thrive, we need to eat a variety of prebiotic and probiotic foods.

  • Probiotics – are the live cultures of good bacteria in our gut. These help change our intestinal bacteria to balance gut health. Great sources of probiotic foods include: yoghurt, kefir, kimichi, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh and miso seasoning.
  • Prebiotics – are the non-digestible dietary fibres found naturally in food. These help to promote the growth of good bacteria in our large intestine. Great sources of prebiotic foods include: asparagus, beetroot, green peas, leek, lentils/chickpeas, onion, garlic, pomegranate, grapefruit, rye bread and barley.

When the gut isn’t functioning efficiently, you may miss out of absorbing all the essential nutrients required to build a strong immune system. So make sure you are eating a varied and balanced diet to help maintain the diversity and proper function of your gut microbiota.

How our Eat for Wellness Dietitians’ Can Help You! 

If you would like to seek further nutrition advice on how to build your immune system, our EFW Dietitians’ can help provided you with a balance eating plan that’s individually tailored to suit your needs. We now have telehealth consults for your convenience, so you won’t need to leave your home! Please contact us for further details.