Eating Well and Mental Health
Drake WorkWise Team
Research has shown that what we eat has an impact on our mental health, as well as our physical health. It can affect our energy levels, sleeping patterns and focus. By making a few changes in our daily routine, we can improve our mental health!
Tips on Eating Healthy at Work
It can be difficult to stay healthy at work, particularly if you experience a high level of stress. It is common to turn to unhealthy snacks for comfort, or lose motivation to exercise. Below are a few tips to help you manage this:
- Eat breakfast
- Bring snacks from home such as fruit, vegetables, nuts instead of sugary snacks
- If you are someone who craves chocolate, replace sweet milk chocolate with a piece of dark chocolate. The darker the better, as it contains far less sugar
- Bring your own lunch instead of being tempted to buy high-calorie meals. This will also help you to save money
- Drink water rather than sugary drinks. If you need a energy boost, consider coffee or even better, green tea
- Try to stand and move around as much as possible. Stand up and stretch if you are waiting for a program to load on your computer
- Perhaps walk over to a colleague’s desk if you need to discuss something rather than sending an email or calling them
- Try to be active outside of work such as going for walks or joining a gym. This will also help to improve your mental health
- Ensure you are getting enough sleep.
What Should We Eat?
According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the following is recommended:
- We should be eating lots of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- We should be eating lots of cereals, bread, rice, pasta and noodles. Wholegrain is strongly recommended
- We should be including lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives to our diet
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives should be included in our diet. Low-fat varieties are recommended
- We should be drinking plenty of water
- Saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol should be minimised.
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Healthy Eating and Depression
Studies have found links between a poor-quality diet and depression. They show that people who eat a diet consisting of lots of processed foods, high sugar, fried foods, high-fat dairy products etc are more likely to report symptoms of depression than those who ate a healthy diet of a variety of fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholegrains.
Eating well can improve your mental health in the following areas:
- Sleep quality
- Higher energy
- Improve concentration
- Less likely to crave unhealthy foods such as high sugar, salt or fat.
Need some inspiration?
Here are a few websites to get some inspiration to cook healthy meals.
Who to contact for help?
Make an appointment with a General Practitoner (GP)
Contact your EAP
AU 1300 135 600 NZ 0800 452 521 firstname.lastname@example.org
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