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Eating Well at NIH

Between commuting and our regular tour of duty, we spend a lot of time at work.  As a result, we consume a significant portion of our calories away from home.  Here are some tips to help make healthier choices during the week.
​Seasonal Recipes Featured in the Eurest Cafes on the NIH Campus
You can also try seasonal recipes from the Eurest cafes on the NIH campus.  This month Eurest has shared their favorite sweet potato recipes for you to try at home.  For individuals consuming a 2,000 calorie diet, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming about 5 ½ cups of red and orange vegetables each week.  Sweet potatoes, a popular orange vegetable, are a great source of vitamin A and also contain other important nutrients such as vitamin C and fiber.  
 
 Breakfast ​
You have probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  There is a lot of truth in this statement. Consuming breakfast can help prevent overeating later in the day and has been associated with improved nutrient intake.
 
However, many of us skip this meal regularly or when we are pressed for time in the morning.  Packing something the night before or keeping a few things on hand at the office can make it easier to fit breakfast into our morning.
 
Breakfast ideas
 
  • Start with plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt and top with your favorite fruit and granola.
  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain toast and top with sliced bananas.
  • Make a quick egg scramble with vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli.
Breakfast items that pack easily
 
  • Trail mix (nuts, dried fruit and whole-grain, ready-to-eat cereal).
  • Whole grain bagel or pita bread with peanut butter.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
Note:  When purchasing convenience items or breakfast at a restaurant, be sure to check the nutrition information- you might be surprised at the calorie level of some options.  If nutrition information is not available, you can use the Food-A-Pedia. 
 Purchasing Lunch at an NIH Café ​
There are many healthy and affordable options at NIH.  For more information about what is offered, check out the information below:
 
Healthy Snacking​

Feeling hungry between meals is common. Healthy snacks can help you make it through the day.  Have a plan so that you reach for healthy foods instead of vending machine snacks with are often high in added sugar, saturated fat or sodium.

Snacking tips:
  • Bringing snacks from home is a great idea, though it is best to keep snacks out of sight until you are ready to eat them. Otherwise, you might find yourself finishing your snack before you were hungry for it. 
  • If your office has a refrigerator or kitchen cupboard you can use, consider keeping your snack there instead of your desk.  This allows this allows for easy access but helps to deter mindless eating (eating when you are not hungry). 
  •  Consider snacks with little or no added sugar and solid fat.
  • Snack ideas:  unsalted nuts, fruit, cut-up vegetables and hummus, low fat string cheese, pop-corn, whole grain crackers and peanut butter, or low-fat yogurt.
  • Bring your snacks in portion controlled containers.
 
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 Packing a Lunch From Home
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Packing a lunch from home Taking a healthy lunch from home is a great way to help trim your budget (and potentially your waistline).  There are many creative lunch ideas that are healthy, inexpensive, and easy to prepare.   
To keep your body fueled for the afternoon, aim for a meal that includes a combination of lean protein and fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and/or fruit. 
 
Just remember that even when you bring you lunch from home, it is a good idea to put your work aside while you are eating and take a break to taste and enjoy your food. 
 
Resources and Ideas:
 
Taking a healthy lunch from home is a great way to help trim your budget (and your waistline).  There many creative lunch ideas that are healthy, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. 
 
To keep your body fueled for the afternoon, aim for a meal that includes a combination of lean protein and fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and/or fruit. 
 
Just remember that even when you bring you lunch from home, it is a good idea to put your work aside while you are eating and take a break to taste and enjoy your food. 
     
Choosing Foods & Beverages for Healthy Meetings
Food is often a part of meetings, conferences, or celebrations at the office.  In many cases, we nibble on foods that are provided just because they are there.  By limiting the temptation to nibble and by providing healthier foods, we are providing a benefit to ourselves and our colleagues.
  • Make sure water or other non-calorie beverages, such as coffee or tea, are provided. 
  •  Consider fruit or vegetable trays.
  • Go mini!  Try mini-muffins, mini-bagels, and small sandwiches instead of larger variations. 
  • When the office event is over, put away the leftover food so that it's less tempting for everyone to finish it. Leaving food out encourages continous snacking and can also be a food safety hazard if left out for too long. and don’t leave it out for people to continue snacking on.
 
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