Maintaining a Balanced Diet and a Busy Schedule

Practical advice on maintaining good nutrition when you have a busy schedule to manage.

Date posted: 13 February, 2019
TEC Blog Maintaining a Balance Diet

There’s plenty of information to be found on the benefits of healthy eating, although the sheer volume and competing messages can be confusing and contradictory. The wellness industry, encompassing spas, gyms and online tutorial platforms is responsible for 5.3% of the global GDPCompanies are pouring billions into their workplace wellness programs with a heavy focus on infrastructural inclusions like standing desks and ergonomically designed furniture to help support the body’s natural efficiency. Beyond this, there are other aspects of wellness which can be easily integrated into our day-to-day. As an essential part of our survival, food is a primary energy source which effects our physical as well as cognitive capabilities. What we eat can have a significant impact on our performance at work and in life, but the key takeaway should be that small and incremental changes can have a profoundly positive impact.  

 

The Nutrition Puzzle

Even with significant investment from corporate wellness professionals, information on good nutrition is often ineffective at creating real and sustained change. Understanding the benefits that come with eating the ‘right’ food should be developed in tandem with new behaviours and healthy habits. It is also necessary to understand individual schedules and work styles to enable dietary changes that can positively impact professional performance. 

 

Following a ‘diet’ can sometimes feel like a clinical procedure or a regimen of ‘do’s and don’ts’. A more holistic understanding of nutrition is a more effective way to address individual needs and is the foundation of a happy and balanced lifestyle. Here we will work through some of the most common challenges encountered at work when it comes to eating well. 

 

Executive Efficiency

We spend most of our day at work and for many of us this means that time is a precious resource. A lack of time means efficiency in all aspects of life is essential. Learn how to get the most from both your ingredients and your time and you’re already ahead of the game.  

 

TEC blog Balance Diet

 

BreakfastSweet Potato Toast 

You will need: 

  • 1 Sweet Potato

Toppings could include:

  • Vegemite (or Marmite) with sesame seeds  
  • Almond butter with crumbled frozen raspberries and chia seeds 
  • Chunky peanut butter with chia seeds 
  • Smashed avocado 
  • Hummus  

Recipe: 

  1. Slice the sweet potato lengthways to create the ‘toast’, around a 2mm thickness. 
  2. Put the potato slices in the toaster to cook for 7-10 minutes. Use this time to make yourself a coffee and prepare the toppings. 
  3. Once the toast is cooked, add your choice of topping and enjoy. 

 

TEC Blog Balance Diet lunch

 

Lunch: Baked Sweet Potato

You will need: 

  • 1 large sweet potato or 2-3 small sweet potatoes  
  • Salt & Pepper  

Toppings could include:

  • Hummus with spinach and rocket  
  • Avocado with dried chilli flakes, feta and a squeeze of lemon  
  • Cottage cheese, squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper 

Recipe: 

  1. Wash the sweet potato and then using a fork, prick the surface, this releases pressure as it cooks 
  2. Microwave at 2.5 minute intervals until soft and cooked through. If using an Oven, cook at 200 degrees for 30-45 minutes using the same method 
  3. Once cooked, add your choice of toppings.  

 

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DinnerSweet Potato Curry 

You will need: 

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, halved and crushed 
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • Thai chilli to taste  
  • Thai bay leaf  
  • Lime 
  • A can of coconut milk  
  • Chicken or vegetable stock cube  
  • Thai green curry paste 
  • Sweet potato (cubed) 
  • Red onion 
  • Butternut squash (cubed) 
  • Broccoli or broccolini halved 
  • Peppers   
  • Optional* Cubed Chicken breasts or thighs  

Recipe: 

  1. Add Thai green curry paste and stir until it becomes fragrant. Add the chilli, ginger, garlic and lemongrass. 
  2. Once this is incorporated, add the butternut squash and sweet potato and cook until lightly brown.  
  3. Add coconut milk and stock cube. If you’re including chicken, add it now. 
  4. Add the remaining vegetables, some lime zest and generous squeeze of juice.  

 

Executive OntheGo  

Unpredictable schedules and out-of-office meetings are another common workplace occurrence. A simple solution for a day of meetings on the road are easy meals that travel well.  

 

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BreakfastGreen Smoothie Bowl  

You will need 

  • Spinach, large handful  
  • 1 tablespoon powdered greens 
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder 
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder 
  • 1 frozen banana, chopped 
  • Optional* squeeze of honey  
  • 2 Dates, pitted and chopped 
  • Half a cup almond or coconut milk 

Toppings can include

  • Coconut shavings  
  • Cacao nibs  
  • Chia seeds 
  • Goji berries  
  • Hemp seeds 
  • Flax seeds  

Recipe: 

  1. Place spinach, greens power, vanilla protein, milk, cacao powder, banana, dates and honey* into a blender and pulse until smooth.  
  1. Pour into bowl and serve with your choice of toppings.
     
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Lunch or Dinner: Soba Noodle Salad  

You will need: 

  • 1 serving size soba noodles  
  • Fillet of salmon 
  • ½ cup edamame beans 
  • 6-8 asparagus  
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 4 tablespoons mirin 
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated 
  • Squeeze of wasabi 
  • Squeeze of honey  
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil  
  • Palm-full of sesame seeds 
  • Large handful of spinach  
  • Dried seaweed 

Recipe: 

  1. Prepare marinade and dressing by mixing together soy, mirin, lemon juice, sesame oil and honey then split the mixture into 2 bowls  
  2. For the dressing, add sesame seeds and wasabi 
  3. For the salmon marinade, add grated ginger 
  4. While the salmon is marinating, heat the oven to 180 Celsius.  
  5. Place soba noodles in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes then strain and rinse with cold water 
  6. Place marinated salmon in the oven for 15 minutes, coat with remaining marinade at 5 minute intervals  
  7. Sprinkle remaining sesame seeds to coat the entire salmon fillet after 10 minutes cooking.  
  8. Place spinach, edamame beans, soba noodles and asparagus into a large bowl and top with salmon and finely shredded dried seaweed.  

Double the recipe if you would like to have this for dinner and take leftovers for lunch the following day.  

 

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SnackCacao Protein Bites 

You will need: 

  • Tablespoon of oats 
  • Optional* small squeeze of honey 
  • 60g dates 
  • Tablespoon cacao powder 
  • 2 Tablespoons protein powder 
  • 60g almonds  
  • 2 tablespoons water  
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut  

Recipe:  

  1. Place oats, honey*, dates, cacao powder, protein powder, almonds and water into a food processor.  
  2. Blend until thoroughly combined.  
  3. Roll into even sized balls and coat in coconut.  
  4. Can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.  

 

The Water Cooler Effect 

Beyond the obvious benefits of nutritious food like fuelling healthy brain and physical functions, there is also a very social element to food and meal times. Acclaimed restaurateur and author Yotam Ottolenghi notes to KPMG that “…if people sat around a big table and had a delicious meal, it would definitely boost them to have a little bit more understanding to the other side”. We can also see this effect at play around the office water cooler. Having a centralised meeting point encourages discussion, casual interaction and open dialogue among colleagues. We employ this philosophy when creating the communal lounges in our centres and the results speak for themselves. Our Members have warmly responded to these spaces, using them to facilitate business connections as well as simply to refocus their energy over a cup of coffee from our baristas.  

 

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Coffee bars, like this one in our Two Chinachem Central centre in Hong Kong act as a focal point for both social and professional networking. 

 

TEC headquarters in Hong Kong come together to share lunch three times a week and have seen a significant increase in interaction and collaboration. TEC genuinely operates as a family business and the way we gather around the table at lunch reflects this philosophy. These regular lunches encourage more open communication and are a unique way to enforce the culture of transparency and teamwork that transcends all aspects of our business from our HQ to our centres and ultimately the experience of our Members.

 

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Team lunches at our global HQ reflect the overarching culture of transparency and communication. 

 

A holistic, rounded and balanced approach to wellness starts with the basics; good food and consistent nutrition. The results? You feel stronger, look better and perform more consistently at work. Ultimately, providing the tools and opportunities needed to develop and maintain a healthy diet create a positive work environment and The Executive Centre is proud to enable these behaviours in both our team and our Members.  

 

 All recipes featured in this article were created by food blogger Cara de Kantzow. With a passion for creating simple, nourishing and delicious food, her Instagram page features many of these recipes along with more insights and tips on maintaining a balanced diet while managing a busy schedule. Follow her here.

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