If you are a working professional on odd shifts, here is a solution to your office diet dilemma

Nutritionist and author Ishi Khosla speaks to Taniya Sahni about managing food intake while at work. Excerpts from the interview.
 

Published: 13th October 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th October 2019 12:47 PM   |  A+A-

Nutritionist Ishi Khosla

Express News Service

Your book tells readers how to eat at work in a five-step approach via the five Ps.

Could you elaborate on the fifth P or ‘protective foods’?

The fifth P or protective foods include fruits and vegetables. Most people consider vegetables as a side dish. These are full of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients which help in detoxifying the body as well as in fighting diseases. The typical recommendation is five to nine servings per day. In fact, I recommend planning a whole meal around protective foods. You could have fruits and nuts for breakfast or a vegetable juice and seeds. Where you place them in your diet plan is up to you, but their inclusion is critical. Moreover, protective foods are low in calories and high in nutrients, and beneficial for professionals battling weight issues.

What are the main areas where people falter while eating at work? 

Consumption of fatty foods and indulging in the wrong snacks are where working people make wrong choices. The absence of fresh fruits and vegetables, and consumption of fried foods, copious amounts of tea and coffee along with biscuits, chips etc. reveal a diet full of bad fats and high on carbohydrates. This explains the much complained about low energy levels. As a preventive action, one needs to plan meals ahead and also overcome the obstacle of devils’ hours (5 pm-7 pm) when hunger levels reach their peak leading to the intake of unhealthy food and excess calories. 

Which professionals do you think suffer the most when they eat the wrong foods at work?

Professionals with erratic hours, especially those working in night shifts, and air cabin crew are most impacted. They tend to gain weight and become prone to diabetes. Their odd work-hours lead to changes in the gut microbiome. They should watch their belly fat and exercise carbohydrate control, get enough rest and eat plenty of protective foods. If their health issues persist, they should undergo food sensitivity tests to detect the root cause of their problems. 

How do you suggest working professionals rescue themselves from unavoidable indulgences such as success celebrations, birthdays etc?

It depends on your reality and the level of formality the occasion commands. For instance, if you are gluten-intolerant, you must order gluten-free food. Apply the principle of balance and under-eat the next meal. Exercise portion control and if possible choose to eat food from your own meal box in the company of others.

Workplace phenomena such as desktop dining or grab-n-go dashboard dining are a given in the work cultures of today. How do you suggest one eats well in such cases?

Planning is the key here. It is one of the 5 Ps mentioned in the book without which you will be stuck. One must anticipate and ensure the right kind of food is available around them. 

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