National Nutrition Week 2015 | Western Cape Government

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National Nutrition Week 2015

Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight, because being overweight can lead to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

National Nutrition Week takes place from 9 to 15 October. The week is aimed at highlighting the importance of nutrition in a healthy lifestyle which is consists of a combination of healthy eating and exercise.colleagues having lunch

National Nutrition Week 2015

“Healthy eating in the workplace” is the theme for National Nutrition Week 2015. This is the perfect time to start a healthy lifestyle plan that you can make part of your daily routine. 

The National Department of Health aimed this theme specifically at employees working in the public sector as well as food service providers, to create awareness and encourage informed health decisions when it comes to food.

Healthy eating in the workplace

Did you know that employees with an unhealthy diet have a 66% higher risk of low productivity than those who eat a healthy diet? 

We all enjoy a delicious lunch especially when we are at work, and unhealthy meals are usually quick and convenient, but they lack the nutritional value which our bodies need. Eating healthy contributes to better physical and mental health, reduces your risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, improves your immunity to colds and flu, maintains a healthy body weight and it improves your productivity.

What to eat and what not to eat in the workplace?

Buying snacks such as chips, chocolates, sweets and cold drinks at a vending machine or kiosk, is convenient but also unhealthy. Rather buy items such as fruit or if you prefer something sweeter then opt for:

  • individually wrapped muffins-bran, plain scones or savoury scones small to medium, i.e. 40 - 60g),woman having a healthy meal
  • unflavoured popcorn,
  • unsalted pretzels,
  • low salt wholewheat crackers,
  • unsalted nut trail mix,
  • unsalted nuts,
  • baked corn crisps,
  • muesli bar,
  • sugar-free gums,
  • fruit in tubs,
  • dried fruit,
  • sugar-free chewing gum, and
  • unflavoured, low-fat / fat-free yoghurt.

Instead of buying cold drinks, rather purchase a refillable water bottle. You can also try having:

  • water, still or sparkling,
  • tea or coffee - regular or decaffeinated (sugar and sugar substitutes may be provided and milk such as low-fat, 2%, 1% fat or fat-free milk only),
  • low-fat ultra-high-temperature processed (UHT) milk (200ml tetrapacks),
  • 100% fruit juice with no added sugar (maximum of 250ml),
  • 100% vegetable juice with no added sugar and ≤ 200mg of sodium (maximum of 250ml per serving), and
  • low-energy beverages i.e. light (sweetener blend is different for each country based on what the consumer likes) / zero (contains less aspartame than diet) / diet (contains more aspartame than zero) (maximum of 200ml per serving).

Try to avoid eating sweets, chocolate chip cookies, snack cakes and rolls, mini doughnuts, sausage meats, high-fat cheeses, cheese snacks, and ice cream.

Make use of this healthy eating checklist to help guide you.

If you want to have a healthy lunch at work, then have a look at these menu options to help you make informed decisions.

Tips to stay healthy at the workplacewoman enjoying a salad

When at work, try using the stairs rather than lifts. When at your desk, stand up to stretch regularly even when you are taking a phone call. Try and stand during meetings where it’s possible. Make a point of walking to your meetings in nearby buildings and walk to your colleagues instead of calling or e-mailing them. Have a 5 minute activity break every hour during meetings. Avoid scheduling meetings over the lunch period to enable your employees or colleagues to be active and participate in sports teams, lunchtime walking and jogging groups and events.

The W.O.W Initiative
The Western Cape on Wellness (W.O.W) initiative seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle movement in the Western Cape.

The short term outcomes the Western Cape on Wellness hopes to achieve through this initiative is to maintain increased health-related physical activity such as running, healthy eating, healthy weight, an accessible communication platform and supportive environment. The long-term goals are preventing, reducing and controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which include obesity and promoting food security.

The content on this page was last updated on 15 October 2015