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Stressed? Eating smart can help
Shilpa Shet
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March 29, 2007

Whether it is a work-related deadline or a workload that keeps increasing, there isn't enough time to finish all tasks. In the face of pending work, food often takes a backseat, leading to low energy levels and, in the long run, health-related problems.

Twenty-seven-year-old Neerav Kumar, a young executive with a Pune-based construction company, says, "There are times I end up having sandwiches for lunch, which normally happens around 3- 4 pm. Until then, I live on tea or coffee."

Rukmini Desai, a dietician based in Mumbai, says, "Such eating habits throw the digestive system into a quandary. The person is already under a lot of pressure and eating food high in sugar can make one more restless. It can also lead to an upset stomach."

It's not just the ones in office who are victims of unhealthy eating habits. Those in jobs involving a lot of travel have erratic eating patterns as well.

Says Aditya Mehta, a 24-year-old medical representative from Ahmedabad, "I have a field job and travel to remote towns practically every alternate day. I eat outside since it is cumbersome to carry a tiffin. Recently, I was diagnosed with colitis." Colitis is an infection or inflammation of the colon (large intestine). People who eat outside food regularly are constantly at the risk of developing such infections.

Amey Joshi, who is with the marketing team at Coke, says, "I am traveling 15 days a month. My destinations could be China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka or even Australia. The food fluctuations have affected my health a lot. Besides, with meetings and other pressures, there is barely enough time to grab a quick bite."

So, what is the solution?

Since you cannot quit your job, the only way out is to control the food you eat. Let these smart tips help you.

Personal secrets

Sachin Joshi, an entrepreneur from Pune, says, "I normally have a heavy breakfast in the morning. After that, even if I do not eat anything until evening, I am ok. At the most, I may have a couple of chais in the afternoon." In the evening, he snacks lightly and then has dinner at home.

Nagendra Shet, a 25-year-old software professional from Mumbai says, "Sometimes, when the pressure is too high, I tend to eat out. But I see to it that I have only cooked Udipi food. I avoid very spicy food if I have to stay up late. Lastly, I do not eat after 10 pm, even if I am very hungry."

Christy George, a marketing executive from Chennai, says, "I avoid eating outside. I carry a large box of salad. The box is meant for salads and keeps it fresh through the day. I can graze on it till evening. If I stay up too late, I have a coffee at about 8 pm and then order for some cooked, but simple food."

What you must avoid

~ Food rich in protein and sugar like most sweets.

~ Excess oily and fried stuff. A bag of chips can be good soul food but can make you feel queasy and even sluggish; besides, it's bad for health. It can lead to increase in cholesterol and even affect your blood pressure.

~ Too much white bread. A sandwich once in a while is good as a snack, but not three to four times a day. Insist on brown bread sandwiches. Avoid pizzas and burgers made of refined flour (maida).

~ Excess of rice, especially refined (white) rice. If you prefer rice, stick to unpolished/ brown rice.

~ Fruit juices or milk shakes. Most stalls/ restaurants do not have good quality control when it comes to fruit juices. Sugarcane juices are a no-no too, as they are loaded with sugar.

~ Uncooked food, especially chutneys, are a rich source of harmful bacteria.

~ Potatoes, as they are rich in starch.

~ Too much tea or coffee. The caffeine in these beverages could lead to acidity.

Recipe for good health

~ Eat lots of fruit. Crunchy apples and bananas are the best.

~ Opt for salads. Wash cucumbers and carrots and store them in the fridge. Carry these cool snacks to office and munch on them whenever you can.

~ Eat dry fruits if you want to snack.

~ Drink lots of water. Carry one of those fancy water bottles with you all the time.

~ Eat roti-sabzi regularly.

~ Have three-four small meals per day.

~ Eat at specific times. Map your eating times such that it fits with your timetable

~ Have soups if you need a change in your diet. Choose your soup with care. If you find tomato acidic, avoid tomato soup.

External links

What you should eat
The relation between stress and food
How food impacts you when you are stressed

EXTERNAL LINKS: Please note, rediff.com is not responsible for the content of these external links nor does rediff.com or its staff endorse the content of such links. These are only being provided as a source of reference.


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