We caught up with Christina Ross to discuss nutrition and sustainable healthy habits.
Christina is a Dietitian, Nutritionist and Health Coach. Her business, Cultivate Nutrition, is a nutrition business with the mission of promoting eating for nourishment and joy. Christina believes passionately that nourishing our bodies is key to lifelong wellbeing, as is honouring the role food plays in celebrations, tradition, culture and community. Of one thing there is no doubt, Christina is on a mission to collaborate with clients and inspire others to create sustainable and healthy habits — rediscovering just how simple healthy eating can be.
Working in the ever changing and dynamic nutrition landscape, Christina has come to understand that nourishing our bodies with good food is essential to feeling energised, content and centered. This in turn underpins the balance and effectiveness of all aspects in our life — sleeping better, enjoying movement and exercise, and being more productive in work and play.
Christina has a background in delivering workplace health and wellness programs, and she has seen a shift in workplace attitudes towards staff wellbeing — a shift for the better.
“I have had exposure to a broad variety of workplaces who recognise the importance of having healthy employees in their business. It’s a win-win situation, with an increasing amount of research showing healthy workers are more productive and engaged.”
(1) Prioritise whole foods
For more sustained energy at work prioritise eating whole foods. Whether it be bringing a packed lunch or snacks such as roasted almonds, edamame beans, yoghurt, fruit or veggie sticks, the right fuel will keep your brain sharp for productive and effective work..
(2) Keep hydrated
Maintain hydration to ward off fatigue. Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue, even in office workers. Water is the best source of hydration, keeping us alert by supporting good circulation to transport nutrients and remove waste products. Drink 1.5–2L of water every day. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try a herbal tea or add frozen berries, mint leaves or a few citrus or cucumber slices to your water bottle.
(3) Dump the al’desko dining
Take time to eat your lunch mindfully. You may not feel you have enough time in your day to take a meal break, but even a 10 minute window of mindfulness while you eat can increase your enjoyment and satisfaction of the meal, while leaving you in a better frame-of-mind when you get back to your desk.
(4) Manage three-thirty-itis
Sip a herbal tea, have a high protein snack such as a handful of nuts or a yoghurt (if your three-thirty-itis is driven by hunger). Otherwise, step outside for a 10 minute walk or do a few simple stretches and take a few deep breaths. These steps will give you the energy boost you need to work productively through the afternoon. Also, avoid high sugar, high fat foods as the energy boost they provide is only temporary, sending your energy, concentration and mood plummeting soon after.
Christina is a huge advocate of the the packed lunch.
“It’s a rare occasion where I don’t take lunch in to work, simply because I find it easier to eat well having prepared a meal myself. Packing lunch needn’t be a time-consuming activity — in fact, I feel it saves time in the work day when you consider how much time you spend ordering and waiting for a bought meal among the lunch crowd!”
To help reduce the effort in preparing lunch to take to work, Christina recommends “cooking once to eat twice”.
“I will often re-invent leftovers to keep it interesting, by converting the meal into a salad, sandwich or wrap with a handful of baby spinach leaves and a variety of chopped seasonal veggies (or steamed frozen veggies when I am short on time).”
Apart from dinner left-overs, Christina’s favourite lunch to take from home is her feel-good salad or grain bowl. As Christina explained, the beauty of this meal is that it is always different, based on what ingredients you have lying around in the fridge. Christina always assembles this meal with the following components in mind; (1) Grain — leftover quinoa or a small serve of microwave brown rice, (2) Protein — canned tuna, salmon, eggs, chickpeas, lentils or leftover grilled chicken, (3) Lots of colourful vegetables, (4) Good fat — avocado, tahini, olive oil, olives, feta or pumpkin seeds, and (5) Added flavour — lemon juice, dukkha, sumac, balsamic vinegar or za’atar.
Christina recommends using preparation to help make healthy habits stick. Investing a small amount of time on the weekend to get organised, even if it is just washing some salad leaves or roasting some vegetables in advance can greatly reduce the amount of work required to prepare a healthy lunch everyday.
It’s been great chatting with Christina. If you like to know more of Christina’s tips on recipes and nutrition, check out herCultivate Nutrition website.