Calling in Sick Often? Here is How to Improve Your Nutrition for Better Productivity at Work

There are several drivers of absenteeism in Canadian workplaces and it’s no surprise that physical illness and mental fatigue are at the top of the list. Lack of proper nutrition correlates with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cognitive disorders, risk factors that are controllable with the right support.

Research shows that 40% of Canadians eat lunch at their desk and 68% are eating alone.

2017, Dalhousie University

When you are not feeling your best at work, it’s difficult to focus on the tasks at hand. When your adrenals are drained, you’re tired and wired and it’s really difficult to make healthy choices. Your brain looks for sugar and caffeine, the two things that are going to give you the quickest hit of energy and dopamine to get you through a project or meeting.

So, how does nutrition decrease absenteeism and boost your productivity at work?

  1. The right foods, particularly a combo of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein provide you with the building blocks, vitamins and minerals that literally give you life and sustained energy. Consider packing a bento box full of trail mix, cheese, fruit, and a hard boiled egg
  2. Vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruits are packed with antioxidants to boost your immune system, protecting your body from the dreaded colds and flu that circulate through the office
  3. A good breakfast (not just a coffee and toast!), sets you up for the day. Whether you are working from home or heading to the office, the best way to support yourself is to eat in the morning to stay sharp, Breakfast should include protein, so even if you manage to whip up some oatmeal, add in a tablespoon of almond butter, or sprinkle it with walnuts

Get your employer’s support

  1. Form a Wellness Committee and ask to bring in additional support from a Corporate Wellness Program that includes educational lunch n’ learns, team building activities and challenges, and 1:1 nutritional chats with a professional to workshop your wellness concerns
  2. Start a healthy potluck or recipe book that lives in your designated lunchroom or lounge for everyone to contribute to and pull ideas from
  3. Insist that your breaks are important! Take your coffee and lunch breaks and, better yet, take them away from your desk. A 2017 study showed that 40% of Canadians are eating lunch at their desk. Shut off your computer and phone and focus on refuelling your mind, body and soul, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. If you can, get outside for some fresh air, to get blood flowing, and try to bring a co-worker for some socialization

Need to grow the wellness culture in your workplace? Ask your HR Manager to reach out to us about our ongoing monthly wellness program. Discover which foods fuel your brain, learn how to increase physical activity even while at work, and add to your self care toolbox to support yourself outside of the office.


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