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6 Ways to Combat Stress at Work with Nutrition


6 Ways to Combat Stress at Work with Nutrition

It’s likely that you will feel stressed at work at least once per week or more. The American Psychological Association took a nationwide poll on stress (APA, 2012) and found that over two-thirds of Americans list work as a significant source of stress.  So, it’s no surprise that when we’re working with companies to help plan their wellness programs, the two most requested topics that we are asked to create events around are managing stress and helping employees eat healthier when they’re tight on time. There is so much about these two topics that are inter-connected that we often combine them.

Why stress less? While a little bit of stress can actually be beneficial to helping you get things done (we’re talking to you procrastinators!), chronic stress, that which occurs over a long period of time, is not good for your health and well being. In fact, it raises your risk of several serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, stress is something that you DO have control over. While you don’t have control over many of the factors that cause your stress levels to rise, your reactions and how you deal with those situations (which you do have control over) ultimately determines your stress level. Eating the right foods at the right times, exercising regularly, knowing your limits (i.e. when to say no), and practicing breathing techniques are all ways to help yourself de-stress at the office on a regular basis.

Here are 6 ways to help you stress less…

  1. Snack Well: Follow the rule of 2. Include two of the three major nutrients (high-fiber carbs, protein, healthy fats) in each snack. This combination enhances energy levels and battles fatigue without the roller-coaster effect.
    • High Fiber Carbs: fruit, starchy veggies, whole grains, whole grain products (pita, crackers, English muffins, tortilla, bread), beans
    • Protein: low/nonfat Greek yogurt, string cheese, turkey/chicken, low-fat cottage cheese, beans, hard-boiled eggs, tofu, canned tuna/salmon
    • Healthy Fats: avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, olive oil, nut butters, hummus, salad dressing
    • Snack Ideas: string cheese + a pear; an apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter; 14 almonds + 2 dried apricot halves; 2 ounces tuna mixed with light mayo over whole grain crackers
  2. Be Less Refined (with your food): Foods made with refined flour, such as white breads, pastas, cookies, cakes, and other sweets contain carbohydrates that digest very quickly once they’re eaten. This may give you an initial burst of energy, but leads to a crash and low energy levels soon after. Low energy levels are the last thing you want when you’re dealing with a stressful situation at work. Instead, focus on eating balanced meals that include a good source of lean protein, whole grains, and fruits or vegetables. Some examples are:
    • Steel cut oats topped with blueberries and walnuts
    • Roasted salmon with a side of white beans tossed with sautéed kale
    • Whole grain penne tossed with roasted tomatoes, and canned tuna or salmon
    • Smoothie made with plain non-fat yogurt, strawberries, and almond butter
  3. Get Your Omega-3s: Omega-3s are important for brain function and may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can contribute to increased stress. Foods high in Omega-3s include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna), walnuts, and chia and flax seeds.
  4. Eat Regularly Spaced Meals: Going too long in between meals, or skipping meals entirely, mean a dip in blood sugar levels that leave you feeling fatigued, and when you’re fatigued, your brain doesn’t deal with stress as well. Aim to go no longer than 3 hours without eating a meal or snack.
  5. Get More Stress Busting Nutrients:  Some studies report higher rates of depression in people low on folic acid and vitamin B12. Make sure to include foods rich in these nutrients at each meal. Folate rich foods include fortified cereals, lentils, sunflower seeds, black-eyed peas, wheat germ, broccoli, dark leafy greens, and oranges. Foods rich in vitamin B12 include wild salmon, shellfish, lean beef, low-fat cottage cheese, low/nonfat dairy, and eggs.
  6. Just Breathe: Although this isn’t necessarily a nutrition tip, your overall health is the sum of many parts. There is no aspect of relaxation more important than breathing. Many people’s breathing becomes very shallow when hyper-focused at work, or if stressed. Deep breathing alone can have a huge impact on your state of mind. It’s like hitting restart to restore calm, clear thinking. Plus, you can do it anywhere (during your commute, in a meeting, at your desk…)
    • Sit in a comfortable, upright position on the floor or in a chair.
    • Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth, with the tip of your tongue hitting just before your front teeth.
    • Inhale through your nose for four counts.
    • Hold that breath in for seven counts.
    • Exhale through your nose for eight counts.
    • That’s one cycle. Repeat for 3 cycles, going at your own pace: Inhale 2, 3, 4. Hold 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

How do you create a stress-less environment at work?

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A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
Bumble Bee Seafood Logo

The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods