18 July 2020

Nutrition at work

BY RYAN HOLMES

At Eurest, our food and our purpose are inextricably linked. We’re here to help people stay healthy and happy, so they can achieve more and enjoy more, at work and at home – and we do that through our food.

It’s not about restricting what’s on the menu, or counting every calorie. It is about offering food that looks good, tastes good and does good, too.

We know that nutrition is an incredibly powerful thing. It can give elite athletes the edge that turns them into champions, the little bit extra that turns a silver medal into a gold. It helps keep our armed forces in a state of operational readiness, at their peak both physically and mentally.

In a similar way, what we eat at the office cafe or canteen can influence our performance at work. Nutrition provides the energy that fuelsconcentration, decision-making ability and productivity. Which means our choice of breakfast or lunch can make a real difference – especially if we’re tackling a tricky project, or racing to meet a tight deadline.

Our menu features a health and wellbeing programme designed specifically to support physical and mental performance and resilience. But it’s really important to us that we don’t just preach to the converted. We want everyone to benefit from this programme, not just the health-conscious, so we put a lot of effort into making sure it’s easy to eat well with us; that healthy choices come naturally.

When we’re developing recipes, we make sure everything we put on the plate – or in the bowl – meets three key criteria. First, it’s got to be delicious. We want to offer a variety of food options which will always be full of flavour, filling and wholesome.

Then we try to think in terms of a mindful plate. By that I mean having a variety of balanced options with mindful portion sizes, to make sure you’re getting the full benefits of the nutrients.

Finally, we’re working hard to promote more sustainable eating by incorporating plant-based proteins, wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds into our dishes. In the development kitchen, we call it being ‘plant-forward’.

At the moment, I’d say the ‘Buddha bowl’ is our signature dish. It’s a great way to put together a balanced, veg-based meal that never bores.

Ours always feature a starch, such as charred squash or sweet potato (which are rich in vitamins A and C). Then a grain – I like brown rice and quinoa, as they’re wholegrains, which are really high in fibre. Fresh veg is a must: radish, sprouts, carrot, asparagus. We keep them raw, so we don’t lose any vitamins or minerals

during the cooking process. Next, some form of plant- based protein, such as roast chickpeas or beetroot hummus. And finally, a sprinkling of toasted seeds.

These add a nice bit of texture, but also provide some of the healthy fats your body needs.

As you can tell, there’s lots of room for manoeuvre. And lots of opportunity for creativity! But the mix means they’re never boring and they’re always bright and colourful – really visually appealing.

What’s more, you don’t have to be a chef or have access to a professional kitchen to make one. We can all cook this kind of food at home, with whatever veg or leftovers we have in the fridge. Which brings us on to food waste. It’s a key theme in our kitchens, and one I’ll be returning to in my next piece.