This week is national Nutrition and Hydration Week March 13th – 17th – are you ready to take part in the challenge?
Here in Leeds we have celebrated this week since 2014 and this has enabled our partners across the city to get creative, have fun and importantly raise awareness of the benefits of good nutrition and hydration. For example, innovative display boards have been created in public spaces, events have been themed around the week and organisations have had fun with food, presenting fruit in the shape of small animals.
The founders of Nutrition and Hydration week National Association Care Catering, the Hospital Caterers Association and Patient Safety First have a new challenge!
New for 2017 the challenge we have been set is to raise staff awareness of our own hydration and nutritional requirements! As well as supporting themed events:
Monday – Big Breakfast
Tuesday – Suppertime
Wednesday – Afternoon Tea
Thursday – Thirsty Thursday
Friday – Fruity Friday
Richard Porter, Chair Older People Food Matters Group tells us why it’s important not just to walk the talk but to drink the talk as well.
Over the past few years there has been a big focus on key messages regarding fluid intake and how much should be consumed daily –about 6 – 8 (200mls) drinks per day. However, all these messages are aimed at the service user, patient or customer, not the person delivering the key message.
Do you, dear Reader, in your role as a manager or educator, do you literally drink the talk? I do, and take a lot of “stick” about my tea drinking habit especially at work. I am never known to pass up a cuppa coffee, an Americano and why not as I aim to consume 8 drinks a day. If you do the simple maths, that’s roughly a drink every two hours. I work 9 hour days so that’s at least 4 if not 5 cuppas at work if you add my commuting time, added to the one at breakfast, the one with my tea and then one later in the evening that’s my 8 drinks per day. How can I tell, educate or introduce good hydration habits if I’m not doing it myself?
Here’s a tip watch the ‘Good Hydration’ play by the Feeling Good Theatre Company to inspire you to drink your favourite tipple, waters obviously best but tea, coffee, milk, squash, soup and fruit juice all count, but no alcohol!
Here’s another tip get your choice of cup right for you and this will make it easier to not only drink the fluid you require but also enjoy it.
There are lots of choices when it comes to drinking aids available but by having the right cup at the right time helps.
Remember I mentioned how I like to drink the odd coffee and particular an Americano? Style over function has it for me every time!
So when it comes to the office my stylish copper cup certainly looks the part, somehow makes the coffee taste like proper coffee and also it is a talking point when it’s brew time.
Don’t forget the need for fluids on the move. It’s far too easy to neglect your fluid intake so my colleague’s bottle with hourly reminders is a great prompt.
Here’s a final hydration tip don’t leave your next drink when you are thirsty? Remember thirst is one of the first signs of dehydration.
If you work in health or social care your staff may be completing charts for the people they look after to monitor their drinks, plus encouraging and pushing hydration at key times including after providing care during the day.
But, how do these vital staff, access their own hydration at work? Is it at regular break times only? Are they allowed to have drinks with them as they deliver their care? Are they remote working where access to drinks and other facilities ( toilets to you and me) are not readily available? Are you in fact neglecting your staff by not enabling them to have access to drinks to help their own fluid intake? It was interesting to see many organisations during Nutrition and Hydration week focus on staff well being and this included many from outside the health and social care sectors who have identified this easy fix to improve their staff’s own welfare at work. Let them have access to a drink at work!
The health benefits to you as an employer are boundless – better concentration, healthier staff as fluids are vital to the body, the World Health Organization – Water Sanitation and Health (WHO) state
We are encouraging staff to get your cup right and take a photo – send us your pics
Hopefully you’ve had a drink whilst you were reading this, if not pop and get one and encourage your staff to have more fluids and to promote drinks to those they care for.
We have looked at your fluid requirements but what about your own nutritional requirements?
The Older People Food Matters Group focus on malnutrition but the simple messages of eating for health applies to all adults, unless your doctor or dietician has advised other requirements.
On 17th March Public Health England (PHE) launched the new Eatwell Guide to show the proportions in which different types of foods are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet. The proportions shown on the model below are representative of consumption over the period of a day, or a week and not necessarily each meal.
The new Eatwell Guide promotes 7 key messages:
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on potato, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates, choosing wholegrain versions where possible
- Include some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing low fat and low sugar options
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish or meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat small amount
- Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day
- If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts
For more information on rationale for the changes and further information on Eating well visit One You Leeds.
Thank you for taking time to read the article and I wish you all the best over Nutrition and Hydration Week 2017.
Richard Porter,Health Improvement Specialist (Older People)