It’s in the Bag

Denise Nowack, RD

Packing a lunch is a great way to save calories, money and time. The secret to making your brown-bag lunch interesting and nutritious is to plan ahead. Keep lunch in mind as you shop for the week.

The basics
Make fruits and veggies a brown-bag basic. Choose a variety of vegetables that can be enjoyed raw, like cherry tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, jicama, broccoli and celery. Some come pre-cleaned for quick and easy use. Dip them in hummus, low-fat ranch dressing or cottage cheese.

Build a better sandwich
Sandwiches are a sack lunch staple. But there is life beyond peanut butter and jelly. Vary your sandwich options by combining any of the tasty ideas below.

Cook once, eat twice
Make double batches of chili, soup and stews. Pack and freeze in individual serving size containers that can be reheated. Add a salad and a whole-grain roll and you’ve got lunch.

Plan for leftovers. Last night’s roasted chicken can be tossed with spinach, mandarin oranges and slivered almonds for a great lunch later in the week.

Make your own snack packs

Save money and watch your waistline by making your own 100-calorie snack packs. Buy in bulk, pack in sealable bags or reusable containers and you’ll have a nutritious snack you can throw in your lunch bag. Here are a few suggestions:

  • 12-15 almonds
  • 40 pretzel sticks
  • 10 walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup of whole-grain granola
  • 1 ¾ cup reduced-fat popcorn
  • 6 dried apricots
  • 12 mini-cheddar rice cakes
  • 15 chocolate-covered raisins
  • 10 baked corn chips

Grab & go items
No time to pack lunch? Stock up on these items that you can grab & go rather than go without.

  • Reduced-fat cheese sticks
  • Prepackaged salads or lunch kits (complete with all ingredients)
  • Yogurt in a single-serving container
  • Individual packaged veggies—some come complete with dip
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Whole fruit—complete with their natural wrapper

Retiring Old Leaders

Kenneth Nowack, Ph.D.

Ajax Rocky Mtns

My wife and I have been involved in a wonderful volunteer program raising guide dog puppyies for the blind in California called Guide Dogs of America for about 15 years. Not long ago we got a call from the organization telling us that an earlier guide dog puppy was now “retired” and moving on to another family. Ernie (that’s what we called him until the woman he worked with decided to exert her independence and renamed him “Journey”) was about 6.5 years old making him in his late 50’s in human years (I had no idea the accuracy of “dog calculators” was hotly debated!).

What does a retired guide dog do in retirement? Who doesn’t want to retire earlier?

In fact, according to an annual census survey of key economic and social characteristics (American Community Survey 2006) Americans are actually delaying retirement. The results of this survey suggested that 23.2% of all Americans between 65 and 74 years of age were still working in 2006 (up from 19.6% in 2000).

Is work so much more fun that employees just can’t leave voluntarily? Our own research suggests that 40% to 65% of all employees report they often feel pressure and stress on the job (Nowack, K. (2006). Optimising Employee Resilience: Coaching to Help Individuals Modify Lifestyle. Stress News, International Journal of Stress Management, Volume 18, 9-12). Experts on retirement and financial planning point out that all of us need to earn more to pay for longer retirements, increases in health care costs and increasing longevity. In 1993 overall life expectancy was 75.5 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–in 2003 it had increased to 77.4 years.

In a recent retirement study by Merrill Lynch (New Retirement Survey), the new career paradigm of job security being replaced by employability security seems to have really shifted feelings about retirement. Some of their findings suggest:

  1. Men describe “retirement” as a period where leisure activities increase and more time can be spent with their partner. Women of the same age cohort view retirement as a time for their own career development (particulary those who have “off ramped”), volunteering and personal growth.
  2. 37% of those in the survey indicated that finances were a key driver of delaying retirement, 67% reported that work is actually challenging and motivating providing a sense of identify and meaning.
  3. When asked about their preferred work arrangement when they retire 42% ideally would like to “cycle” between work and play, 15% prefer part-time employment, 13% want to initiate that dormant “entrepreneurial gene” and 6% didn’t really see retirement as an option.

In light of these figures, the hierarchy of the world of work seems to apply–jobs, careers and passions. So, identify those “signature strengths” of yours and find creative and new ways to “work to live.”

As Malcom Forbes once said, “Retirement kills more people than hard work did.”   Be well……
[tags]surveys, Envisia, Envisia Learning, retention, talent management, retirement, career management, longevity, kenneth nowack, ken nowack, nowack[/tags]


Do Names Matter in Work and Life Success?

Kenneth Nowack, Ph.D.

We are raising our third guide dog puppy for the blind (Guide Dogs of America). He’s nearing the end of his journey with us and we will have him for about 4 to 6 more months. He came from the “A” litter and we had the opportunity to name him and we chose “Ajax.” It will be interesting to see if he passes but makes you wonder if the names we give to kids and even pets make a difference in work and life success.


Some research supports this idea as well as children having first names starting with “A” do better academically then those with “D” of “F” as first names ((Nelson, L. & Simmons, J. (2007). Moniker Maladies: When names sabotage success. Psychological Science, 18 (12) 1106-1112)). These authors review 5 studies–each with the same conclusion that people really like their names and initials (often referred to as the Name-Letter Effect).

Nobody is really sure what’s up with this effect but the findings below on various performance outcomes provides some evidence that name liking impacts life success and outcomes by an implicit and unconscious process.

In their first study reviewing baseball player’s performance from 1913 to the present, those whose names began with the letter “K” struck out at a higher rate (in 18.8% of their plate appearances) than the remaining batters (17.2%), t(6395) = 3.08, p = .002. No word on whether those on steroids did better though.

In another study, the same researchers explored the relationship between MBA student grades and the initials of their names in a data set from a private University from 1990 until 2004. They compared students with first or last names starting with “A” or “B” with those with “C” or “D” as well as the rest of the students with names not having these initials.

Students whose names began with “C” or “D” had significantly lower grade point averages than those whose names began with “A” or “B”, (p = .001). The authors state that “the data for students with initials in the “other” category provide a baseline that shows the effect was driven by students with the initials C and D performing worse than others, rather than by students with the initials A and B performing better than others.”

In another study, the authors also found that students with names having initials “A” and “B” wound up at much better law schools than others (final sample with 170 law schools and 392,458 lawyers). To measure law-school quality, they used the 2003 rankings from U.S. News & World Report but categorized them into four groups (low to high). As the quality of schools declined, so did the proportion of lawyers with initials “A” and “B” supporting the “Name-Letter Effect.” However, no word on whether a person who changes their name (e.g., the performer “formally known as….) does well in life.

My Dad’s first initial is an “A” and my Mom’s is a “B” so maybe the genetic combination of their two initials has been helpful to my life and career in some way. I will keep you posted on how Ajax does with his formal guide dog training when we turn in him very soon–it will be fun to see if there is a greater “pass rate” for puppies with names starting in the beginning of the alphabet….Be well….

[tags] surveys, Envisia, Envisia learning, retention, talent management, name-letter effect, unconscious pursuit of performance, academic success, kenneth nowack, ken nowack, nowack[/tags]