25th March 2020

Home working: California Prune Board shares tips on how to make your day more effective

In line with the advice and guidance being given globally to contain the spread of Covid-19, many of us are now finding ourselves working from home. Making the day as effective as possible – with or without children who need homeschooling – is key, as is maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle, while keeping sedentary behaviour, loneliness, and bad habits at bay.

With Italy now weeks into lockdown, the California Prune Board has asked its Italian-based dietitian and nutritionist, Dr Annamaria Acquaviva, to share her tips on how to get the best from homeworking.

  1. Establish a morning routine

Set the alarm and carry on with your usual morning routine before you sit down to work – even if your commute now only involves a quick jog down the stairs. “Start your day with a healthy breakfast,  combining some Greek yoghurt with a handful of California Prunes for example. Just three prunes daily make up one of your recommend five a day intake of fruit and vegetables. Prunes are great for your digestive health, and they are a welcome source of vitamin B6 and copper, which can help maintain a healthy immune system. A balanced bacterial flora and a regular and effective intestinal function can also improve your general wellbeing,” adds Dr. Acquaviva.

  1. Create a comfortable workplace

Just before you settle down to work, carry out some gentle stretches so you can tackle your day feeling more relaxed. In terms of workspace, Dr. Acquaviva suggests opting for a quiet, well-lit corner of the house.  “You can also change your position during the day, if it helps you,” she adds. She also suggests using essential oils to help increase concentration and attention levels, such as  Rosemary, Basil and Mint.

  1. Work, but take regular breaks

Make a “To Do List” and write the goals that you have to accomplish each day, to help keep you on track and avoid distractions. “It’s also important to take breaks and eat healthy snacks to keep you energised,” adds Dr. Acquaviva.“California Prunes are easy and convenient, and as they’re rich in fibre, they help control the absorption of fats and sugars in the blood. Countering the spikes of sugar is very important for promoting clarity and mental energy,” she explains. “Combine prunes with one or two squares of dark chocolate to stimulate the brain, making it more attentive, alert and responsive and to help keep your spirits up.  Chocolate is also a source of theobromine, a methylxanthine which helps keep you awake and promotes concentration, without making you feel fatigued. Other methylxanthines are caffeine – contained in coffee – and theophylline – contained in tea, both of which regulate the functions of the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the endocrine system,” says Dr. Acquaviva.

  1. Hydration is essential

Keep drinking water. “Keep a glass of water nearby, as proper hydration helps digestion, and regulates blood circulation and body temperature. It also helps to eliminate toxins from the body,  transports nutrients, and helps protect organs and tissues, keeping the body active,” continues Dr. Acquaviva.

  1. Avoid quick meals and sedentary lifestyle

Do not lose the rhythm of meals. Working from home might mean we don’t eat at regular times, which can lead to low blood sugar and exaggerated stocks. “There is also the risk we’re more likely to consume processed foods instead of fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, which are rich in micronutrients and fibre, and important for our health.  Dried fruit like California Prunes are useful, and are very practical and convenient as they are shelf stable and can be kept in the cupboard for months at a time. They are also a rich source of fibre, providing 7g of fibre per 100g; almost a quarter of the recommended average intake of 30g per day,” adds Dr. Acquaviva. Making your breaks more active by jogging up and down the stairs, following an online fitness session or even tidying the house can help – and working in a clean and tidy environment can also greatly help concentration levels.

  1. Understand when to finish

Smart working often becomes an excuse to work through until dinner time, so it’s important to set a time limit.  “Once your To Do List has been completed, turn off the computer and enjoy the evening by watching a film, reading, listening to music or doing a light workout,” concludes Dr. Acquaviva.


Kathryn Swinglehurst, Apple Tree Communications (ATC) Ltd      E:  kath@appletreecomms.co.uk / T: +44 (0) 7775 814156