I have been very lucky as a number of my jobs have been working remotely from home. This set-up has its pros and cons but a definite pro is that it’s much easier to be healthy. It’s not a coincidence that when I moved to an ‘at office’ job a few years ago, I gained weight.
The workplace is never an easy place to be the healthiest ‘you’. You don’t have access to your own fridge and stock of foods, social influence generally works in a negative direction, you often feel pressured to take as little time as possible to eat (meaning grab-and-go (not so healthy) lunches). Also, the biggest thing that would catch me out when I worked in an office was the commute home. By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, and ready and willing to snack on anything I could get a hold of (usually a bit of chocolate from the office vending machine).
Here’s a few hints for keeping up your healthy eating habits in and out of the office.
Do your weekly shopping with lunches in mind and prepare for the week ahead. Perhaps you make a nice healthy salad to last the week or make extras for dinner every night leaving enough for leftovers. DON'T forget to pack some healthy snacks (portion controlled) for those late afternoon munchies. For details on healthy eating see Nutrition 101 but remember: whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats!
Take time away from your work to have lunch. It's very easy to overeat while enthralled in whatever task you are working on. Instead, take a break from your work and give your brain a rest. You may find portion control easier when you eat away from a work setting.
Try not to overload on coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Try bringing a water bottle to work every day for easy access. No need to try to hit a specific quantify of water each day, just drink enough that you are not thirsty.
Go For A Walk
Take a break from staring at your computer screen, stretch your legs, and rest your eyes. Eating out of boredom can be avoided when you stimulate your brain with different activities throughout the day.
If eating out with colleagues, look for the healthy options. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with veggies, choose lean protein, and avoid fried options. Most importantly, be aware of portion sizes and how much you are eating.
I hope these hints have helped you. Remember, every little bit of positive change helps.
What healthy snacks do you like to bring to the office? Comment your favorites below!
Written by Dr. Tara Coletta, PhD
Tara's research focused on obesity and metabolism. She studied exercise science (MS, UMass Amherst) before earning a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Tufts University). Wellness remains an integral part of Tara’s life as she works to balance being a mother of three.