Eating healthy at work can be very tricky..especially when you’re constantly bombarded with office snacks, vending machines or nearby convenience stores. You can sabotage an otherwise great diet by falling into the junk food traps commonly found in the workplace. The most obvious solution? Bring your own lunch to work each day. The problem? It’s not always that easy, but it can be.
Here are 8 simple strategies to help you eat healthy at work and save time and money in the process:
Plan, Plan, Plan. The easiest way to stay on track with your diet is to plan your meals. Before you go grocery shopping, prepare a list of meals and foods that you’d like to eat while you’re at work. This will help to avoid fast food runs or trips to the vending machines.
Cook in Batches. One popular food of choice among those trying to get fit is chicken or turkey but it’s not always easy to prepare cooked meat for work each day. You can eat meat plain or chopped up or sliced and put into salads or sandwiches. To save time, cook in batches and prepare enough for several days or up to a week at a time. This way you won’t have to spend time cooking during the week unless it’s for dinner.
Be Mindful of Snacks. I know firsthand what it’s like to go to work only to find out somebody brought donuts, cookies, cakes, homemade bars and candies. I also know what it feels like to avoid the break room snacks only to hear things like, “Oh, what, are you on a diet?” or “C’mon, you can eat whatever you want and stay thin.” or “What do you eat? Lettuce?” I simply ignore these comments. I don’t make comments about what others are eating.. It’s perfectly okay to nibble on these treats from time to time but be careful to eat them in moderation and not splurge. *One trick? Bring a piece home and eat it post-workout when your body craves sugar most!
Bring Leftovers. In our household, we always prepare dinners large enough for my husband to bring leftovers to work the next day. Our dinners are generally healthy and then he’s also able to whip up his work lunches the night before because it’s already cooked – he just has to plop it in some containers. Voila.
Behold the Power and Convenience of Protein Powder. Protein powder is an essential part of my daily diet because it’s a great source of protein and it’s low in carbs, fat and sugar. You can bring a serving inside a sandwich baggy and mix it up whenever you feel like. Protein shakes are perfect in the morning at breakfast time or during the afternoon when you start to feel sluggish.
Snack Healthy. Snacks aren’t always bad. Some healthy snack ideas for work include:
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts and walnuts are great choices)
- Fruit (oranges, grapefruits, bananas, apples, pears, strawberries)
- Veggies (raw carrots, celery, broccoli)
- Hard-boiled Eggs
- Light String Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Protein Powder (worth mentioning again)
- Sugar-free Jell-O Snacks (pudding, Jell-O)
Eat Every 2 to 3 Hours. If I go longer than about 3 hours between meals I’ll start to feel tired and lazy – especially in the early afternoon hours. Eating often helps to keep your metabolism revved and your energy levels elevated. When I get tired and lazy that also tends to be the time when I start to crave sugar and carbs which = not-to-good-choices made by me. Just as an example, I usually eat at 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. As you can see, this means you’d probably eat 4 of 6 “meals” while you’re at work.
Stick to Water, Tea and Coffee. Avoid sugary drinks like pop, juice and energy drinks.