Many of the people who email me on a regular basis say that one of the most challenging things for them, when they are trying to eat healthy or lose weight, is eating away from home.
For most of us, we leave home several days in the week to go to work, and we spend a good part of our day there.
If you find eating away from home very difficult, that’s going to be a major hindering factor to the success of your health goals, if you don’t get it right.
So, here are a few ways you can start eating healthy at work…
7 Tips For Healthy Eating At The Office
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This may seem a bit out of place in an article about healthy eating, but I assure you it isn’t. Being well rested is one of the first steps to eating well and feeling at your best.
When you are overtired you will more than likely find yourself reaching for food and copious amounts of coffee, as a way to keep your energy levels up.
I recently came across this quote, which is so very true,
I couldn’t agree more!
2. Eat Some Breakfast
Don’t let the familiarity of this advice make you skip over this tip.
People who eat breakfast are more likely to eat better throughout the rest of the day. And, if you want to be on top of your game, go for a higher protein choice, like eggs, rather than loading up on the normal carb-heavy breakfast cereals.
Protein will help you feel more satisfied, and fewer cravings later in the day will mean you’ll be less likely to be tempted by unhealthy, high sugar snacks, or overeat at mealtimes.
3. Take Food With You
I don’t need to tell you that homemade trumps store-bought lunches in terms of cost, ingredients, and even taste.
And I know, it is difficult to find the time for making your own lunch, but I’m afraid you just have to make the time.
Here are some healthy lunch ideas, if you need some inspiration.
Your lunch doesn’t have to be complicated — just throw some items into a lunchbox (lettuce, tomato, sugar snap peas, etc., a boiled egg/a tin of tuna/other lean meat). Then, all you have to do is chop it up at lunchtime. Pair that with a piece of fruit, some natural yogurt, and/or some unsalted nuts, and you’re sorted for lunch and snacks throughout the whole day… easy!
4. Remember, Drinks Count
I find that if people associate drinking tea or coffee with eating cookies or cake, etc. the best solution is to cut back on their tea and coffee consumption.
It’s all about cutting the unhealthy diet associations.
Also, don’t forget that drinks count towards your daily caloric intake. Some count in a huge way, too.
Soft drinks are a no-go area, as is creamy coffees, and fruit juice. Instead, stick with unsweetened tea, coffee and other hot drinks, like green tea.
But remember what I said above, if you associate a hot drink with eating unhealthy snacks, think about avoiding them completely, or at least cutting back your hot beverage consumption, and going for water instead.
5. Don’t Be Easily Led
I know, this is nasty advice — you just know you’ll want those donuts that are being passed around the office!
But, if you’re committed to your diet plan, and you’ve planned ahead with your own healthy snack, you can say NO! to the unhealthy food, if you really want to.
If you’re trying to cut back on sugary junk food, the simplest way to do this is to avoid buying it. If it isn’t sitting on your desk staring you in the face, it will be a lot easier to avoid eating.
I know this. I rarely buy candies and biscuits, but when I do, you can be sure I want to eat a cookie with my afternoon tea, rather than my normal snack of nuts or fruit mid-afternoon.
Take my advice, and make your life a lot simpler by not buying the junk food in the first place.
If your work involves frequent meetings where there will be lots of cake and other high-calorie goodies, I challenge you to stand out from the crowd by bringing your own healthy snacks to the meeting with you. Chances are you’ll inspire others to do the same through time.
All you need are some fruit or nuts and a bottle of water — it’s very easy really. And, it’s so much easier to say no the the goodies being passed around when you have your own snack right there in front of you — believe me, I’ve been there!
6. Prepare For Late Nights
If you know there’s a good chance you’ll have to stay late at the office, don’t wait until you get home at 8pm to get some food. By that stage you’ll be so famished, tired, and grumpy, that the last thing you want to do is make a healthy meal for yourself.
Much better to take something along to work, which will tide you over until you get home. This will also help you to stay strong, and avoid the drive-thru on the way home.
If you’ve got access to a fridge at work there really is no excuse. Why not make extra food the night before a long day at work, then pop your leftovers into a container to take with you the following day?
7. Slow It Down
You know it, I know it, but for some reason it’s like we’re preprogrammed to wolf our food down, like it’s about to run off our plates.
So, instead of slamming your lunch into you while staring at your computer screen, take a little advice from our sophisticated French friends, by slowing things down considerably at the dinner table.
Eating more slowly allows your brain and your stomach to get into sync with each other, and realize that it’s time to stop eating.
Now, I just need to remind myself the very same thing every time I sit down to eat :-)
So, that’s my top tips for eating healthy at work — what advice would you add?