Healthy eating at the office is easier said than done

Cindy Bjorkquist, M.S.

| 4 min read

We live in a society that is constantly on-the-go and we often don’t spend the time to take care of ourselves, especially during the work day. Between the commute, meetings, emails and to-do list, eating healthy – that is, if we eat at all – is the last thing we want to think about. But just because you’re at the office does not mean you have to sacrifice healthy eating. With good planning, determination and these seven tips, you can eat healthy at the office.

7 Tips for Healthy Eating at the Office

1. Good night, sleep tight then eat right
Being well rested is the first step to eating well and feeling your best each day. When you are overly tired you are more likely to find yourself reaching for snacks, coffee and energy drinks to keep your energy level up. Studies show that a lack of sleep results in an increase in appetite in males and reduced feelings of fullness in females. The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults.
2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
People who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to make healthy eating choices throughout the day. Breakfast not only gives you energy to start a new day, but it is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance. If you want optimal performance, choose foods high in protein rather than loading up on carb-heavy breakfast cereals. Protein will help you feel fuller with fewer cravings later in the day. If you need breakfast to go, make a healthy smoothie like my favorite green one – low fat Greek yogurt, spinach, pineapple, frozen banana and skim milk. Yes, it’s green and delicious!
3. BYOL – Bring your own lunch
Very few of us work near restaurants that offer a plethora of healthy eating options at reasonable prices. As such, the best course of action is to bring your lunch to work. And nothing beats homemade meals, especially when you know they have been prepared with your health in mind. Whether you choose a simple salad, a staple sandwich or something more adventurous, make sure to round out your meal with fruits and veggies. If you need some inspiration, look no further than these great lunch recipes.
4. Slow ride, take it easy
Instead of slamming down your lunch while you catch up on emails at your desk, take the time to enjoy and properly digest your meal. Eating slowly allows your brain and your stomach to sync with each other and realize when it’s time to stop eating. Additionally, eating slowly can help curb unhealthy cravings and reduce stress. Make sure to stand up and walk around before or after you eat if you tend to sit all day. Even do a few stretches to help blood flow and reduce stress.
5. H2O is the way to go!
When discussing healthy eating habits, it’s important to factor in beverages. Sodas, coffee and fruit drinks are full of calories and added sugar and should be treated like snacks. The best way to avoid extra calories during the work day is to cut back on unhealthy beverage consumption. Instead, stick with unsweetened tea or better yet – a refreshing glass of water.
6. Just say NO! If you can’t, then phone a friend
One of the biggest challenges when eating at the office is being able to say no to unhealthy temptations. Whether it’s the candy bowl at reception, homemade treats from a co-worker or burgers brought in for a lunch meeting, choosing alternatives takes willpower. A great way to fight the urges and stick to your healthy routine is to find an ally who will encourage healthy behavior and build you up when you say, “No!”. Chances are you’ll inspire others to do the same.
7. Late night snack attack
If you know there’s a good chance you’ll have to stay late at the office or you have a long commute, don’t wait until you get home to eat again. If you eat lunch between 12 and 1 p.m., by the time you get home around 8 p.m. you’ll be so famished and tired the last thing you’ll want to do is prepare a healthy meal. A better solution is to prepare a healthy snack the night before and bring it with you to work the following day. It will tide you over, boosting energy and keeping your metabolism up, until you get home.
Good luck and stay healthy!
Photo credit: urbanfoodie33

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