It’s no secret that office environments aren’t always the best for managing your waistline and making healthy eating choices. There’s often an abundance of treats in the break room, vending machines filled with unhealthy snacks and a never-ending supply of coffee, cream and sugar to help you get through the day. Add all of these factors together and you have the recipe for weight gain and poor health.
There’s no need to despair though! With a little guidance and a bit of self-control, you can conquer the pitfalls of a workplace diet. Here’s a list of things you can do to make better eating habits while at work.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
First things first. Before you even get to work, be sure to eat a balanced breakfast. By starting your day with a protein-rich meal, you’re already setting yourself up for success as you’ll be less likely to crave sugar-filled snacks if your stomach is full. Plus, eating breakfast helps combat the morning blues, which sets you up for a positive day.
What are some good breakfast choices? Eggs in any form are always a good option to kick start your day with a boost of protein. Other healthy breakfast ideas include avocado toast, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or a bowl of oatmeal.
Drink More Water
Good ol’ H20 is a miracle worker when it comes to managing your diet. Fill yourself with water and you won’t have room for all the unhealthy goodies that may tempt you throughout your day. If drinking water all day doesn’t sound appealing, you can make it more flavorful by adding lemon or trying carbonated water with a refreshing fizz.
The recommended daily intake of water has long been said to be eight 8-ounce glasses or 64 ounces. However, that’s only part of the story. In reality, it’s recommended that 64 ounces of fluid be consumed daily, which also includes other liquids and water that is part of fruits and vegetables. Instead of aiming to fulfill a specific goal, keep a bottle of water with you at your desk or on the go to sip throughout the day. You can even set a reminder to take a sip every 30 minutes or so. Not only will you stay hydrated but you’ll stay fuller, which will make it easier to turn down unhealthy snacks.
Bring Your Own Healthy Snacks
Avoid the break room and vending machines, which are often full of high fat treats, and bring your own snacks from home. You can pre-portion your snacks at the beginning of the week and simply grab-and-go each morning to ensure that you always have access to a healthy snack and are easily able to making healthy eating choices.
Choose healthy options that will leave you satisfied without adding unnecessary calories, like fruits, veggies and nuts. Granola bars and low fat cheese sticks also offer just the right amount of food to get you through the in-between-meal slump.
Slow Down on the Coffee
Sure the caffeine is a welcome boost to your productivity but consuming too much coffee can be detrimental to your overall health. This is especially true if you add an abundance of sugar or milk, which increases the calorie count and expands your waistline.
If you feel that you need coffee to get through the day, try to limit yourself to a small cup and skip the add-ons. Likewise, you can also choose an unsweetened tea for a bit of caffeine without the extra sugar.
Choose a Healthy Lunch
If you find yourself going out to lunch often, whether as part of a work meeting or simply to pick up an order to-go, be sure to make smart eating decisions. Avoid the tempting fast food and opt for a salad with low fat dressing on the side. Choosing grilled meat, instead of fried, or fresh fruit, instead of fries, are good choices too.
Bringing a lunch from home is an even better decision. You’ll have more control over how the food is prepared and can better monitor the portion size. Aim for a brown bag lunch full of protein and fiber to give you energy and keep you feeling full and avoid excess sugar and fat. Perfect if you are on a ketogenic diet.
Eat Your Lunch Away From Your Desk
It may be tempting to double task and continue to work while eating lunch but it’s generally a bad idea. Eating while distracted by work can lead to you eating more than you would if you were paying attention to your food.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to get up and stretch. Forcing yourself to stand up and move away from your desk at lunchtime means that you’ll get moving too, which is a huge plus for your waistline.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
From workplace celebrations to co-workers peddling their children’s fund-raising goodies, there’s constant temptation in the office to veer off the healthy eating path. Be strong and politely decline any offers that you feel may deter you from reaching your health goals. Skipping a slice of birthday cake or turning down a box of cookies won’t likely have a long-term impact on your work relationships but it could affect your health, especially if it’s a common occurrence.
However, don’t feel like you have to completely deprive yourself of treats either. Just try to limit the number of times that you indulge and stick to a healthy food plan the rest of the time. After all, everyone deserves a reward on occasion and at some stage, you are going to have to update your health risk assessment.
Making Healthy Eating Choices
Remember, it’s not impossible to eat healthy at work. All it takes is a little effort, a focus on wellness, a commitment to making healthy eating choices and self-control and you, too, can conquer the workplace diet.