When you spend a minimum of eight hours a day behind a desk, it’s easy to gain weight. You spend less time on your feet, and may be too tired at night to exercise. Plus, overeating or eating unhealthy foods at the office is a constant struggle for many people. Cake for someone’s birthday on Tuesday, doughnuts at the Friday morning meeting and a vending machine full of chips and candy can lead to a lot of unhealthy choices. Here are some tips for eating healthy at work.
Bring Your Lunch
Instead of ordering lunch in or grabbing fast food every day, bring your lunch in. You’re much more likely to eat unhealthy food when you eat out. Even if you do order a healthy option, you don’t really have any control over what the cook puts into your dish. “Healthy” options at restaurants are often still full of salt and fat. Since remembering and making the time to pack your lunch in the morning isn’t always possible, try prepping a week’s worth of healthy lunches on Sunday afternoon. Pre-slice fruits and vegetables, toss a big salad and portion out dressing. Cook up enough chicken for the entire week or make a big batch of brown rice and black beans. Put whatever you’re bringing into pre-portioned Tupperware containers so all you have to do is grab one on the way out the door. Bonus: Bringing lunch will save you money.
Plan Your Snacks
You probably already know what times of the day you get hungry. If you’re always searching out food at 3 p.m., plan for it. Instead of waiting for your stomach to growl and rummaging through the fridge for a snack, take a planned break to eat a healthy snack. Bring an apple, keep some peanut butter at your desk or reach for a healthy granola bar instead. Try making caffeine-free tea instead of coffee, as well. You’ll probably consume less sugar and it won’t mess with your sleep later.
People often mistake their thirst for hunger and reach for food when what they really need to do is drink. Feeling dehydrated can trick your body into thinking you’re hungry. Before you eat any meal or snack, drink a glass of water to help curb your hunger. You should also drink water consistently throughout the day anyway to keep yourself hydrated. Water can help you feel full, keep you awake and assist with weight loss.
Take a Walk
If you’re truly tempted by the cake sitting in the kitchen or craving a bag of chips, try getting out and exercising to take your mind off it. Take a ten-minute walk around the block or through your neighborhood. The exercise and time outside is like hitting a mental refresh button that will make resisting temptation a little bit easier. Grab a coffee (no sugar!) if you really need to.
Make a Pact
Find another coworker or friend who also wants to make changes to their workday diet. Plan meals together make lunch dates and send each other encouraging messages throughout the day to keep up the good work. Check in at the end of each week to talk honestly about your struggles and if you slipped up at all. Having an accountability partner can make the workday diet a little easier.