The demands of work can oftentimes make it difficult to practice healthy eating at the workplace. This can lead to dire consequences, like weight gain, foul mood, and increased risk of getting ill. The good news is you can avoid those predicaments, and you can do so by following the tips below.
1. Pack your lunch
Bringing packed lunch is a means to save money and a way to eat healthy. SFGate article ‘Food to Pack for Lunch at Work’ details that making a healthy lunch at home is a convenient way to ensure a balanced meal later at work — one that has the essential nutrients and energy you need to fuel you throughout the day. When you pack lunch, include sources of carbohydrates (a grain salad, for instance) and lean protein (some chicken breast or fish), as well as nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. This will entail additional work, but it’s a great step towards healthy eating at the workplace.
2. Check your coffee
Coffee is good, but not if you keep adding 2 tablespoons of cream and 2 packets of sugar to every cup. That’s a lot of sugar and calories in a drink, and more if you’re a serial coffee drinker. But no, we’re not telling you to give up the brew. Instead, you can make better coffee choices. Dietitian Angela Lemond from the Boston Globe recommends mixing in a tablespoon of cocoa rather than sugar, or adding vanilla, caramel, or chocolate extract. All four can add a sugary touch to your brew, but with less actual sugar. You can also opt for a cappuccino with low fat milk, with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.
3. Eat mindfully
Nutritionist Adda Bjarnadottir explains that mindfulness lets you control your eating habits by making eating intentional rather than automatic. Often, people eat because they think they are hungry, when in reality, they aren’t. Instead, they are simply responding to a food-related trigger that “tells” them to eat. You can train yourself to avoid that through mindfulness. All you’ll need to do is eat slowly (without distraction), appreciate the food you’re eating, and then notice how it affects you. Do it regularly. Soon enough, you’ll start recognizing actual, physical hunger, and that’ll give you the opportunity to respond accordingly. Consequently, you’ll avoid bad eating habits like binge eating, emotional eating, and eating due to craving. This, in turn, will help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Eat in the right place
People rarely eat mindfully anymore, as there are just so many distractions. Work is one! Lots of employees eat right at their workstation, which leads to distracted eating. Being at your workstation will tempt you to do two things at once: eat and work. This will keep you from mindful eating, and prevent you from developing good eating habits (see previous section). It’s even bad for work. Sheena Dizon of Pain Free Working notes that working and eating at the same time adversely impacts your productivity because you’re multitasking. In this case, eating distracts you from work, and that will cause a dip in performance. The point: Work hard at your workstation, then eat mindfully at the designated eating area.
5. Avoid sugary drinks
This is something we’ve discussed in our ‘5 Unhealthy Habits You Need to Ditch TODAY’ post. But it is worth emphasizing: avoid sugary drinks, as too much sugar can result to weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay, and even liver damage. So, say no to soda, sweetened coffee (see tip 2 above), and fruit juices. Just stick with water if you can.
Words by Paris McCain
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