THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON CHALKBOARD MAG.
Here’s how to stay on track with nutrition goals between emails, meetings and the inevitable temptations of that office break room…
YOU DONUT NEED us to tell you how tough it can be to stay on track with nutrition goals at work. We’re checking in with integrative nutritionist, Jennie Miremadi, for simple ways to set ourselves up for success throughout the week, plus a recipe we’d (almost) rather have than donuts anyways…
When my clients first start working with me, many of them feel totally overwhelmed with trying to eat healthy when they’re at work. They’re dealing with stress and busy schedules, and they’re surrounded by unhealthy food. Without the right tools in place, all of these factors can take a toll on their eating. By creating a plan to help them stay on track with food at work, it can often mean the difference between struggling or thriving in reaching their nutrition goals.
If you too are having a hard time keeping your diet healthy at the office, don’t be discouraged! Know that you can turn things around by creating a nutrition strategy for work. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some tips to help:
PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
One of the best ways to stay on track with your nutrition goals is to prep your lunch the night before and bring it with you to work the next day. Having your lunch readily available as soon as you get hungry can help you avoid grabbing something that’s quick, convenient and unhealthy – particularly on those days when you’re really busy. Some of my favorite lunches that are easy to prep and transport include salads in a jar, chicken or salmon collard wraps and healthy bowls.
PUT YOUR WORK AWAY WHEN YOU EAT
When you have a lot on your plate, it can seem like a good idea to work while you eat. But this kind of multitasking sets you up to eat more food than your body needs because it distracts you from your body’s hunger signals. Instead of working through lunch, take 20-30 minutes to enjoy your meal. If there isn’t a place for you to eat other than your desk, put your work away and turn off your computer screen before you start eating. Eat slowly, without distractions and pay attention not only to the taste of your food, but also to your hunger levels. When you’re satisfied, stop eating. Even if you haven’t finished your food, remember that you can always eat more if you get hungry later.
PICK HEALTHY LUNCH RESTAURANTS
If you like going out to lunch with your colleagues, pick a spot that has healthy options. If you opt for the fast-food place where your only choice is a burger and fries, it’s going to be impossible to eat a nutritious lunch. Instead, choose a restaurant that not only has healthy choices, but also serves you quickly. One of my favorite restaurants with fast service and delicious, nutrient-rich options is Sweetgreen.
AVOID UNHEALTHY FREE OFFICE FOOD
Although it’s tempting to let your company foot the bill for your meals, you’ll undermine your nutrition goals if that food is unhealthy. Before you opt for the free meal, ask yourself A) whether the food is in line with your approach to nutrition B) whether you would eat it if you were paying for it yourself and C) how it will make you feel when you eat it. If the food is not in line with your nutritional approach, you wouldn’t buy it for yourself or it will make you feel unwell, tired or bloated, try to let that guide your decision to eat it.
KEEP A WORK SNACK KIT
Create a snack kit that you can store in your desk at work so when you get hungry in the afternoon, you can reach for one of your nutrient-rich snacks instead of grabbing something unhealthy. A few of my favorite quick and easy storable work snacks include nuts, seeds, my strawberry almond coconut trail mix, organic olives snack packs, single-serving nut-butter squeeze packets from Artisana Organics and 3.75 ounce cans of Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon.
MANAGE STRESS WITHOUT SUGAR
Work can be incredibly stressful. Reaching for a sugary treat to cope with that stress is not going to make it any better. Instead, take five minutes and find a quiet spot to meditate, do deep breathing exercises or practice EFT. These tools can help you manage your stress in a healthy way without sabotaging your nutrition goals.