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5 Ways To Eat Healthy While Working from Home
Are you working from home lately? If you're like many others who have made the shift from an office to remote work, you may be feeling stressed, annoyed, lonely, or bored. It's natural to look for comfort or escape when we're feeling this way, and these emotions can make it a struggle to eat healthy food every day. Food often provides the dose of "feel good" hormones or endorphins that we're seeking in times of stress. This is especially true of processed, sugary, high-fat snacks.
Food does, however, have a significant impact on your physical, emotional, and mental health. Not only can sugary, processed foods result in unhealthy weight gain (we're looking at you, #Quarantine15), but they can also cause fatigue, reduced productivity, a weakened immune system, and depression.
Over the last few weeks and months, we've all been through so much. That means it's essential to treat yourself with healthy foods that will make you feel better, not worse. Your mind and body will thank you, and so will your boss!
Here are five ways to eat healthy while working from home.
One of the easiest ways to eat well, save money, and reduce your time at the grocery store is to plan your meals ahead of time. If you know what you'll be making for the week, you can make a shopping list—and stick to it—before your next grocery shopping trip.
If you're new to meal-planning, there are a few tricks that make it easier.
Make a list of the days of the week. Under each day, list breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Then, list the meals you'll be having for each one. If you're stuck for ideas, try our nutty salmon recipe or these three brunch recipes that can be made any time of day. Just keep the menu simple, and it will be simple to maintain.
Once your list of meals is complete, make a second list with the ingredients you'll need to make each one, ideally categorized by department. Organizing your shopping list will make it easy to pick up groceries without backtracking through the store. Going in with a plan also reduces opportunities to be tempted by the grocery store's inner-aisles, where most junk food lives.
When you get home, set aside a couple of hours to prep anything that can reheat quickly. This takes a bit of time, but it makes eating healthy all week long much more manageable than prepping everything as you go.
Even if you're not leaving the house, you can make a "bag lunch" every morning before starting work. That way, you'll know exactly what you're eating that day, just like you would at the office.
Set Your Environment Up for Success
Set your environment—and self—up for success by stocking your fridge, pantry, and cupboards with healthy foods. Not only will this lead to more nutritious meals, but you'll also have better snack options. Healthy options make for healthy choices.
For your healthiest meal, you should compose your plate with the following ratios in mind.
- 50% vegetables and fruits
- 25% protein-rich foods like meat, nuts, beans, or dairy
- 25% whole grains, like brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
This ratio provides a high level of vitamins A and C, as well as plenty of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, keeping your mind and body alert, energetic, and performing at their best.
If you're the kind of person who enjoys an afternoon snack or late-night munch, you can absolutely do so without jeopardizing your health. Some of the best snack foods while working from home are:
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Low in calories, and loaded with protein, rich vitamins, minerals, and fiber, chickpeas can improve digestion, aid weight management, and reduce the risk of several diseases. Soak overnight and dry-roast with your favorite spices.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds. These contain vitamin E, heart-helping fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which help lower cholesterol and maintain blood pressure levels. It's easy to overindulge on mixed nuts and seeds, so rather than eat them straight out of the container, pour a palmful into your hand to maintain portion control.
- Popcorn. Popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack loaded with fiber, which is good for gut health and staves off hunger. Toss with your favorite spices or seasonings, and make sure to take it easy on the butter.
- Baked veggies. Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and make a delicious snack. Simply chop some carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes into 1” pieces, lay flat on a baking tray, season with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees F, and enjoy hot and crispy.
- Red wine and dark chocolate. In moderation, these two indulgences can help to reduce plaque build-up in your arteries and are great treats to help you unwind after a stressful day.
Set Your Office Up Away from the Kitchen
We've all done it. You've finished a meeting and have 10 minutes to kill before the next one: might as well have a snack (again). While snacking can help you curb hunger between meals and get extra nutrients into your diet, impulsive snacking out of boredom or stress can have a dangerous effect on your overall health. And let's be honest—it's difficult to avoid the fridge when it's gently calling your name across the room.
Instead of working from the kitchen table or breakfast bar, set your office up away from the kitchen—perhaps in a second bedroom or den. This way, you won't be tempted to open up the pantry every time you look up from your computer, and you'll reap the added bonus of getting a few extra steps in when it is time to make your way to the kitchen for a snack or meal.
Schedule Snack and Meal Times (Away from the Computer)
When working from home, it's easy to wake up, pour a coffee, and immediately sit down in front of the computer all day long. This is one of the worst ways to ensure healthy eating while working from home. You're not only less mindful about what you're putting in your mouth, but you're also not moving your body at regular intervals, leading to sedentary health effects such as the increased risk of cancer, stroke, and high cholesterol.
Instead, treat snacks and mealtimes like you would in the office. You wouldn't graze all day when you're there—so act the same way at home. Schedule these times, and you'll ensure you not only actually eat (so you aren't a big hangry mess when 5 o'clock rolls around) but that you do so mindfully and healthily. Besides, there's always something more to do, and your focus dwindles without dedicated breaks. So take them!
Dehydration is productivity's nemesis, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and low performance. Your body is more than 60% water, and you need plenty of fluids enough to keep your brain and body functioning at optimal levels and flush out the barrage of toxins you consume daily.
Just as you'd fill up a water bottle at the office to keep at your desk, keep filtered water next to your workstation at home too. Avoid sugary drinks like pop, soda, juice, and alcohol, which can further exacerbate dehydration and cause adverse health effects, like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or other chronic diseases. Reach for filtered water to ensure you feel more energetic, happier, and generally healthier and more productive.
Ready to Learn More?
Do you want to learn more about how you can eat healthy while working from home and make better choices for your health and longevity? Pick up a copy of TRANSCEND: 9 Steps for Living Well Forever.
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