10 Tips to Eat Healthy at the Office

As we move toward having a healthier lifestyle, starting with our eating habits is the first thing that comes to mind.  For all people with an office job, the first place to start with is the workplace, as we spend most of our waking hours sitting in front of computer screens.

However, finding ways to eat healthy when working in an office can be an ongoing challenge: the vending machine starts calling your name at 10am, your coffee buddy calls you for a break at 11, you eat a sandwich in front of your computer at 12 and then the guy from IT is celebrating his birthday with a massive sugary cake at 3 o‘clock. The struggle is real, way too real, and you need to be prepared.

Breaking bad habits and start living a healthier life will make you more productive and energetic and quite sure your wallet will be thankful also!

1. Develop a Healthy Mood.

To make changes, it’s very important to first understand your eating habits and patterns. It’s a good idea to keep a nutrition diary for some time and then analyze the results. You can add a little note about what was on your schedule that day to better identify patterns. For instance you may notice that you indulge more in unhealthy food when you are stressed out or when a big event is approaching.

Educate yourself on nutrition: carefully read the food labels, and preferably go for those products with the shortest and easiest to read labels.

It’s also important to understand that eating healthy should not be seen as torture and is not as complicated as it may sound. It can be tough at the beginning but you just need some time to adjust to the new changes in your nutrition habits.

2. Don’t skip breakfast (best meal of the day)

Start your day with a nutritious and filling breakfast to charge the batteries for a new day at the office. Your brains will work better and you won’t feel those hunger pangs in the morning anymore. The vending machines call will only be a whisper. Why do you think breakfast is the best meal of the day!

3. Stock up on healthy desktop snacks

To combat hunger pangs, stock your desk drawer with healthy, low-calorie, nutritious snacks, such as protein bars, small snack portions of trail mix or nuts. If you have a mini fridge or a communal fridge, stock up on fat-free yogurt, fresh veggies and fruits and bottled water. These snacks will be a lot better than whatever you can grab out of a vending machine.
It’s important to keep the food off your desk and out of sight or you’ll be tempted too much to grab a snack whenever you feel like. Some examples of good snack options: oatmeal and blueberries, Greek yogurt and strawberries, carrots and hummus, or apple and peanut butter.

4. Bring in a Water Bottle

During the day you should drink at least 1.5-2 liters of fluid, preferably water. Start the day at the office with a big bottle of water and make an effort to finish it by the end of the day. Drinking water helps you think, focus and concentrate better.

5. Bring Leftovers

Pack your meals and snacks the night before. The best way to control what you eat is simple, just cook yourself! Make bigger portions so that you can use the leftovers the day after or spend some extra time in the evening cooking a simple meal for the office. You can also prepare meals and snacks and then store them in your fridge or freezer. Invest some money in a practical lunch box, possibly with different compartments for food, seasoning etc.

6. Plan Your Meals for the Week

A good way of budgeting and controlling your nutrition is to make a weekly meal plan. This way you can make sure to include plenty of veggies and fruits into your diet not only when you’re at home but also at the office. Making a meal plan will save you lots of time and money.

7. “No, thank you.” In a Kind way

There’s always a work buddy who’s a bit of a tempting demon. That’s the one that comes over to tell you “the pizza place behind the corner has a new offer this week”, “a new Chinese restaurant opened last month and we haven’t tried it yet”, or “I really feel like junk food today, c’mon just once!”. Practice your nicest “No, thank you” and then use it every time he comes by your desk. Well, not every time: a slice of pizza won’t kill you and you can’t always say no, can you? The same goes for the slice of cake for your colleague’s birthday/promotion/baby/new car/retirement. You don’t have to eat that huge slice just to be nice. You can say no or just ask for a smaller portion if it really looks tempting.

8. Avoid eating lunch in front of your desk

One of the biggest mistakes when working in an office is eating lunch at your desk. You won’t be able to decompress from the office environment, and you won’t enjoy your meals as much. Staying in front of the computer means you never really take a break. Whenever the phone rings or you have a new email in your inbox you have the tendency to stop whatever you’re doing and just pick up the phone or read that email. Go out! Take your lunch, leave the office and enjoy a walk outside. You’ll come back refreshed and more productive.

9. Keep moving

Sedentary work can be tough and is not a good ally for a healthy lifestyle. You can still be active at your workplace: for instance, you can take the stairs rather than the elevator to move from one floor to the other or get out of the public transport one or two stops before your destination.

10. Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle, especially for office workers, it can help keep stress levels down and confidence levels up. In addition, regular physical activity is also responsible for a better work-life balance via increased self-efficacy.
Now that September has arrived, it’s the perfect month to start a new challenge and sign up for a gym membership, preferably not too far from your workplace so that you can hit the gym just after work. The couch may seem more enticing but the gym is more fulfilling. Finding a work buddy willing to join you would be ideal so that you can keep your motivation up and enjoy your training more. Having a gym buddy at work will also help you with your nutrition habits: you can share experiences, exchange recipes and possibly inspire other colleagues to follow your example.

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