Work, Work, Work (Great now I have the Rihanna song in my head)…
How do I eat well at work? Great question!
I remember when I used to work in an office (I’ve been working at home since 2006 when the company I was working for was acquired) I would go with a friend to the vending machine to get a chocolate bar every day at 3 pm.
It wasn’t because I was hungry. It was a habit I was creating for myself. We are very good at creating habits for ourselves. Many times those habits aren’t serving our bodies well at work.
We need to be at the top of our game at work because let’s face it–work is exhausting. Even if you love your job, it takes a toll on our minds and bodies so we have to make sure that we’re giving it what it needs to be energized throughout the day.
We need to create new habits!
Below you’ll find my top 6 tips for staying on your game when it comes to eating well at work.
1. Make a nutrient-dense breakfast.
Yes I know many of you don’t have time to eat breakfast. You just can’t because you have to leave early, get the kids to day care and then fight traffic or smelly train people to get to work. But a little planning goes a long way!
Pack a portable breakfast the night before work to take with you to eat at your desk.
Ideally you don’t eat at your desk in front of your computer, but this is reality and I know it’s the only option for many people. The key take away here is to make your breakfast count.
- Scrambled eggs, greens and olives
- Protein packed smoothie with a high-quality protein powder, avocado, nut milk, greens and berries
- Overnight oats—great for a grab-and-go breakfast
If we make a solid breakfast it will set us up for the rest of the day. Your blood sugar will be balanced, you won’t be constantly thinking about snacking or lunch and you’ll be able to concentrate better on your work tasks at hand.
2. Keep nutrient-dense snacks at your desk.
No I’m not talking about the drawer full of M&Ms or mini chocolate bars! I remember those drawers. Fill that drawer with food that will stabilize your blood sugar and carry you over from that late meeting until dinner.
- Raw nuts and seeds (small amounts because they will go rancid if left in your desk for too long)
- Homemade granola bars
- Energy balls (homemade are great, but I also love Nomz)
- Dark chocolate (75+% cacao)
- Kale chips (these are great!)
If you have access to a fridge at work bring a smoothie, hardboiled eggs, a high-quality greek yogurt (I like this one), veggies and hummus, or avocado and sea salt.
When we keep these types of snacks at our desk and in the fridge, we’ll be satiated for longer and we’ll be less likely to head to the vending machine at 3 p.m.
3. Bring your lunch.
I talk a lot about using up leftovers on my Instagram page and it’s for a reason:
First we can use up food that we already have in the fridge. There’s no thinking involved when you eat dinner leftovers for lunch because it’s already done for you. Just pack up the leftovers and go to work.
Eating up leftovers helps us stay on track at work especially if there aren’t great restaurant options around your office.
If you have leftovers, eating them saves them from ending up in the landfill. We waste so much food as a society, even the smallest steps help!
4. Look for restaurants around your office that have nutrient-dense lunch options.
Ok you’re not always going to be able to bring your lunch so the next best thing is to go out for lunch at a place you know has food that will serve your body well.
Depending on where you live of course, there is no shortage of great places to eat. I always Google “Best health food restaurants in….” and then name your city, town or neighbourhood. (P.S. I do this while travelling too! Here are more tips on that)
I love places like Freshii because they offer fantastic options for lunch and you can customize your meals to the way you like them.
Another great option if you can’t make your lunch is to have a couple ready-to-go soups or jarred salads in your fridge. Many of the food delivery services like Fresh City Farms have ready-made options or if you have a grocery store near by you can pick up a jarred soup. Just check those ingredients!
5. Get up from your desk.
What does getting up from your desk have to do with eating well at work you ask? It can get our bodies moving and energized and with more energy we’re more apt to make positive decisions when it comes to the food we put into our bodies.
I used to sit at my desk for the entire day. Sure I would get up to go to the washroom and get my lunch, but I would always bring my lunch back to my desk and eat while I worked.
This is a big no-no for optimal digestion. Even if you have an insanely high-stress busy job, you deserve to leave your desk and take a breather at lunch.
Eat away from your phone, and computer, breathe and focus on the food in front of you.
When we eat at our computers or look at our phones while we eat, we tend to eat mindlessly. Ever finish lunch and wonder where the heck it went? That is eating mindlessly. We want to focus on what we’re eating so it can digest properly.
Even if you’re not eating, set the timer on your phone to get up every hour (if you’re drinking water you’ll have to get up anyway!) and move around.
In her book The Hormone Reset Diet, Sara Gottfried writes that simply sitting less can help tremendously with getting our bodies in shape. So get up, walk around, stretch, do some lunges, or pushups and get moving.
6. Drink water and get enough sleep.
Drinking water instead of pop, or coffee–even tea–will help you stay awake and energized all day. If you don’t like the taste of water, add some lemon or mint (mint helps you stay alert!).
Having too much caffeine during the day can increase a hormone called cortisol which can make it harder for us to get to sleep at night. And if we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more apt to grab a sugary item for breakfast which will send you in a downward spiral throughout the day.
So drink more water throughout the day and limit your caffeine (but don’t drink too much water before bed otherwise you’ll be getting up to go to the washroom!).
That’s it for now. Do you have any tips for staying on track and eating well at work?
Photo by Nick Morrison.