Eating well doesn’t just satisfy hunger. It’s one of the most basic and essential forms of self-care. At this time of COVID-19, a healthy diet can also protect you by strengthening your immune system.
Balanced, healthy meals energize and nourish the body, and can even provide positive mental health effects. With many of us spending our days working remotely, now is the perfect time to try some new, healthy recipes at home.
A healthy re imagining of your diet is a worthy culinary adventure — a new spin on date nights and virtual parties, or even simply a reward for making it through the day. Plus, if you’re dreading the quarantine 15 (or 25) from over-snacking and a lot less exercise, eating healthy can help you stay on track for your fitness goals while working remotely.
Struggling to get healthy bites in between work? Try these tips for eating well and maintaining a healthy diet while working from home:
1. Establish a Schedule
With lines between work and home blurred, it’s harder to follow a normal schedule. A lot of us are working longer hours, unable to go offline and unplug because the dining table is also the office table, and the work computer just within reach. It’s no surprise, then, that many are missing regular and healthy meals.
Make an effort to follow an eating schedule, and get regular, healthy bites in, while taking a break. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as you normally would in pre-COVID times. Try to stick to a fixed time to avoid missing meals, and ensure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet. And because you’re just steps away from the kitchen, you can even try healthy new recipes after regular work hours.
2. Don’t Skip Breakfast
You know what they say about breakfast — it’s the most important meal of the day. So why are many of us guilty of skipping it?
Even before working remotely, a lot of people dash off to work with only coffee, and on good days, a few bites in. And without the morning rush ahead, others are simply waking up and walking over to their at-home workstation — a trade-off for catching extra zzz’s.
But breakfast isn’t just another meal, or an errand that will slow you down. Skipping the first — and most important — meal of the day doesn’t actually help you get right to your tasks and work smoothly. If you’re running late to your virtual morning huddle, you can forego a heavy breakfast. Even a serving of fruit, salad, or oatmeal is good, and will provide you with the energy boost you need to start your day right.
3. Don’t Work Near or in the Kitchen
One of the challenges of working from home is the lack of space for a decent workstation. Not all of us have a home office, so the kitchen — complete with a table and chair — is often the default set-up. But did you know that working in or near the kitchen isn’t the smartest way to maintain healthy eating habits?
Working in the kitchen puts you much closer to food. That easy access is often the culprit of excess snacking. And while healthy snacks are good, there’s a good chance you also have a stash of junk food that’s just within reach. Instead, try setting up your workspace in the living room or even your bedroom, rather than in the kitchen.
4. Prepare Healthy Meals
It can be hard to find time to cook a hearty meal in between long hours of work. It’s why take-out and pre-prepared meals are so popular. But often, these are unhealthy, and lack the essential nutrients you need.
Instead, you can get the best of both hassle-free meal prep and a healthy diet. Meal kits are becoming an incredibly popular alternative to both home-cooking and fast-food take-out. From veggies, to rice bowls, pasta, and meats, there’s a meal kit for every craving and diet. Popular meal kit retailers like HelloFresh will deliver your next healthy meals straight to your doorstep. All you have to do is simply order online, and enjoy a delicious and healthy bite every time.
5. Keep Healthy Snacks Ready
Can’t stop snacking? Healthy snacks are guilt-free; it’s junk food to blame for falling behind on fitness goals. Stock up on healthy snacks to quell your hunger pangs in between meals, and boost your energy to get through mad Mondays or the mid-week slump.
Tired of the same fruits, cheese, and crackers combo? Up your snacking game with these perfect pairs and creative treats:
- Fruit smoothies
- Apple with almond butter
- Pear and cheese
- Celery with peanut butter
- Homemade popcorns
- Baked sweet potato fries.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
When you’re engrossed in your work, it’s easy to forget the basics, like staying hydrated. Going too long without a glass of water can cause dehydration, resulting in headaches and tiredness. Over time, these only make it harder to focus, and your productivity suffers.
To make it easier to remember to drink water, keep water bottles at your work desk. Remember that the standard 8 to 10 glasses of water our bodies need depends on your level of activity and what you eat during the day. Pay attention to your body, and drink water the moment you feel thirsty.
7. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
For most people, coffee is a sacred morning ritual: it’s impossible to start the day without their morning cup. But just as a warm cup wakes you up — especially on cold, snooze-worthy mornings — it’s also keeping you up longer than necessary. By the time it kicks in, too much caffeine can cause anxiety, which affects your productivity.
Try to curb your coffee habit to one or two small cups — and only in the morning. Reducing caffeine intake can help you sleep better at night, so you can wake up bright and early feeling refreshed and ready to take on another day at work.
8. Recognize Your Hunger Signs
It’s easy to forget to listen to your body when you’re busy, causing you to miss regular mealtimes. By the time you catch a break, you’re already too hungry. That void in your stomach demands to be filled, which tends to lead to overeating, as well as fatigue.
Regular mealtimes are recommended for a reason: think of these as checkpoints reminding you that you’ve burned through the nutrients of the previous meal, and need to replenish in order to keep going. Avoid overeating and fatigue by recognizing when you’re hungry, so you can make time to eat.
Don’t wait to hear your stomach growl or rumble. Pay attention to these other common signs of hunger — and take them as your cue to slow down and fill up:
- Being less alert
- Lower productivity
- Feeling irritable — or “hangry”.
In many cases, these feelings or sensations not only indicate hunger, but also running low on certain nutrients. Replenish essential nutrients with balanced, regular meals. Get the energy boost you need to nourish both body and mind — especially on your toughest days.
9. Don’t Buy Junk Food
With healthy snacks on the horizon, it’s time to toss the junk. Having junk food within reach will only tempt you to revert back to unhealthy eating habits. Once you’ve cleared the pantry, the best thing to do is not to buy any junk food at all. Instead, save space on your grocery list for healthy snack options — and stick to the list.
Find the Joy in Enjoy Eating
Remember that at the end of the day, eating is fun — a hearty meal is the perfect way to start your day, or the best reward after long hours at work. Good food is both healthy and delicious: you don’t have to choose between the two, because you can get all the flavours you love and nutrients you need.
Focus on the positive impact of a healthy diet, rather than negative thoughts — like missing your take-out or junk food. Treat your body right by nourishing it with healthy habits, and it will love you back and reward you with boundless energy to take on the next day. Your mind will also be at peace knowing that you are living a healthy, positive lifestyle.
Even nearly a year in, working from home can still be challenging. It pays to be mindful of your body, so you can achieve a work-life balance. With the kitchen just a few feet away, you have more time to eat better, and whip up healthy and delicious recipes. A healthy diet helps with fatigue and anxiety, so you can be more productive during the day, and well-rested at night. Give these tips a try to adopt healthy office habits at home.