You’re on a conference call and somehow wandered into the kitchen. Next thing you now you’re eating crackers and dry cereal out of the box. Or maybe you got so caught up in a project that you suddenly realize you haven’t eaten a thing all day. Or perhaps the “I’ll just have a handful of chips as I work” mentality turned into accidentally eating the entire bag.
Keeping your nutrition in check can be tough when your home is your office. You feel comfortable and there’s plenty of food available. Unlike in the office, you’re free to graze all day and the fridge is all yours; but this habit can wreak havoc on your waistline and halt your productivity.
Here are ten tips to eating healthy while you WFH:
1. Don’t work in or near the kitchen. Try to set up a desk in an area that’s not near the kitchen. You might be tempted to wander over and check the fridge if it’s constantly in your line of vision. Only go into your kitchen during the workday for planned snacks and/or meals.
2. Plan your snack and meal times. Just as you schedule and plan your day (get up, work out, shower, etc), establish when throughout the day you’re going to eat. If you know you like to eat lunch around noon, plan for that. And if you’d like to have a snack in the late afternoon, plan for that too.
3. Make sure you actually eat. Once you actually start working, it can be hard to take a break to actually eat, but it’s important to know your hunger signs and realize that not eating can affect your alertness and productivity. If needed, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and eat something.
4. Meal prep your lunches. There’s something freeing about being able to whip up whatever you’d like for lunch, but for some, it can be an additional source of anxiety. If you can, try to meal prep your lunch just like you would if you were physically going into work.
5. Focus on real food. Balanced, nutritious food makes us more productive. It keeps us fuller longer and helps us focus. Understand that what you eat will impact your mood and energy level. Focus on protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
6. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, which are both not good for your productivity. Just as you’d fill up a water bottle at work, keep water next to your work station at home too.
7. Be careful of too much caffeine. Having access to endless cups of coffee might seem like a great idea, but tread carefully when it comes to caffeine. Too much is known to cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues and even fatigue.
8. Don’t buy junk food. Don’t stock your fridge or pantry like a vending machine. This can lead to eating just because you can! Try your best to keep junk food out of your house, especially food that you know can trigger a binge for you. Out of sight, out of mind.
9. When you eat, just eat. You might be tempted to continue working through your lunch break now that your co-workers aren’t physically there, but don’t do it! Being distracted during a meal can lead to over-eating and decreased satiety (satisfaction) from the meal.
10. Portion out snacks and meals before eating. Never eatout of the bag or original container because it’s much harder to control portions that way. Check the serving size on the container if you need extra guidance.
Source: RallyHealth.com; Staff Cleveland Clinic; April 7, 2020.