This is a guest post from Stephanie Fisher at SpinWeb, an Indianapolis-based digital agency. We enjoyed this article and they gave us permission to repost it here on our blog. Enjoy!
March is National Nutrition Month so it is time to put away those Twinkies, cookies, chips and other fatty snacks. Hide them way toward the back of your desk drawer or just throw them out right now. Out of sight, out of mind.
I do enjoy nutritious food, but as a desk jockey and slave to my computer, I know how hard it is to make good choices throughout the day at work; especially when you work in an office environment where treats and parties may abound.
You can turn over a new leaf this March by following the tips below. Hopefully, these new behaviors will become habits and you'll eat healthy through the rest of the year.
1. Prepare Ahead Of Time
One of the challenges with eating at work is that colleagues often invite us out for lunch. The typical lunch is quick, as most of us don't have the time to break away from work for an elaborate meal. Quick food usually means unhealthy food. Lunches at local restaurants are often the fattiest due to a limited menu and the restaurant's desire to make something tasty to please customers. Some eateries don't have a single healthy option on the menu. Sometimes, co-workers will bring in food that they've made at home. Well-meaning people bake sweets to share or order cakes for office birthday parties. Just think of all the cookies, brownies, cakes and other fatty foods that you've devoured at work over the years. Don't give in, at least not all the time!
Yes, group lunches and handouts from co-workers taste delicious, but they'll pack on the pounds. I'm looking at you, Sam and your wicked bags of M&M's!
Instead, prepare your lunch the night before you go to work. This way, you won't be tempted to follow your co-workers to the nearest fast food spot or greasy spoon. You can hold up your lunch and say, “Brought mine!” to prove that you really want to spend time with them but have other plans for lunch. When you pack your lunch, be sure to bring a diverse group of foods. You should have a fresh fruit, a vegetable, some whole grains and lean proteins. If this requires that you bring a small cooler each day, don't hesitate to do so. Always bring a bit more than you anticipate eating during your lunch so that you aren't tempted to sneak vending machine food when you get a hunger pang later on in the day.
2. Get Your Snacking Game On Point
If you don't eat a large breakfast or lunch, it's good to snack on healthy foods throughout the work day. Don't snack on traditional salty and fatty foods like potato chips, pretzels, bagels, french fries and cookies. Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks in small baggies. Keep them in your desk drawers and replenish them on a regular basis. Examples of healthy snacks include low-fat string cheese, whole wheat crackers, granola bars, carrots, fat-free yogurt, tuna, nuts, applesauce, fresh fruits, prunes, and raisins.
I've been wanting to try Nature Box (mostly because they advertise on all the podcasts I listen to). Have any of you tried it? They deliver healthy snacks to your door and you always get to try new things. I love getting packages, so I might try this service out. Let me know if you've tried Nature Box or another service like it, and tell me what you think of it!
3. Drink More Water
Instead of grabbing for food to fill your rumbly tumbly, opt for a glass of water instead. It will fill your tummy and convince your brain that you really are full. This is an extremely helpful way to prevent overeating while on the clock. Bonus: drinking plenty of water is good for your health.
Instead of eating one large meal smack dab in the middle of the day and then waiting until dinner time for another feast, opt for smaller meals spaced throughout the day. This is commonly referred to as grazing. Eat a small breakfast, have a brunch at your desk or in the office cafeteria around 10 or 11 AM and then transition into lunch.
Pro tip: don't eat a hefty lunch thinking that it will tide you over until it is time for dinner. Split your lunch in half. Eat one-half during your normally scheduled lunch hour. Eat the other half in the afternoon. Grazing is fantastic for your body as it supplies a continuous stream of fuel that gives you the energy you need to make it through a long day of meetings and TPS reports.
5. Opt For The Salad
If you are peer pressured into going out to eat for lunch, don't eat fried chicken, pizza or pulled pork just because your co-workers ordered those items. Instead, opt for the perfect salad for lunch. If you are eating at a restaurant that doesn't have a salad on the lunch menu, ask the waiter if the kitchen can prepare one special for you. Most restaurants will be happy to oblige.
6. Don't Eat At Your Desk
Don't try to eat at your desk while you work (OK, yes... I do this sometimes). Eating while working is a recipe for disaster. Just think of how many times you've mindlessly eaten while focusing on something else. Never eat your lunch at your desk (I'm talking to myself here).
Eat in the break room, cafeteria or even in your car. If you're lucky enough to work in a ROWE like we at SpinWeb, you can even eat leftovers in the comfort of your home and then take a quick nap.
What are your healthy eating tips? Do you pack a lunch every day, or eat out at restaurants? Share your secrets in the comments below. This is a safe space and we won't judge.