Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Ways to Help You Eat Healthy at Work

We're trying very hard to change our diet at home.  Trying to get away from prepackaged foods as much as possible and moving to whole foods, organic, and non-processed.  While it's much easier to accomplish this at home, I've set up some steps for myself to accomplish this at work as well.  Right now I have a desk job, but I used to work in the field.  These tips can be adjusted to fit any type of work with just a little brain power and want to.

1.  Set limits and goals - This was the first step for me.  I had to realize what my goal was and what steps I needed to get there.  Offices are notorious for candy dishes, sweet goods for breakfast, monthly birthday cake and ice cream, etc.  My first goal was to limit or eliminate what I partake of in those departments.  In order to do that I had to give myself choices of things to eat instead....things I WANTED to eat.  It doesn't do any good to look longingly at the doughnuts on the table and go back to your desk with a piece of fruit if what you really wanted was the doughnut.  Trust me, you'll end up eating both.  Find things you ENJOY eating, then the doughnut won't look quite so tempting.  Yes, it still takes will power, but not quite as much.  Then, if you just can't take it and indulge anyways, cut the doughnut in half, only get one piece of candy instead of four, or just get ice cream instead of cake AND ice cream.  Don't beat yourself up about it.    Enjoy your little splurge and tell yourself that you can do better next time.  Habits take a while to make, and realizing that will help you to forgive yourself and move on.

2.  Plan ahead - This one takes a little practice.  Once you decide what you want to eat, a little planning goes a long way.  Precut and preportion your veggies and put them in a resealable container for grab-n-go snacks.  Boil half a dozen eggs for quick protein boosters.  Make a big batch of hummus and freeze it in preportioned bags.  When putting dinner away, go ahead and make your lunch plate for the next day.  Little things make a big difference in having the "time" to eat right.

3.  Stock up - I'm thrifty....ok cheap.  I make periodic trips to Big Lots for groceries and stock up on sale items.  Eating organic is expensive.  Heck, eating healthy is expensive.  If I find a shelf stable item that's on sale or at a discount store I stock up.  There are a few things I keep at my desk at all times, so I stock up when I can.  Boxes of soup (we try not to get anything in a tin can), regular oats for my morning oatmeal, nuts, seeds, raisins, protein or snack bars, peanut butter, honey sticks.  By keeping options at my desk (or in the car if I'm traveling), I'm less likely to go out to eat or pick up an unhealthy snack or meal.

4.  Bring leftovers - This one is kind of a no brainer.  It saves money and allows you to know exactly what's in the meal you're eating.  We try to always cook extra so I can bring leftovers the next day, sometimes two days.  We will also make our own freezer meals with leftovers for times when there's nothing in the fridge for me to take to work.  I just grab a freezer meal and I'm off!  Since I already have healthy snacks at work, my day is set.

5.  Snack wise - This one takes some brain power.  I'm constantly trying to think of healthy things I can  snack on at work.  Since I usually bring leftovers for lunch, snacks are my hardest category to fill.  My list of shelf stable items is above under "Stock Up."  Items I bring on a rotational basis include cottage cheese,  Greek or homeade yogurt, veggies & hummus, cheese & fruit, and boiled eggs.  Protein is important for helping you stay full longer, so I try to include some protein with my snacks.

I know some of the items above may sound a little bland or boring, and eating the same thing all the time can get old fast.  Variety is the key to keeping your healthy eating habits alive.  You can view recipes for some of the above items and give you lots of ideas for mixing up that healthy menu here...

I'd love to hear your tips for healthy eating at work.  Do you have any to add to the list?

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