Is it just me, or is the office a perfect place to forget about your healthy diet? What with the stressful and busy long work hours, the complimentary cookies and pastries at the meetings you have to attend, the many places around to eat lunch — and who can ignore the after-three-o’clock stomach growl? It can seem impossible to remain true to your healthy eating habits. Here are my tips to stay on track when you’re hungry, tired and stressed out at work.
Here are my tips to stay on track when you’re hungry, tired and stressed out at work.
Keep your favourite healthy treat stashed
If you know you’re going to a meeting where there will be plenty of cookies, pastries and bottomless coffee pots, be prepared! Limit your caffeine to one or two cups. If you know you’ll be tempted to have a cookie, bring something more healthy to work that you can snack on during a meeting, like non-fat, no-sugar-added fruit yogourt. If you’re not happy on passing up the chocolate chip cookies, bring in some dark chocolate to work as your “lesser of two evils” and healthier treat in place of the cookies.
Stock up on healthy snacks
To save money and calories, instead of going to the cafeteria or vending machine to get a not-so-healthy snack, stock up on non-perishable food items that you can keep at your desk when three o’clock hits and you’re hungry and tired. Brown rice cakes, whole-grain crackers and raw almonds are great options. If you have a lunch box and ice pack to keep your food chilled, bring some yogourt or cottage cheese. Vegetables and dips (my favourites are by Renee’s because they’re made with natural ingredients and are sugar-free) are always healthy options. If you have access to a microwave, you can even bring in frozen bags of edamame (soy beans), which you can steam in the microwave and enjoy as a tasty low-calorie snack. Fruits are delicious and healthy ways to stay full throughout the day. If you don’t have time to cut the fruit you want to eat or prepare snacks the day of, prepare them the night before your workday. You can even take “inventory” of the snacks you have left at the end of each work week so you can keep your stock of healthy goodies full. Keeping these snacks around means you are less likely to wander to the vending machine to buy an over-priced, high-calorie snack that’s probably loaded with sugar.
Keep the H2O supply flowing
Whether you choose to keep a jug or a pack of spring water bottles by your desk, having a supply of water near you makes you more likely to drink more water. Since many times your body might confuse dehydration with hunger, it’s especially important to stay hydrated during the long work hours. Drinking more water throughout the day also means you’re fuller, and being well hydrated helps with energy levels, so the trip to the gym after work doesn’t seem so daunting.
Sweat out the small stuff!
If you do cave in and decide to have the extra slice of pizza at a luncheon, the cookie at a meeting or the chocolate bar because you were too hungry and tired to find something better, don’t sweat it! Instead, sweat it out! Make a rule out of it. For example, if you splurge and have a cookie at the meeting today, spend an extra half-hour at the gym after work to make up for it, or take a walk during your lunch break. Making these little deals with yourself not only keeps you proactive about the meal and snack choices you make, but also encourages more healthy options.