Does this sound like you? After arriving at work, logging on to email and wading through some 100 messages, you realize you've missed breakfast. Coffee will have to do. Lunchtime comes and goes — and you're still at it, trying frantically to meet a deadline. When you do take a break, finally, you feel compelled to make lunch short — and sweet — by grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine. You wash it down with some more coffee. When the workday is done, you're exhausted. You find yourself steering toward the grocery store to pick up something prepared that will taste good, knowing it isn't very healthy. Tomorrow, you say, you'll do it differently.
How you eat at work influences how you eat at home, and vice versa, and unless you're willing to step back, reevaluate and make a change, you'll stay stuck in an unhealthy cycle. So we're going to yank you out of that cycle — and show you that doing it differently is not only doable, but beneficial.
Commit to a better way
Committing to eating well at work will take some effort and planning, but in the end, your body and mind will thank you. Feeling better about yourself is just a grocery store trip away:
- Shop healthy. Focus on making healthier choices at the grocery store. If you don't know what that means, a simple rule of thumb is to stick to the periphery of the store, where you'll find the healthiest fare. The interior aisles are packed with lots of less healthy options, most of which fall under the processed and convenience food categories.
- Pack your own lunch. Whatever you bring is likely to be healthier than what you'd get at the vending machine or from the local take-out.
- Avoid processed and convenience foods. Instead, choose whole-food options, such as an apple, carrot sticks, cubed cheese, almonds, low-fat dairy and the like.
- Bring healthy snacks. You'll be less tempted to nibble out of your coworker's candy bowl and more inclined to bite into that juicy apple or indulge in that handful of healthy trail mix.
- Talk to a dietitian. There's no shame in being confused or in the dark about what makes for a healthy meal or snack. Schedule an appointment with a dietician who can help you sort the good from the bad, and also, help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
What — and how — you eat at work can positively (or negatively) influence your physical and emotional comfort as well as your productivity on the job. Sure, work is stressful. It seems unavoidable these days. You can temper than stress, however, by fueling up throughout the day with healthful, thoughtful choices, which will help keep guilt at bay and help keep your body and mind alert and sharp.