When you think about it, it makes absolutely no sense that we tend to pay less attention to healthy eating when we’re super busy and rocking it out at the office for more hours in a day than we quite possibly should be. In fact, beyond even eating healthy foods, statistics now say that 1 out of 10 workers don’t even take a lunch break, and of the rest who do take one, most only take 45 minutes.
Healthy Eating Habits
So, let’s break this down. To really provide our bodies and minds with the food it needs to ensure our work is top quality, first we need healthy eating habits, and second, we need good, healthy food options to eat.
Healthy eating involves three meals and two snacks. You can’t properly fuel yourself throughout a day without at least three solid meals. You can go a little lighter on the breakfast side if you aren’t naturally hungry in the morning, but you do need something. It’s what kick starts your metabolism, breaks the fast (breakfast) from the night before, and gets you charged and ready to roll into your day.
Get away from your desk whenever possible. The reason for this is simply that the desk is so distracting (computer, papers, files, phone, etc.), and healthy eating just doesn’t involve distractions. Distractions leads to mindless eating, which usually ends in overeating. Focus on your food while you’re eating, and then quit focusing on it when you’re done and get back to work, simple as that. Also, in case you’re not sold on eating elsewhere, according to a PhD professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, Charles Gerba, “The desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times dirtier than the toilet.” Go outside! Get some fresh air. Sit down and eat and then take a quick power walk. You’ll be amazed at what that small combination can do for you all afternoon long.
3. Avoiding Disaster Areas
You must adamantly avoid certain areas like conference rooms stocked with twizzlers and gummy bears and “snack-size” Doritos bags. Duck in and grab your meal from the fridge and duck right back out. Steer clear of vending machines, and if you’re going to enter a meeting where doughnuts shall abound, eat a healthy snack before you set foot in the door.
4. Eat Your Own Food More
Packing your own food ensures that you know just what’s in your food, and probably more importantly, it limits your options. The best of intentions for eating a nutritious, well balanced meal can disappear like the wind when faced with the book-like Cheesecake Factory menu.
Healthy Eating Options
Here are some healthy food options you can use everyday.
1. Cover Your Bases
The food pyramid exists for good reason. Eating one type of food group doesn’t prove fruitful by any means. Don’t go all out protein, or all out carbs because that’s what’s easy or convenient or the newest diet fad. To give your mind the power to think and process, you need: good carbs, proteins and fats. Every day. No exceptions. Now, how you get them and combine them is the fun part! Clearly you can get as creative with cooking as you like, but considering if you’re reading via this site, you’re probably a touch on the busy-not-a-lot-of-personal-time side, so here are some “easy” solutions to cover all bases.
2. Easy Proteins
Always have on hand: lean meats like chicken and turkey. Turkey bacon is great to have occasionally to mix things up and can be used to make a super quick and delicious BLT. Nuts like almonds are a great option because they combine protein, fiber and good fats, but if you buy in bulk, segment them into smart, small packages as soon as they come home with you. If you’re short on time, buy the pre-packaged snack sizes. A handful of nuts is plenty. Other options: black beans (great for whipping up a bean taco); snack sizes of string cheese or cubes; cans of tuna; hardboiled eggs.
3. Easy Carbs
Whole grain anything, everything! The goal is fiber, it makes your body work to break it down and fuels you longer. Think whole wheat slices of bread, whole grain crackers for snacks, a small portion of brown rice, a portion of lentils or beans. You can grab one side of any one of those and get your high-fiber carbs for the day. Soups with high fiber are excellent afternoon snacks. They’re hot, filling, nutritious and take awhile for you to eat, all of which contribute to the feeling of fullness.
4. Easy Produce
Baby carrots, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, a can of green beans, snow peas, you name it. There is absolutely no excuse for not eating your vegetables. With today’s demand for convenience, it’s incredibly easy to grab veggies on the go. If you have time, prep some basic salads in advance, throw some dressing in a container and you can enjoy a fresh salad for lunch every day. Fruits are just as easy, if not even easier. Grapes are easy to eat and not messy. Apples, bananas, they’re all delicious!
5. Easy Sweets
If you can’t get by without an afternoon sweet snack, opt for something like dried fruit (portioned), a small all-fruit smoothie, or my personal favorite: a small cup of yogurt, fresh berries and a sprinkling of granola.
When eating healthier and eating regularly, you’ll notice more constant energy, improved mood, and improved stamina. You’ll begin to think sharper and you’ll wonder how you ever did you work before! Packing lunches and snacks might seem overwhelming, but with just a few staples, it doesn’t have to be. Though you certainly can, you don’t have to pack anything elaborate. Throw in a protein, a couple slices of bread, a baggie of carrots, a cup of yogurt and a cup of berries, and you’re good to go in 3 minutes flat! Enjoy the newer, more awesome you that your work and your health will thank you for! Got any healthy eating tips for us? Share yours in the comments.
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