For some of us, it feels like we live at work. Monday through Friday our jobs can consume us and we find ourselves at the mercy of food available in vending machines, cafeteria’s conference rooms, or whatever nearby take-out or restaurant venues are in close proximity. Stressful workdays, bagel Wednesday and coworker celebration cakes can often seem like a regular occurrence that can threaten your healthy eating habits.
If you experience stress and worry at your job, that already threatens your health. Lets not allow the workplace to take away from the progress you have made in healthy eating. Though healthier options are starting to make themselves present in workplace cafeterias and vending machines, stress can sometimes gear your decision making instead of the healthy mindset and hunger cues that you know you can rely on.
Here are some strategies to stay on track at work:
- Take Control: Though the thought of a brown-bag lunch may conjure up images of grade school, packing your own snacks and lunch to have throughout the day will keep you satiated and in control of what you are eating. If you are satisfied with the food you bring, you are less likely to head to the vending machine. Packing your own food doesn’t have to take long, and once you start doing it every day, it will become a part of your routine.
- In-House Eating: If the time comes where you didn’t pack enough snacks or didn’t have time to make lunch, you are well equipped to make choices at the cafeteria and vending machines. Center your choices on whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Check serving sizes on vending machine fare to make sure the packages are in fact one serving. If your healthy choices are limited, eat enough to feel you’ve satisfied your hunger and then stop. Everything can fit when moderating, so don’t feel like you have ruined your day if your cafeteria lunch is not as healthy as you had hoped for.
- Out to Lunch: It is not uncommon to have lunch meetings at local eateries. Try and order a non-caloric beverage like seltzer, unsweetened tea or water with lemon to avoid excess lunch time calories from sweetened or alcoholic beverages. Check with yourself mid-meal and stop when you had enough. Have it wrapped up to go and bring it for lunch tomorrow.
- Take a Breath: A stressful work day can cloud your judgment when it comes to healthy food choices. Remember to take a breath before taking a bite of that chocolate. Do you really want that piece of chocolate? Or are you just eating it because you got reprimanded by your boss? Let the answers to those questions guide your choices rather than impulse and stress.
Be proud of the work you do at your job as well as your ability to live a healthy lifestyle while you work!
Your turn to take action: What healthy habits will you practice during your workday?