How to Eat Healthy at Work

Last updated on June 29th, 2020

By Jamie Shin

The workplace can be a tough place to eat right if you don’t plan ahead. Vending machines, free snacks, team lunch breaks, and work celebrations are often ingrained in company culture and make it hard to stick to healthy eating at work. It’s even harder when you have a full, stressful day of tasks on your plate, a bloodstream buzzing with caffeine, and a hankering for something convenient and tasty to reward yourself for a job well done. 

We hear you! We’ve all been there before, and that’s why we’re here to give you our best tips for eating healthy at work

Tip #1 Make Wise Breakfast Choices

You’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there’s a lot of truth to the statement. Your first meal of the day jumpstarts your metabolism and helps your body burn calories more efficiently during the rest of the workday. 

A protein-rich breakfast, in particular, energizes you and helps you to be more productive. So instead of reaching for your favorite sugary cereal before you head to work, opt for some eggs and whole-grain toast. According to Rush University Medical Center, protein and complex carbohydrates will give you steady energy and help you power through the morning.

Tip #2 Drink More Water Throughout the Day

We’re all familiar with the afternoon brain fog that comes around 2 or 3 PM, and most people respond to it by pouring themselves a fourth cup of coffee or reaching for a caffeinated soda for energy. But the best thing to do when you feel the afternoon slump setting in is to drink more water. Caffeine is actually quite dehydrating whereas water replenishes your body and delivers essential nutrients to the brain, removing toxins and increasing your mental acuity.

Tip #3 Practice Saying No to Office Indulgences

It seems like sugary confections are always finding their way into the office, whether due to a holiday, a birthday, the achievement of a goal, or a coworker who just loves to bake. You might temporarily feel like you’re missing out when you decline that giant cookie, but it gets a little easier each time you politely decline, and you’ll slowly gain confidence in your ability to exercise self-control.

Tip #4: Pack Mouth-watering Snacks and Lunches in Advance

Healthy lunches shouldn’t be bland and boring; you’re less likely to eat what you brought when it doesn’t entice you. (How many times have you left your lunch uneaten in the fridge for the next day because the takeaway your teammates got sounded better?) It’s easier to say no to unhealthy food in the office when you know you have something tasty AND healthy waiting for you in the refrigerator that you can’t wait to eat. 

Come up with a meal plan for your week by considering all of your favorite healthy foods and how you can incorporate them into your lunches. If you regularly crave sweetness, for example, cut up an apple for your lunch (or another fruit you love) and bring peanut butter to dip it in. When you’re feeling snacky, bring some crisp veggies, nuts, or crunchy kettle corn to munch on to keep your brain awake. Once you’re ready for something savory and filling to dig into for lunch, prepare something like marinated grilled chicken over brown rice with a colorful, well-seasoned salad on the side along with your favorite salad dressing.

Tip #5: Bring a Lunch Container that Keeps Your Food Tasty and Fresh

The microwave can totally ruin the texture of your food, turning your perfectly cooked chicken into a piece of chewy rubber. If you want your food to taste as fresh as when it was cooked, invest in a self-heating lunchbox that slow-cooks your food to perfection by the time you’re ready to eat lunch, and distributes heat evenly without leaving unpleasant hot and cold pockets in your meal.

As you follow these tips, you may find yourself feeling more energized, more productive, and more confident — and your waistline will thank you!

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