Do you have an office job that requires you to be seated throughout the day? Do you find it difficult to know what and when to eat at the workplace? Constantly being seated at work has been shown to cause an increase in weight and the development of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Fortunately, with a little planning, making healthy choices in the workplace is definitely achievable. Here are 6 tips we can incorporate to make our workdays healthier!
1. Start the day off with a well–balanced meal
Eating meals that follow the healthy plate model (1/2 vegetables, 1/4 protein, ¼ starchy foods) every 4-6 hours allows us to have the energy and brainpower to get through the day. It also helps prevent overeating and having nighttime cravings.
2. Keep hydrated
We often confuse the sign of thirst as a sign of hunger. Drinking water throughout your shift helps you stay awake and be less tired. Keep a bottle of water or other low fat, low calorie beverages at the office such as unsweetened tea or skim milk. Pay attention to the amount of caffeine you drink; while it does have a temporary effect to give you energy, exceeding 4 cups a day has been shown to have negative effects on health.
3. Pack your snacks the day before!
It is often difficult to find healthy and affordable snacks in vending machines or a nearby convenience store. Having snacks that contain carbohydrates (the main energy source for the brain to function) allows you to make your workday healthier. Some examples include: - Fruit (fresh or dried) and nuts - Low fat cheese and whole grain crackers - Greek yogurt with oats
4. Make healthy choices at restaurants
You might be running low on time and have no choice but to buy food at a restaurant or work cafeteria. Do not fret! Here are some examples of how we can make conscious choices on the go:
- Choose a salad instead of fries as a side dish
- Order the individual food item as opposed to the trio
- Choose pizzas or wraps that are filled with vegetables
- Select baked or grilled menu items, instead of the fried version
- Ask for the smaller plate to control the portion sizes
5. Savor your food
Eat slowly and take advantage of each bite. We are less likely to overeat when we eat consciously and without any distractions, so try to eat sans screens.
6. Incorporate some physical activity!
Finding small moments during your workday to keep active goes a long way. Whether it be taking a break to stretch your legs, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or joining the gym that’s on the same block as your office, small steps go a long way!