Since the start of the pandemic, many of us are now working from home full-time or more regularly and so keeping our nutrition (particularly snacking) in check can be tough. Unlike at the office or workplace, one major work-from-home distraction continues to be the fridge.
Here are some tips on how to eat more healthily and avoid those cravings for snacks while working from home:
Don’t work in the kitchen (if at all possible). The closer you are to the kitchen the more tempting it is to wander over and check the fridge.
Tune into your hunger cues. Before you start eating, you should consider whether you are actually hungry before you dive into the biscuit jar without a second thought. Can you hear your tummy rumbling? Do you have an empty feeling in your stomach? Are you feeling true hunger pangs? If the answer is no – get stuck into something else to distract you, drink a big glass of water or at least get a healthy snack. Also – go for a quick walk or do 15 minutes of light exercise.
Plan out your snack and meal times, just as you would plan out the rest of your day, also plan out when you’re going to eat. If this is hard to follow, hang a sign on your fridge to help remind you that the kitchen is ‘closed’ until your next scheduled meal or snack.
Meal prep – one of the beauties of working from home is being able to whip up whatever you want to eat for lunch but for some this can be a bit daunting and results in eating something not so healthy. So prepare meals and healthy snacks even, have them laid out and it will be an easier choice if all the work is already done for you.
Focus on real food – Focus on protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits and veggies to help you feel fuller longer and help you be more productive throughout the day. Quick sugary snacks don’t provide long term energy.
Drink plenty of water – I know we all get fed up of hearing this advice, but dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, and sometimes hunger can be mistaken for thirst. Just as you would fill up your water bottle at the office – continue this habit at home too. Convert your body weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2. Aim to drink that number in ounces of water each day.
Don’t buy unhealthy snacks – If you struggle with discipline – try not having junk food in your home in the first place, then you won’t eat it. Instead stock up on healthy snacks such as yogurt, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables or make some healthy snacks – there are loads of great recipes for energy type snacks online.
When you eat, just eat – Being distracted during a meal can lead to overeating, instead take a break from work and sit down at a table to enjoy your lunch and relax for a few minutes. (Do not eat in front of the computer whilst working!!!) Focus on your food.
To save yourself from grazing all day long, it will pay to stick to the same routine you have when you’re in the office – eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day, and have just one or two healthy snacks between main meals.
Exercise – Although exercising can sometimes make you feel hungry, it will also release endorphins, making you feel happier and this in turn can help to prevent you reaching for crisps or chocolate. Build some sort of exercise you like doing into every day, and then eat something healthy as soon as you can afterwards. You will find that regular exercise usually leads to healthy eating habits.
Cut yourself some slack. It’s been difficult for lots of people adjusting to working from home – so don’t be too hard on yourself and if you do overeat one day – or snack too much – forget about it – move on and be even more determined to stick to it the next day. Overeating only becomes a problem when it happens regularly – so if you find yourself in that situation more often than not, it might be time to get some help.
Don’t make working from home an excuse for poor eating habits. Instead, make it an opportunity to reset your diet and feel good about what you’re eating!
Try these tips in the lead up to Christmas, when we all over-indulge somewhat, so that they become habitual ready for the new year.