How to eat healthier at work
The majority of us spend a good chunk of our time at work, so it's reasonable to assume that most of us eat a few of our daily meals there too. However, despite all our good intentions, the workplace can often be a healthy eating disaster zone. With client lunches out or in-house catering, as well as the giant cakes that take over the office kitchen every time someone has a birthday, it's hard to resist temptation and make healthy nutrition choices.
These are a few of my strategies for trying to remain on track and not overindulge during the working week:
1. Be prepared! The most fail-safe way to ensure that you're eating nutritious food that supports your health and fitness goals, is to prepare your own meals in advance. On a Sunday afternoon before the working week starts, I like to cook a few simple meals that will keep me going for two to three days, and then I repeat this process one day midweek. This way I'm far less likely to be swayed by convenience foods when I get the midday munchies. Big pot dishes are a great idea, as you can cook up enough for several servings, portion into individual containers and keep in the fridge or freezer.
2. Didn't have time to prep? Got to grab something quick? Rather than reaching for a pre-made sandwich, why not try a freshly made salad? There are several great eateries in Bermuda that will freshly prepare a salad for you in minutes. The beauty of this is you can choose the exact ingredients and see what goes into your lunch. Go for a colourful salad for maximum nutrient benefits and fill it with veggies first, then be sure to add some protein — chicken, tuna, salmon, egg and chickpeas are all great protein sources. If you're watching your calorie intake, ask for the dressing on the side so that you can control the amount you consume, or ask the chef to drizzle with just vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
4. Dining out? There are definitely some options on the menu that will be healthier than others. Look for leaner cuts of meat or fish and enquire if the dish comes with vegetables or a salad, if not, order one on the side. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side too. Avoid having too many starchy carbs at lunch — pass on that massive bowl of pasta, maybe skip the risotto — especially if you have a busy afternoon back at your desk. Whilst carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet, too many around midday can cause your blood sugar levels to spike then rapidly fall around midafternoon, leaving you more in the mood for a snooze than action.
3. Snack smarter. Just like your meals, think ahead and prepare snacks. Have a few on standby at your desk to graze on, rather than walking zombie like to the nearest vending machine for a sugar laden candy bar. Pieces of fruit, low sugar granola or protein bars, a 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, rice cakes and nut butters are all things that can be stashed easily in a drawer.
4. So how do I avoid the birthday cake ...?! It's a good question, and there really isn't a simple answer. I'm no saint myself, and if you go parading a Molly cake in front of me I will likely cave in and devour the whole thing! Having the willpower to say ‘no' to these kind of temptations can be difficult as we want to celebrate with our colleagues, but we also want to stay focused on our own health goals. A little cake every now and again isn't going to cause any major setbacks, so relax (you can eat your cake too!) But just a suggestion for next time it's your turn to bring in the sweet treats. How about sharing some good quality gourmet dark chocolates or why not bring in mini-cupcakes, the portion sizes of these are much smaller, meaning you and your team will be less likely to overindulge?
Becky Wright is a qualified personal trainer, nutritional therapist and international bikini fitness champion. She has worked with various clients worldwide, including royalty. Becky works at Alchemy Fitness: www.alchemy.bm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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