Memes like ‘quarantine weight gain’ probably won’t stay with us long after this stay-home period. Some habits, on the other hand, may have permanent consequences. Among many, these include our eating habits.
Working from home may have turned your life upside down, but still, there are many ways to eat right and maintain a healthy life. Let’s figure out a better diet culture together.
Below we’ve assembled 32 of our Top Tips to Eat Right When Working From Home. Feel free to skim or cherry pick whichever ones call to you. Implementing even 2 or 3 of these tips could make a huge difference in your overall health and well-being.
Let’s get started.
1. Work far and away from the kitchen
Having your kitchen right next to your workspace can create a lot of temptation. So, set up your desk away from the kitchen – even on another floor of the house if possible.
Doing that keeps you from waltzing into the kitchen for a quick bite in the middle of a telephone call or between projects.
(And don’t cheat by keeping a drawer full of snacks in your desk!)
2. Plan out your meal times and abide by them
Whether it’s time for a square meal or a quick snack, have everything planned out. Respect your meal times just like you would in the office and avoid the temptation to eat all day.
3. Do not skip meals
This one is for the “go, go, go” types. Once you get into the flow-state of work, it can be hard to get out of your seat and take time for a normal lunch.
The truth is, the longer you stay without eating, the more you fall into the temptation of overeating when you get the time.
4. Don't lose count of your calories
Now that you are living and working so close to your food zone, it’s a good idea to keep track of what you eat and when you eat.
You want to become a mindful remote worker that doesn’t head back to the office several pounds bigger. You can simplify the process with the use of calorie counter apps and websites.
5. Use your breaks to step outside - not into the kitchen
Many remote workers fall into the habit of snacking every chance they get.
If you have that ten or so minutes of break time, go outside and get some sunshine. Talk to your neighbor or do some stretching routines. The activity and change of scenery will help you both physically and mentally.
6. Stock up on fresh food
Strip your pantry of the processed junk foods. Replace the pizzas and chocolates with fruits and vegetables and other real food items.
It’s much easier to make the once a week habit of buying the right food for your health than to battle every day trying not to eat the junk food sitting in your cabinets.
7. Prepare your snacks before work
When you have no time to prepare a snack during the day, it’s going to be very tempting to find some junk or processed foods nearby. But, if you made healthy snacks beforehand, you’re already prepared with something you decided ahead of time would be good for you.
8. Make your kitchen an exciting place to be
You want to be able to prepare your own fresh meals at home, right? The first step is cleaning and organizing your kitchen. You can then go on to stock it with the right food items and food preparation gear.
If your kitchen is a fun and pleasant place to cook, it will help you enjoy cooking your meals.
9. Cook once, eat twice
This tip saves time so you can focus more on work. It saves energy, and most importantly, it keeps your eating habits in check.
You can cook lunchtime meals to consume half at lunch and save the other portion for dinner or the next day. Check out these cook once, eat twice recipes for a start.
10. Work on your cooking skills
It’s not always possible to pop in at restaurants at lunchtime or after work (or even get takeout). That’s why it’s important to empower yourself to make your own delicious food.
If you aren’t already a great cook (most people aren’t), then working on your skills will give you the opportunity to control exactly which ingredients go into your food and how much food is made. Plus, you’ll likely save a lot of money on eating out and have fun in the process.
Help yourself and learn how to cook by researching recipes and reading blogs like this. Or try an online cooking course you can watch on your lunch breaks.
11. Don't buy junk food
Junk food is addictive, so don’t tempt yourself – not even a little. That pack of candy bars you think will last months could easily be eaten in a couple days so why risk it?
Prepare your own fresh foods at home or buy healthy consumables.
12. Don't eat and work
When it’s time to eat, sit down and have a proper meal at a table that is not your work desk.
Working while eating can lead to overeating and weight gain. It also isn’t good for digestion or your overall enjoyment of food. So take a break from work and sit somewhere else to finish your meal.
13. Eat slowly and try eating outdoors
Eating outside gives you a much needed mental break and prevents speed eating. So, if you have some outdoor space in your home, pack your food and go eat outside. It could be the balcony, front lawn or even at the park.
14. Keep hydrating
Don’t forget to drink water! You can even move the water dispenser to your home office if that helps to remind you.
Hydration keeps your metabolism working optimally. Drinking water also fills you up and helps to manage a ravaging appetite.
15. Experiment with a new diet (Mediterranean, Keto, etc.)
You may be isolated at home, but that does not mean that your meals should be bland. Take your taste buds on a trip around the world by experimenting with several exotic recipes.
Don’t worry about the hype or which diet is the “best.” Just use common sense and find something that includes a lot of fresh, healthy food with flavors you’ll enjoy. Avoid extreme diets or fads that would be hard to sustain over the long haul.
16. Limit your sugar consumption
We all know about that sugar rush and how it momentarily spikes our energy levels. With a project deadline coming up, you might be tempted to stay up late munching on sweet items. Or, you might find yourself drawn to eating a lot of addictive sugary snacks during the day.
Don’t buy energy drinks or white sugar. Instead, use honey, maple syrup, and other natural sweeteners. And limit your quantities even of those.
17. Have someone else do the cooking
If both you and your partner are remote-working, share responsibilities so that cooking doesn’t become the source of your workday blues. Or get take-out from a local restaurant (choosing healthy items of course).
You can get a break from the kitchen without having to turn to junk and processed foods. It can be refreshing to enjoy someone else’s cooking as well.
18. Serve in smaller portions
Don’t serve your meals in bigger dishes. We are all psychologically tuned to “clean your plate,” and so a bigger serving could be the trigger needed to start our ravenous appetites.
Serve your food in smaller plates, focusing more on non-starchy vegetables, high fiber carbs and lean proteins.
19. Don't drink coffee after 11 am
This one might be a challenge for some people but coffee can interfere with your sleep cycle in significant ways. When you are not sleeping well, things can quickly start to go awry with your health and work so, if you must drink coffee, contain it just to the mornings.
20. Turn off the TV when you eat
Turning off the TV at meal times will help you eat mindfully, savor the tastes, enjoy your cooking and avoid overeating. It also saves time.
21. Avoid fatty snacks
With the exception of healthy snacks like avocados and almonds, stay away from high fat, usually highly processed, snacks. Most of today’s high fat snacks use unhealthy oils and pack in a lot of calories with very few nutrients. Better to stay away.
22. Watch out on table salt
Another consequence of inattention when cooking or eating is the overuse of table salt. Your salt intake should not be more than 6 g of salt in a day.
23. Eat breakfast at a normal time
Working at home for many people means sleeping-in. When you oversleep and eat breakfast late in the morning, everything else in your meal plan gets messed up.
24. Minimize alcohol consumption
This may sound obvious, but overconsumption of alcohol can quickly lead to overconsumption of unhealthy foods. It can also put a strain on your body by itself when over done. We all know this but still, pay attention.
25. Try smoking food instead of frying it
Smoking adds flavor to food (which minimizes salt consumption) and reduces your fat intake. Try smoking anything (including veggies).
26. Can't finish the veggies on your plate? Don't trash it, freeze it instead
Do this for your vegetables, smoothies, and fruit puddings. It saves money. And the next time you need a snack, you will have something healthy ready.
27. Order pre-cooked meals
Consider ordering prepared meal items days when you are too busy or just too lazy to step into the kitchen. There are a lot of options out there so you might need to do a little research to find which one is the best fit for your tastes and budget.
28. Make salad dressing in bulk
Store-bought dressings often have more fat than is healthy (especially saturated fat). On top of that, they often include sugars and a high number of calories.
You can avoid all that unhealthy-ness by making your dressings every week.
29. It's time to make fermented vegetables
You have probably heard about fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha. Maybe now is the time to try it!
There are plenty of guides on this topic so just do a search on the internet. Fermented foods are good for your digestive health and good for the brain.
30. Stop working at five, go to bed by 10
When you start working into the night, it can mess with your body’s natural timing and many people will use that as a trigger to keep eating into the night. Your body needs that time to rest and take a break from digestion.
So, have respect for your circadian clock and stop working when the hour hand hits 5 pm
31. Go for a walk, a run or talk to friends
Sometimes food cravings come in a rage that is hard to ignore. You can distract yourself by taking a break and getting fit or getting social.
32. Know when it is hunger, when it is thirst and when it is just a craving
When you are busy, it’s often hard to tell these three apart. So, stay alert all day and know when you have to eat, hydrate or manage food cravings.
Wrapping It Up
Working from home comes with many new challenges and consistently eating right is just one of them. But you can learn how to do it. In fact, you have to if you want to live a healthy life and enjoy your work.
So use the above tips to eat right, stay healthy and get things done – even while working from home.
If you want additional ideas about staying healthy when working from home, we also loved this article from Porch.com about developing healthy habits at home.