The first step to a healthier lifestyle has to do with what you fuel your body with. It is impossible to be healthy when you eat an unhealthy diet. A healthy diet not only makes you feel better and look better, but also prevents illness, slows aging and increased longevity.
The times when people tend to slip up on their healthy eating habits the most is when they are out of their home and may not have as much control over what is available to eat. These situations often occur when you go out with friends but there is one other place that unhealthy eating habits are common: the workplace.
It is easy to eat an unhealthy diet while at work for a number of different reasons. You may be stressed and thus not feel hungry so you end up snacking on junk food. You are busy and lack in energy, so you consume coffee or energy drinks. You may also fill up on heavily processed lunches in the work cafeteria or restaurants near your job instead of bringing your lunch from home. Have no fear workers of America! There are many ways you can teach yourself to avoid unhealthy workplace diet habits but there are 4 introductory ones you should consider.
- Make Your Lunch the Night Before and Bring it to Work
One of the most unhealthy workplace eating habits is actually not eating. Many employees feel stressed, overwhelmed and are just so busy that they often put lunch on the back burner or skip it altogether. Not eating will cause your energy and blood sugar to plummet and your mind to have difficulty focusing. This can also negatively affect your immune system and eventually cause more stress. Sometimes you might be so busy you honestly just forget to eat. Thankfully, there is one easy fix to these problems: bring your own lunch.
When you have a pre-made lunch you have no excuse to not eat. Bringing your own lunch has so many benefits, including:
- Total control over portion sizes
- Foods that are appropriate to the diet/plan you follow
- Variety and creativity
- Ensure you consume the nutrients you need to get through the day
The most common excuse for not bringing your own lunch is the lack of time to prepare it. There is no doubt most people rush in the morning before work, especially if they have a family with children. The secret to bringing lunches every day is to prepare them the night before. After dinner put together your lunch for the next day and leave it in the fridge/cabinet. Come morning, just grab your bag and go. Can’t pre-prep everything in your lunch? Even prepping some of your workplace meals will save time.
- Pack Filling, Energy-Boosting Snacks to Prevent Overeating of Employee-Brought Treats
Snacks aren’t just for kids. Snacking, when you choose proper snacks and eat in moderation, are all part of healthy eating. If you work at an office where employees often bring snacks to share, you diet can really take a beating. (Not to mention the vending machines full of junk food) These employee-brought snacks generally aren’t the healthiest. Cookies, donuts brownies and pastries are often really popular around the holidays and it can be so tempting to partake in excess when a plate of delicious sweets are right there in front of you.
Now, if a coworker brings snacks, you don’t need to avoid it altogether. There is nothing wrong with having one cookie or a small slice of cake every once in a while. The trick to avoiding overeating is a combination of self-control and having your own healthy snacks to eat. Most people crave either something sweet or salty. Be sure you have healthy snacks on hand for whichever one you prefer so indulge the craving is a good way while also giving you an energy boost (things like fruit, nuts, etc).
- During Lunch, Move Away From Your Desk to a Different Location
This might seem unusual at first but eating away from your desk is a great way to avoid the unhealthy habit of overeating. Not only is it mentally draining to be at your desk the entire time you’re at work but it also increases the chances of you overeating.
Consider how easy it is to graze on food when you are in front of a TV. Most people would never eat as much as they do if they sat at a table and focused on their food while they ate. The same goes for people at work. A desk can be a very distracting thing, especially since majority of them will have computers. It is very easy to trick yourself into thinking you can eat lunch and do more work. Sounds like a win-win but it rarely happens that way. Instead you will very likely get distracted and eat more than you need to.
- Use Your Break Times to Take a Walk
Walking might not seem to have a lot to do with healthy eating but it actually does help prevent unhealthy eating habits. People who overeat at work will generally do so when they have a break. Instead of sitting at their desk they’ll take a visit to the break room for something unhealthy to munch on or will go to a vending machine. This is so easy to do but can be avoided by doing something active during your free time.
Taking a 5-10 minute walk will not only prevent overeating by distraction but will also wake up your body, reducing your temptation to drink another cup of coffee or eat something sweet. If you don’t have the option to leave your office you can still do something active like a quick in-office workout. Doing something active during your break is a win-win situation: you will promote healthier eating habits while also getting in precious exercise.
The workplace doesn’t have to be a diet danger zone. Eating healthy is more important than every when you work as it will directly impact your productivity by increasing your energy naturally and helping you focus. Implement one of these 4 tips your next work day and see the difference it can make in just a week’s time.