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Nutrition Tips to Stay on Track at Work

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Hannah Osterndorf, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian Lead, Weight Management Clinic

It’s easy to fall back into bad habits — especially if you are stressed at work. There are four keys to keeping those healthy resolutions while you are on the clock.

1. Choose smart foods to keep you energized

  • Keep some nutritious, light foods in your desk/locker/fridge/car for those days where you have limited or no time to eat.
  • Pack protein and fiber-filled snacks — see snack and meal ideas below.

2. Stay hydrated

  • Go for water, herbal teas or beverages with less 10 calories.
  • Avoid caffeine — it can stay in your system for hours.

3. Be mindful

  • Address your hunger with a nutritious snack — not the mindless or emotional desire to eat.
  • Consume fluids or go for a walk to keep you awake.
  • Take a short mental break to refresh and prevent mindless grazing.

4. Get active

  • Go for a walk in the hallway or stairs.
  • Do squats or lunges.
  • Use a standing desk or a place to stand while working.
  • Take the “long” way to the bathroom.

To avoid making unhealthy food decisions (raiding the vending machine), you need to plan ahead. Here are some simple tips to make it easier:

Meal and snack ideas

  • Stay on top of your hunger. Focus on protein (chicken, beef, fish, eggs, cheese and beans) and fiber (vegetables, fruit and whole grains). Skipping meals can lead to overeating later.
  • Keep portion sizes mind. Half of your meal should be non-starchy vegetables. Split the other half between lean protein and fruit or starch, or a serving of dairy.

Meal planning tips

  1. Make a list for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas to help create a menu.
  2. Make a list of what you already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer.
  3. Create a list for what else you need from the store and stick to it when you shop.
  4. Establish when you will do your weekly planning and grocery shopping. Better yet, schedule regular online deliveries to your home to avoid impulse buys.
  5. On weekends or days off, start your meal prep.
  6. Make double or triple portions to last you through the week.
  7. Use the main-meal leftovers as the next day’s light meal.
  8. Freeze extras in one-meal portions.

Menu ideas

1. Breakfast

  • Overnight oats
  • Omelet in a mug
  • Open-faced breakfast sandwich
  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Whole wheat toast and string cheese

2. Lunch

  • Salad in a jar
  • Turkey pita
  • Grab-and-go tacos
  • Packet of tuna with crackers and veggies
  • Leftovers

3. Dinner

  • Stuffed peppers
  • Stir fry
  • Kabobs
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Pressure cooker meals

4. Snacks

  • Fresh fruit — apples, bananas, oranges, grapes
  • Cut up fresh vegetables
  • String cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Beef jerky
  • Packets of tuna
  • Deli meat
  • Individual-sized meals
  • Frozen veggies
  • 2 Tbsp. almonds or other nuts
  • Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Sugar free JELL-O
  • Items from the salad bar at the grocery store