After eating a few too many cookies yesterday , I’m doing my best to try and reel it in for the next few days. I started with a protein pancake for breakfast:
This one had blueberries mixed in and was topped with sunflower butter. So good!
Since I’m working from home right now, it’s a little bit easier for me to make healthy choices (I work less than five feet away from my kitchen so I can pretty much whip up a homemade meal on a whim). When I was working full time, I put a lot of thought and planning into my meals. I always wanted to be sure to have healthy food options on hand. Sure, I felt a bit like a pack rat showing up to the office with multiple tupperware containers and taking up half of the break room fridge but the effort was worth it to me to stick to my goals. If and when I go back to a more typical working schedule, I fully plan to return to my pack rat ways. Healthy eating with a busy schedule is entirely possible!
Here are a few of my best healthy eating tips for professionals on the go:
Double up at dinner time. You have to make dinner anyway, right? So why not make extra to pack for lunch the next day. When I was working full time, I would get home late from work most nights and barely had the energy to cook up one meal, let alone two, so this little tip was my saving grace. When choosing items for dinner, I would always try and think ahead for the next day. For example, if I was craving a salmon burger with veggies and a sweet potato, instead of cooking just one salmon burger I would make two (they always seem come two in a package and are impossible to separate anyhow). While my veggies and salmon were cooking away, I’d simply throw some mixed greens in a container with a little balsamic vinegar and oil. Then, as soon as everything was finished cooking, I’d top my greens with half of the veggies plus one burger and, voila! In the time it takes to make dinner, I had produced not one healthy meal, but two.
You can bet the salmon burger in the above pic had a buddy destined for the following day’s lunch.
Pack healthy snacks. I don’t know about you but I’m the type of person who pretty much needs to snack all day long. If I had to rely on breakfast and lunch alone to get me through the day I’d never make it. For this reason, when I was working full time, I would often pack multiple snacks to ensure that I never got stuck at work hungry (if I did, it was an emergency situation ). Some of my favorite healthy snack options include: nuts (I love almonds!), fresh and dried fruits (just be sure there’s little or no added sugar or you could be thwarting your healthy efforts) and chopped veggies with hummus (I buy the Trader Joe’s brand).
Bars are another great option for a healthy snack when you’re on the go. Some of my favorites include: LUNA, Clif bars, lara bars and Think Thin. Again, be sure to check the nutrition facts here. I like to go for bars with less than 15 grams of sugar and at least a few grams of fiber. Clif bars tend to be a little higher in sugar and calories, so sometimes just half of one of those bars is plenty for me. That being said, as long as the ingredients are mostly natural, I try not to stress too much over the stats.
Smoothies are one of my all time favorite portable snacks and take virtually no time to prepare on busy mornings – just throw everything in the blender, pour it in a coffee mug and go! I probably packed a smoothie for work every single day for the past two years. Sure my coworkers looked at me a little funny on occasion but I’m pretty sure they were just jealous.
Some of my favorite smoothie combinations:
- 1 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Sunwarrior or your favorite protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, a splash of coffee and 3/4 c almond milk
- 1 c frozen blueberries, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 c almond milk plus a handful of spinach (you can’t even taste it!)
- 1/2 c each frozen mango and pineapple, 1 c coconut milk (plus a little shaved, unsweetened coconut if desired), handful of spinach, a dash of cinnamon (healthy, green and delicious!)
Just say no to office temptations. You’ve packed your meals and snacks and set yourself up for success, now you’re good to go! So why ruin it with a donut from the break room? Office temptations will inevitably be there – birthdays, going away parties and other events come up all the time. I’m not suggesting you should never partake in office treats but just be mindful of your choices. Is it something you truly want? (For me, if freshly baked, homemade cookies or cupcakes were present, then all bets were off, but I’d at least try to share with a friend or stick to one). Then go ahead and have a little and enjoy it! But if you’re eating it just because it’s there then think twice about the bigger picture. Better yet, next time your office puts together a food-related celebration, push to have some healthy options on hand. My guess is many of your coworkers may thank you.
Question: How do you maintain healthy eating habits at work? What’s your biggest challenge?