Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. You can attend a conference call in your jammy-jams, choose your own laptop-friendly work venue and keep your fur babies company all day. But it can also mean less social interaction, not leaving the house for days and a confused boundary between work and home life. This can affect both physical and mental health—unless we face these challenges head-on.
One especially difficult aspect of working from home is finding a groove with eating the right food at the right times. Hours can go by before remembering you haven’t consumed anything but coffee. And there’s also the trap of endless access to the pantry equating to all-day mindless snacking. Finding a healthy balance can be rough. But rough paths can be conquered. Here are some ideas to start and maintain healthy eating habits from your home office.
1) Meal prep as if you’re leaving the house for the day
If you were commuting to work, you’d more than likely be bringing along a packed lunch and enough snacks to get you through the work day. If you’re finding yourself scratching your head in front of an open refrigerator every day at home, why not do the same thing? Take some time over the weekend to plan some big batch meals (think soups, wraps, stir-frys, pastas, enchiladas, etc) and then portion them out into Tupperware as if you were going to haul them off to the office each day. Knowing you have lunch prepared and waiting can help to streamline your day.
2) Set alarms for meal times
At most work settings there are designated times for employees to take a lunch break. Working from home? Not so much. Often people will have to remind themselves to take a break, which may happen at completely different times throughout the work week. To address this issue, take a look at your week ahead and schedule alarms in your phone to signal it is time to eat and take a breather. And then, most importantly, don’t snooze the alarm! Go eat!
3) Portion out snacks ahead of time
Bring a full-sized bag of chips into your cubicle to nosh on and you might have a few curious stares from co-workers. But, if you’re working from your home office nook, who is there to judge? It can be easy to find ourselves mindlessly snacking whenever we get into a groove, but not so great for our appetite and health. Get back on track by portioning out healthy snacks ahead of time.
4) Schedule lunch dates with friends
Working from home doesn’t mean you always have to eat there. Get out of the house once in a while for a much-deserved break. This could be in the form of a lunch date with friends, a solo picnic in the park or a walking lunch with a sandwich and your pup. One of the biggest attractions of working this way is that you can change up your venues—and this means for break times, too.
5) Find easy dishes that are customizable
Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you’re not busy! And you probably don’t have time for endless recipe searches and experimentation. In that case, find some easy and enjoyable dishes that can be customized every week so your taste buds are kept on their toes. Have a basic overnight oats recipe on hand? Great! Throw in some cinnamon & agave syrup one day and walnuts & blueberries the next. Make a big pot of brown rice to customize with baked tofu and stir-fried veggies for the beginning of the week and cumin-spiced black beans for the end of the week. Get creative using just a few staple ingredients. Un-complicate your lunch and you will un-complicate your life.