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We spend a large amount of time working. Keeping healthy eating habits is not always possible – we are in constant meetings, we don’t have time to sit down and eat a meal OR we are continuously in lunch meetings where healthy choices are not available.
For those who are working remotely, this could also be an issue as we are often too close to the fridge and ‘snacking’ on whatever we can lay our hands on throughout the day is becoming a nasty habit. Taking care of yourself, your energy levels and your appetite during work hours takes time, planning and effort.
How do we ensure that we keep to healthy meal choices throughout the day, whether we work remotely or in the office? Whether we are working remotely or in an office should not matter. Let us have a look at some activities we can include in our daily routine to ensure that we keep our eating habits controlled and healthy.
Plan your lunch according to your daily meal plan. Plan from the moment you buy ingredients to the food you wish to pack for lunch. And again, working remotely does not mean that you do not pack your lunch. It will keep you disciplined in the routine of eating from the packed lunch and not the other possible options available in the fridge (the mindless eating options, where you think you are only going to eat 3 – 5 grapes but then you do that every time you open the fridge door and before you know it there are only 3-5 grapes left in the punnet…).
It may sound odd but having the right container for the meals we wish to pack for the workday might just assist in our choices. Containers that can keep food warm once heated (those lovely winter soups and stews) to the exact sandwich-size container. This could avoid the disappointments of opening up a lunch box and the soup messing all over the fruit and you just give up and decide to rather order from the local fast food delivery services.
Pack your lunch options for the week separately from the other food in your fridge or cupboard. This process will make it easier to ‘pack’ the lunch for the day and will also allow you to make balanced choices.
Keep the options you pack balanced. Make sure you have fruit, vegetables, grains and protein in your lunchbox (you can also include dairy). Try not to, for example, eat nuts as a snack and an avocado-rich salad for lunch. This will exceed your fat intake for the day – rather have fruit as a snack if your’ main meal’ is rich in fats and oils.
Try to break away from the routine – plan different types of lunches and different snacks. You don’t have to stick to the ordinary. This might mean that you prepare the meals beforehand and only use them when you need them (maybe freeze soups in portions). Browse through the internet for creative lunchbox ideas and try them out.
Double up on dinners and save an extra portion of your lunch. Or use the leftovers creatively – if you are having stir fry dinner, grab a handful of the stir fry veggies before you cook it and add it to your salad for the next day.
Prepare your snacks beforehand. Store snacks in portion size so that it is easy to just grab a portion of a snack and add it to your lunchbox. This way you will not ‘guestimate’ your portions and risk overeating.
Remember at school, where we opened lunch boxes and swopped out sandwiches just because we could? Why did we stop doing that? What if we create a lunch team where one person cooks a large dish and we all eat from it? Tomorrow, someone else brings another dish which we divide into portions and enjoy together. Might just enhance the team spirit in the unit.
Relax and take time to actually sit down and have lunch. Especially if you work remotely. Take 15 – 30 minutes and eat your lunch. Take the time to chew properly and enjoy the effort you made to pack the lunch. Enjoy eating your food.
Pack lunch together as a family
Make a habit of packing lunch together as a family. Use the time to connect with the plans for the next day or just enjoy spending time with one another. And if you have children – let them help – let them pack the snacks and take the time to teach them about healthy meal choices.
Have fun packing lunch – make it part of your daily routine, whether you work in the office or from home. Keep disciplined and it will become a habit and you will reap the health benefits of a balanced eating routine.
So, in conclusion – excite yourself with your discovery of new ways to prepare for lunches. Be creative and have fun.