For most of us, a 9-to-5 job (or 8:30-to-6) often means we are bound to a desk for most hours of the day. This high-stress and sedentary lifestyle, coupled with irregular eating habits and poor food choices can really do a number on our physical and mental condition.
Quite often, we end up putting in way more calories than we expend, which means we aren’t doing our waistlines any favours. So what should we do? Besides getting up off our chairs and walking around for a few minutes on an hourly basis, it’s also important to make healthy food choices that are not only low in calories but that keep us hydrated, energized and alert.
Here are seven great ways to eat healthily at the office and maintain a slim waistline in the process.
Pack Your Lunch
What better way to monitor your food intake and make conscious choices than by packing your own lunchbox to work? Home-cooked food is the best way to know exactly what you are putting into your body and to ensure that you are only eating the freshest ingredients. It’s also an effective way to exercise portion control.
Have the motivation but in need of inspiration? There are many well-known food sites and popular Instagrammers that regularly post easy ways to pack a healthy lunch box. Follow them and you won’t have to spend much time at all thinking about what to pack for your meals.
If you have a natural knack for creating lunch box meals, why not step up your lunch box game and get creative by setting up an Instagram or Pinterest account of your own? That way, you can have fun challenging yourself to design a healthy and beautiful lunchbox meal each day, and inspire others in the process!
Keep Hydrated with H2O
Just about the worst thing you can do to your body is to not drink enough water. This is especially crucial when you are sitting in an air-conditioned office all day long. Air-conditioning is extremely drying, which means you need to keep yourself hydrated by consuming water regularly. Being dehydrated not only makes you feel lethargic, but it will also leave your skin looking and feeling dry and lacklustre.
The average person needs to drink about two litres of water a day, so make sure to have a designated glass, mug or water bottle at your desk and to keep drinking throughout the day (a good rule of thumb is to pause and drink some water every half an hour). To prevent overeating, you can try taking several gulps before each meal to help you feel less ravenous before you eat.
Keep Off Sugary Drinks
While it is absolutely important to stay hydrated, it also matters how you are doing it because not all fluids are created equal.
While coconut water and fresh fruits that have a high water content (such as watermelon) are perfectly legitimate and healthy ways to up your water intake, you also really need to be avoiding drinks that are high in sugar content such as sodas, energy drinks and even fruit juices. Not only will they cause a sugar crash, but they are also terrible options for those who happen to be watching their weight.
Caffeinated drinks should also be avoided as they are diuretics. But if you, like me, can’t survive without coffee or tea, choose green tea or black coffee and try skipping the sugar and cream. Not only will you cut down a significant amount of calories that way, but it will also give your metabolism a decent boost.
Choose Healthy Snacks
Instead of depriving yourself of food, it’s actually a good idea to assuage your hunger by surrounding yourself with the right kind of snack foods. Stock your office pantry or desk with healthy snacks like flax seeds and almonds, roasted chickpeas, dark chocolate (at least 70%) and yoghurt.
For something fresh, pack some hummus, and slice up some apples, celery and carrot sticks to bring to the office. Or simply wash your fruit of choice for the day (bananas, grapes and peaches are convenient and healthy options) and carry it with you!
Monitor Your Portion Size
Now that you’ve created a healthy environment stashed with healthful snack options, do note that it’s just as important to manage your portion sizes. Snacking too much, no matter how healthy the foods are, will mean too many calories and the unavoidable weight again. Besides, you need to leave room for your main meals of the day and over-snacking can cause a loss of appetite for them too.
Skip Junk Food
Junk food, whether we are referring to packaged chips and candy or fast-food burgers and fried chicken, definitely does not fit the definition for eating healthy at the office. The high levels of trans fat, sodium and sugar will not just leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy, it also causes stress to your digestive and cardiovascular systems and is terrible for your complexion.
Depriving yourself completely, however, may lead to unwanted binging, so just be mindful of how much you are consuming and limit your intake as much as possible. A little junk food goes a long way!