Has working from home meant you’ve abandoned all semblance of mealtimes; simply grazing your way through your day and constantly dreaming of your next meal! Without routine and structure, you can easily find yourself allowing unhealthy eating habits to creep into your day and eating healthy whilst working from home can soon become a challenge.
It’s important to work on your mindset, so you’re absolutely clear that the food choices you make during the day directly contribute to your energy levels, productivity and concentration. It’s a choice of feeling energised and motivated or tired and lethargic!
However, figuring out how to eat healthy with a new way of working, whilst also juggling a full time demanding job, with even more full time and demanding youngsters is not easy and can be overwhelming.
Let me help!
Eating healthy whilst working from home is not just a question of eating the right foods. There are a number of other dangerous habits that are easy to fall into; from overeating with large portion sizes, not making time for meal prep or choosing foods that are not satiating and filling. There’s also to consider but to make this easier, having rules that you stick to as a basis for a healthier eating pattern, is the best starting point.
Here’s 10 basic rules that ensure you’re eating healthy whilst working from home
Plan your meals
Set some time aside at the end of the day or at the weekend to consider what meals you can eat during the week. It’s much easier than you think and will ensure that you are not haphazardly putting together a meal that isn’t nutritionally balanced, because you’re in a rush and don’t have all the ingredients you’d like to hand.
Stick to a meal schedule
With no commute and more flexibility with your day, you will find your daily routine is not necessarily dictated by typical times to eat breakfast or lunch. Therefore, you will need to instill this into your working day. Factor in meetings and workload and then find a time slot during the day when you know you will be able to leave your desk and sit down to a simple lunch. You’ll be amazed what a difference it will make to your mood and ability to concentrate if you know you can look forward to a short lunch break from your desk. Let alone once you return to your desk post-lunch!
Focus on food group portions
Whilst ultimately gaining (or losing) weight is a question of calories in vs calories out, it is tedious and frankly unnecessary to count calories if you’re looking to manage your weight. Instead, it’s more important to focus on the proportions of each food group on your plate. Your ideal plate, for every meal (and snack), should look like this: ½ of your plate should be made up of vegetables, mainly dark green varieties and only 1 starchy vegetable such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn. The other half should be made up of ¼ lean protein like meat, fish, chicken, eggs, tofu or cheese and ¼ complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato.
Stick to mealtimes
It’s easy to wander into the kitchen when you get up from your desk and need a break. That’s’ fine, to make yourself a drink, but try to avoid eating simply to pass the time. Sticking to your planned mealtimes will help but to make sure you’re not tempted, consider what chores you can get out of the way at these times. For example, unload the dishwasher, run around for a quick tidy up or put some washing out. Not only will you be happy that you’ve got the chores done but you’ll also build in a little physical activity into your day. You can even finish off with a short stretch before you sit down again!
Shopping is key
It’s quite simple; if you don’t have unhealthy foods to hand, it’s much easier to avoid them! So when you’re planning meals and shopping, avoid the snack aisles and instead stock up on fresh healthy vegetables and fruits, so these are an easy go-to when you’re hungry and on the hunt for a snack. It wouldn’t be too extreme to suggest that you never buy junk food…ever!
Pre-empt your snacks
Whilst sticking to scheduled mealtimes is the aim for the day, it is inevitable that some days, you’ll need a quick energy boost in between meals. Having healthy foods that are prepared and ready to grab will not only save you time but will also help you to make a healthier choice. For example, have a batch of hummus ready-made in the fridge as well as some vegetable crudités like carrots, cucumber, radishes and peppers already prepped to eat with it.
Avoid any sweetened or artificially flavoured drinks
Quite simply, there is no place for any drink that is sweetened whether naturally or artificially. On the other hand, whilst tea (preferably black) and coffee are often vilified, these are indeed good choices to keep you hydrated, as well as plain water and herbal teas.
There will be days when you run out of time or you’re simply not in the mood to cook. If you’ve cooked extra in the days before, having a ready-made meal (or even a part of a meal) already in the fridge means you can relax and eat as soon as your day is over. When the oven’s on, put in some extra chicken breasts or salmon fillets, for example, or cook more rice or quinoa and set half aside for another meal.
This may sound harsh but it is important to consider a takeout meal as a special occasion rather than a way of feeding yourself or your family. Making healthy cooking a priority means you’re less likely to resort to a food delivery, which is likely to be less healthy and certainly more expensive. It’s also a question of mindset; rather than considering a take out meal as the only way to treat yourself, consider the joy and fun in planning, cooking and eating a nourishing together as a couple or family, in a relaxed atmosphere.
It can be a struggle to come up with ideas and particularly that you need to consider many more meals to eat healthy whilst working from home. Take inspiration and ideas from other chefs, the internet and of course, nutrition experts. If you’re a member of THE NEW HEALTHY, my membership community, you’ll receive a meal inspiration email each week, with 4 meal ideas to try that week. Each week is curated according to a specific health focus and will include new full recipes as well as reminders of simple food suggestions and combinations. My recipes and suggestions are always simple and uncomplicated to help you create imaginative, healthy meals that are not only tasty but will often also work for the whole family.
But before you begin…eating healthy whilst working from home is far easier with the right ingredients to hand
Stocking your kitchen with versatile, healthy food staples will go a long way to ensure you have a great base for a meal to get you started and will also mean you save time on your weekly shop, only needing to pick up fresh meats and vegetables. If you’re cooking often and more regularly, these basics are less likely to expire before you’ve used them up.
THE NEW HEALTHY members have access to my “Key Kitchen Essentials” as well as my “Cooking Tips Guide”. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced cook, there are some cooking mistakes we all make. They’re easy to avoid and you’ll end up with a meal that’s even tastier and most likely healthier too!
Want to experience a new way of being?
Why not join me on one of my health retreats at Chateau de la Vigne, a holiday property I have owned and run for the past 19 years, in the heart of the Loire Valley, France.
I’ve put together a fantastic schedule, based very closely on previous highly successful health retreats, with an expert team and I’m absolutely thrilled to be have curated this dream break for you. CLICK HERE for more details.