Office Diet 101: 6 Lessons To Eating Healthy At The Cubicle

With 80% of jobs being sedentary, it’s easy to gain unwanted weight as you spend countless hours in the office.  However, losing it is not so easy and with the summer months approaching rapidly, many of us will start to rethink our food choices throughout the day.  Although it can be alluring to indulge in doughnuts or cake laying around the office, it is not always the best idea. Understanding the best food options that keep you full and energized while maintaining an easy routine is key. So, if you are like most and have fallen off track, follow the office diet 101 to be on your way to a happier, healthier version of you.

Eat Breakfast:

Although mornings are tough, and sometimes getting out of bed is the hardest part of our day, skipping breakfast should never be an option.  Eating breakfast not only breaks the fast that you have been in all night, but it also kick-starts your metabolism for the day. This meal replenishes your supply of glucose and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Breakfast not only affects your metabolism; it also refreshes your mind and keeps you sharp and focused on the current and upcoming tasks. For a well-balanced breakfast try something like eggs, and toast with fruit, or yogurt with fruit and granola.  If you are running late or do not have time to eat breakfast at home, bring a protein bar or shake it to the office.

Avoid Sugary Drinks:

After a sleepless night and a rough morning, you may be tempted to grab energy or sugary drink but resist the urge.  Though they may wake you up and boost your productivity for a bit, it is not long after, you will experience a crash. Your body will soon become immune to the drinks if you have them on a regular basis and they will not have the same effect as they once did. Sugary drinks add in countless calories to your diet and can be the reason some may not reach their goals. Instead, look for a natural stimulant such as coffee or tea, this will give you the boost that you are searching for without consuming to much sugar. Energy drinks are often high in sugar, while even sweetened coffee contains less sugar, and has more caffeine

Bring Snacks:

Many think that living a healthy lifestyle means restricting yourself and never snacking, that is not true.  If you are eating a good breakfast then your body’s metabolism is breaking down that food for energy at such a rapid rate, it can leave you hungry before lunch.  That is okay, it is supposed to do that. This is why bringing healthy snacks is vital. Fill your desk up once a week with healthy options such as nuts, seeds, fruit, or power bars.  This way you have them on hand when you start to get hungry and you don’t reach from something unhealthy.

Limit the Starches:

Starches, or carbohydrates, seem to be everyone's favorite part of their meal, however, they can make or break your diet.  Consuming too many carbs will upset the blood glucose levels, contributing to weight gain from being sedentary for many hours. But not having enough carbs could leave you feeling lethargic.  Finding the right balance is important, especially when in an office and being seated for most of the day. Making sure the bulk of your carbs are coming from vegetables ensures that you will have enough energy to make it through your day without feeling bloated and sluggish.  Instead of grabbing pasta for lunch, try rice with chicken, with a smaller portion of rice.  As pasta will raise your blood sugar level, giving you energy, but it will follow by a plunge in insulin levels, resulting in an all of a sudden tired feeling.  Rice and pasta are both complex carbs however brown rice has more fiber and is less processed or refined, making it easier to break down.

Incorporate Fats:

If you are on a mission to lose weight, it may seem strange that you need to add fats into your diet.  However, fats hold the most long term energy in the body. Since the stomach digest fats slower than any other nutrient it can keep you fuller for longer.  This can be a great benefit when working long hours to keep you from grazing on unhealthy items in the office throughout the day.  Food that is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids increases endurance and encourages stored fats to be burned for energy. Consuming foods like salmon, tuna, seeds nuts, and avocados will keep you fuller for longer and burn fat within the body while you are working.  

Pack Your Own Lunch:

It can be very tempting to leave the office for lunch and grab something nearby that may not be the healthiest option. But when you pack your own lunch you can not only make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need but also saving your money too.  Prepping your food the night before, or at the beginning of the week will help you keep track of exactly what is going into your body, so you can skip all of the extra ingredients that may be harmful to you. Packing your lunch gives you the opportunity after you finish to go for a walk or do a couple of quick exercises, rather than grabbing fast food or going to a sit-down restaurant.  

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while working a full-time job can be hard, but it is doable.  Dedicating an hour or two a week to fix meals for yourself for the week can make a huge difference in your overall well being.  Making better choices does not mean you have to deprive yourself of your favorite things, but eating everything within moderation.  It may seem like a lot to take on, however, even just making a couple of changes to your diet while at the office is a big deal. Carefully planning your diet and any exercise you can get into your daily office routine is crucial because you are worth investing in.