Working from home forces you to develop a different routine than working in an office, especially when it comes to mealtime. Whether you’ve recently been working remotely or have been a remote employee for a while, it’s a great time to learn how to eat healthy at home.
In this guide, we’ll discuss 10 tips for eating healthy while working from home, plus extra advice on healthy eating habits for kids and seniors. Being at home doesn’t mean your healthy routine has to go out the window. Follow the advice below to rebuild or kick-start your healthy habits.
When your home becomes your office, that includes your kitchen. You have access to everything in your fridge and pantry for meals and snack time. With so many options available, it’s easy to fall into poor eating habits. To avoid this, follow these 10 simple tips:
One of the biggest temptations for eating while working is the easy access to food. If you’re working in the kitchen, you may find excuses to get up and grab a snack. While small, healthy snacks are good if you need them, eating all day won’t improve your health. If you can, set up your desk or work area in an office, bedroom or living room instead of your kitchen or dining room.
Many people also reach for food when they’re stressed, bored or rewarding themselves. Working away from the kitchen can help you avoid heading to the fridge when work gets slow or difficult or when you complete a project. Once you’re working in a different room of your house, try to resist the temptation to go to the kitchen when those moods strike, unless it’s time for breakfast, lunch or a snack.
When you work from home, it can be tempting to get things done while you eat. However, you should have meals away from your desk to avoid working while eating. If you have a dedicated mealtime and eat away from your desk, you’re more likely to:
Designated space and time to eat will help you form healthy eating habits at home and encourage you to focus on your work. Multitasking is difficult for everyone, and if you’re trying to eat while replying to emails or working on other projects, you may be compromising your ability to focus and produce good work.
If you find it difficult to take time away from your work to eat, you’re not alone. But one way to make sure you avoid overeating and fatigue due to hunger is recognizing when you’re hungry and making time to eat. Some common hunger signs include feeling:
Certain feelings may represent not only hunger but also the need for certain nutrients since food is essential for mental and physical health. If you’re feeling foggy, you may need more calories. If you’re cranky and tired, you may be lacking magnesium. Eat balanced meals full of the vitamins you need to feel your best, both mentally and physically.
Don’t have any particular hunger signs? Put yourself on an eating schedule and set reminders or alarms, so you know when to take a quick break to eat. You’ll avoid going too long without eating and discovering that you do have hunger signs.
When you’re working, it can be difficult or impossible to take the time to cook a meal. Avoid the temptation to rely on pre-prepared meals, as those can lack the nutrition you need to stay healthy. Make your own meals to control the portions and ingredients for results that are healthy and tasty.
Working from home opens you up to plenty of meal possibilities, but the endless options can get overwhelming. In those cases, meal prep is useful. Meal prep involves taking time on the weekend or the night before you work to set up convenient yet healthy meals. Meal prep makes quicker work of getting a meal together once it’s time to eat. You’ll only have to reheat or assemble the pieces and enjoy. Here are some tips on how to keep eating healthy with meal prep:
Label your meals with the date you made them, and be sure to follow food safety guidelines for ingredients you’re cooking beforehand, especially meat. If you cook meat over the weekend, make sure you consume it earlier in the week rather than leaving it for long. Many meal prep dishes focus on pre-cooking or prepping less risky vegetables and grains to make lunches like these:
There is an abundance of healthy meal prep ideas, whether you’re looking for light lunches or filling dinners to get you through the week. Try new recipes to keep your lunches interesting, and experiment with healthy alternatives to see what you or your family enjoy.
Avoid snacking all day and calling that your meal. Even a handful of healthy snacks throughout your workday may not be enough to fuel you, keep you on schedule and help you develop healthy habits. An assortment of snacks can impact your mood, as well, since it won’t contain the nutrients you need from a balanced meal, like:
Remember those essential nutrients when you create your meals, and try to get a bit of everything on your plate instead of grabbing a handful of snacks whenever you feel a little hungry.
Your work from home routine may involve waking up and getting right to work instead of performing your usual morning habits. For many, those habits include eating breakfast, but if you’re skipping that in favor of diving into your day, you may want to rethink your routine. Breakfast is a vital part of your morning routine because it gives you the fuel you need to start your day.
Even if you don’t want to eat right when you wake up, you can still enjoy a small breakfast a few hours before your scheduled lunchtime. Keep it simple with fruit, or go for healthy options with oatmeal or homemade granola bars.
It’s hard to avoid snacking, and sometimes, it gives us the boost of energy we need to get through the day. Between lunch and dinner is an especially popular time to snack since it gives you that final burst to finish your work and cook dinner. Follow a few tips to make healthier snack time choices:
If you do get a craving for sweet or salty foods, go with healthy snack alternatives. Instead of candy, have a smoothie, frozen grapes or other fruits. Instead of chips, try lightly salted nuts or unsalted whole-wheat pretzels. Try to cut out the refined sugars and added salt whenever you snack, and try to avoid snacking at your desk.
When you eat lunch at your workplace, you bring a specific amount from home to eat. At home, you don’t have that same level of control. You can grab a bag of snacks or head back to the fridge for seconds, and that could lead to unhealthy results. Manage how much you eat and avoid overeating by portioning out your food with these tips:
Everyone’s hunger and dietary needs are different, so remember that serving sizes may not reflect how much you want or need to eat. Instead of eating more of the same thing, mix in different foods that have the essential nutrients and vitamins you need.
When you’re home, it can be tempting to brew a pot of coffee and drink from it all day, but drinking too much coffee can have unfortunate side effects. Ironically, some of those effects will impact your alertness, concentration and how awake you feel, with common issues such as:
To avoid those issues, limit yourself to a certain number of cups of coffee per day. If you feel like you need caffeine to get through the day, try tea instead.
Swap your other beverages for water to make healthier choices. Get a reusable water bottle for your desk and have it filled every morning to encourage you to sip water throughout the day. You’ll consume less caffeine and sugar if you focus on drinking water and stay appropriately hydrated.
How much water you need per day depends on your activity level and what type of foods you eat throughout the day. Listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty. Take occasional sips from your water bottle rather than drinking a whole bottle in one sitting to maintain hydration.
When kids are home from school, it can be challenging to continue healthy eating at home. Try to keep your children’s diets on track with the following tips:
A scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner time is great for kids to develop healthy eating habits and avoid over-snacking. It also lets you manage your time, so you can cook meals for them and gather together to eat a meal based on your schedule. If you already have a mealtime schedule when your kids are at school, don’t stray too far from that so they can maintain their routine.
Start food journals for everyone in your family or just your kids. Older kids can fill out journals on their own with a bit of prompting, but younger children may need more guidance. What you log in a food journal depends on your needs and concerns, but the options include:
You’ll also find convenient apps that let you track how much you’ve eaten in a day and the nutritional information of what you’ve eaten. Certain apps even let you track exercise and set goals for daily intake of calories, vitamins and other nutritional aspects.
Part of getting kids involved in healthy eating is showing them the fun side of food. Mold their healthy eating habits for the future by starting at a young age, and use these tips to get children excited about eating healthily:
Kids and adults have certain dietary and health needs, and many of those considerations also apply to seniors. But as we get older, we often need to adjust our diets and eating habits to account for what our bodies require. Hopefully, you’ve been building healthy eating habits since childhood, but if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start focusing on healthy eating at home with these tips:
Make sure that, as a senior, you’re getting all the essential vitamins you need, as well, including:
Knowing how to eat healthy at home is a great start to getting on-track with beneficial habits, but staying healthy isn’t only about what you eat. In addition to eating healthy, be sure to:
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Check out our blog for more tips on developing healthy habits, and kick-start your health with help from us at 5 Bridges Health & Fitness!