Many of us have been working from home for a while now, and will be for the foreseeable future. It's a good time to check in on any eating and snacking habits that have changed during this transition from working in an office setting.
Maintaining healthy habits and routine can be tough when your home is your office. You feel comfortable and there’s plenty of food available in the kitchen. Situations can range from mindlessly eating a box of crackers while on a call to getting so caught up in a project that you suddenly realize you haven't eaten a thing all day, and there comes the crash.
Here are our strategies and tips for snacking healthy while working from home to stay mentally and physically energized between meals:
1. Don’t work in the kitchen
Try to set up your work space in an area that’s not in the kitchen. You might be tempted to wander over and check the fridge if it’s constantly in your line of sight. If this isn't possible where you live, hang a sign on your fridge and pantry as a reminder that the kitchen is closed until the next scheduled meal or snack.
2. Plan your snack times
Establish at what time during the day you’re going to eat your snacks to stay full between meals. A best practice is to space snacks 1.5-2 hours between meals, so you don't get hangry. 3pm, we're looking at you.
3. Portion your snacks
Don't eat out of the original packaging, since it’s much harder to control portions that way. Use the serving size as a guide, and place the snacks in a bowl or on a plate to enjoy.
4. Focus on whole foods
Nutritious food from whole sources makes us more productive. It keeps us fuller longer and helps us focus. What you eat will impact your mood and energy level. Focus on macronutrients, and look for snacks with a good balance of protein, fibre and healthy fats. Eyeing the sugar content? Look at the ingredients, and see where the sugars are coming from. Avoid refined sugar and sugar alcohols. Don't be afraid of naturally occurring sugar from fruit.
5. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, which are not good for productivity and energy levels. Keep a large water next to your work station at home. If you have water readily available, chances are you’re more likely to drink it.
6. Take breaks to eat
It is tempting to continue working while snacking since your co-workers aren’t physically there. However, being distracted during a meal can lead to over-eating and decreased satiety (satisfaction and fullness). Instead, take a break from work to sit down and enjoy your snack and relax for a few minutes.
7. Don't stock up on junk food
Don’t stock your fridge or pantry like a vending machine. This can lead to eating just because it's available. Try your best to keep junk food out of the house during the work week, especially foods you know you will binge on. Out of sight, out of mind.
8. Be mindful of caffeine intake
Having access to endless cups of coffee might seem like a great idea in theory, but be careful when it comes to caffeine. Over consumption is known to cause headaches, anxiety, and the jitters. None of that is desirable, but it's particularly not good when you’re trying to work. Try to keep your daily intake to two cups or less, and avoid sugary or high calorie add-ins.