Through all the places I’ve worked, I’ve had conversations with people how it can be really difficult to keep your healthy diet up while at work. If you work with food, there’s a lot of temptation just to eat whatever’s in front of you. There’s also the evil vending machines that always seem to beckon you to come and buy just one packet of reeses peanut butter cups… and then another later… and another later. Before you know it, you’ve eaten what feels like the whole menu at whatever restaurant you work or perhaps even the entire vending machine! okay maybe not that drastic but you get my drift.
So what is the key to being able to resist these unhealthy treats and goodies always very readily attainable for you?
I know the complaint of 99% of people is they do not have enough time to make their lunch everyday and make a really balanced breakfast. There’s also the issue of coming home and just wanting to grab the quickest thing, which always happens to be the bag (and I mean the whole bag) of chips or those chips ahoy.
Both of these issues can be solved in one plan of action.
The trick is making it so when you come home and when you’re grabbing something quick for breakfast, the easiest things to take need to be the healthiest choices.
Let’s start with breakfast of course because it’s the most important meal of the day. Now, even though it would be prime for us all to be able to crank out a skillet and make eggs whole grain toast and a fruit salad all before we start all day, it’s just not practical. I’ve noticed most people tend to do everything else they have to do in the morning before they have breakfast. For example, my brother eats his cereal in the morning while he’s standing at the door watching for the bus. It’s just not a top priority. Now surprisingly, I’m not saying that’s what needs to be fixed. We don’t need to wake up everyday and first go make breakfast. Honestly, I don’t either. What we need to do is be prepared.
One of the easiest things to prepare on the fly that’s extremely healthy for you is oatmeal :). Now for those of you who have read any of my recipes, you have probably noticed I quite often use oatmeal. Why? Because oatmeal is a superfood! (check out this post for more information).
Did you know, you can prepare a big batch of oatmeal say on Sunday and just scoop a portion of the oatmeal into a bowl in the mornings? How easy is that! Top it with some fresh fruit and you are good to go. (I’ll do a post on how to do this when I get a kitchen).
The majority of my recipes can be prepared the night before. Check out my chia seed breakfast recipe, my white chocolate peanut butter breakfast milkshake, or my peanut butter and jelly oatmeal. All can be prepared the night before, and all are the prime meals to give you energy and get your metabolism going. Even try something adventurous like my banana bread breakfast, which I HIGHLY recommend you try.
Prep these the night before, and you are ready to go.
If you don’t have time for even that, look out for muffin and breakfast cake recipes to come soon. AGAIN I do not have an oven at the moment, so I can’t make them to their highest quality, but in about two week I will.
So what about during the day when there are all of the temptations? Well if you start by having a hearty breakfast like the ones I listed, the chances of you feeling famished will decrease dramatically. The urge to go buy yourself a treat almost vanishes, and I promise you’ll feel more focused on your work.
If you still do have urges though, bring snacks that will be satisfying yet are portable. Through testing different foods, I have found two things that never EVER fail to help me feel better.
2. Sweet Potatoes
3. Apples and some form of a nut butter
For almonds, you have to be very careful. I do not advise bringing a jar to work with you and snacking on them. Only about 20 almonds equals one serving. That serving is already close to 200 calories. If you end up snacking on a whole jar… well you do the math. I always put a serving in a plastic bag and snack on a few when I feel hungry. It really is amazing how much a few almonds can help. Plus, they’re a superfood too 🙂
You probably didn’t expect for me to say sweet potatoes. I feel like people forget about them except for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even though they are a more starchy vegetable, they are filled with nutrients and vitamins that you need. What I do is buy medium sized ones, and split them in half. I’ll have one for one snack, and then another half later. I microwave them for about 6 minutes at home, but if you have a microwave at work, you can just use that.
Apples and peanut butter (or any nut butter) may be one of the most nutritionally balanced snacks. You get carbs from the apple, and fats and proteins from the peanut butter. Again about portion control, make sure to only have 1 to 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter. There’s about 200 calories in 2. Use PB2 if you would like, but honestly when it comes to having peanut butter and apples, I prefer the real deal 🙂
Other possible snacks include: edamame, granola (1/4 a cup is a serving generally), baby carrots, cucumbers, greek yogurt, other fruit, rolled turkey slices with hummus (2 tbsps is 80 calories), or even toast with a nut butter or organic jelly. OH speaking of organic, make SUREEEE (I cannot stress this enough) you read the labels on your peanut butter. Buy all natural because otherwise there will be tons of added sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Be creative. I’ve been known to even bring half a can of tuna mixed with lemon and black pepper. I don’t know I like it 🙂
Okay so you have your snacks. Now what about lunch. What I like to do is bring a really big salad. By big, I mean there is a tonnnn of spinach and greeks in it. Did you know that if our plates or bowls look really full, we feel fuller faster? Spinach has barely any calories in it, and it is sooooo good for you, so go ahead pack it in! I loveeeeeeee experimenting with salads. As a base though, I would suggest adding a lean protein, some form of a nut (like sunflower seeds or almond slices), and plenty of vegetables. My most recent favorite is spinach with tofu in a healthy PB2 spicy peanut sauce, peppers, mushrooms, onions, 1 tbsp of coconut, 1 tbsp raisins, and sliced almonds. Now I know most people don’t like tofu, but like I said be creative, you really never know what’s going to work well together. Just be aware of what you’re putting in, and be careful of dressing. Most dressings have a ton of excess oil fats sugars etc. etc. I’d say stick to lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or simply just check the serving size and nutritional information of your favorite dressings and go from there.
If you already prep everything yet still find yourself snacking mindlessly, I have one last approach for you.
Write down what you eat. I could definitely agree that this is one of the most tedious things in the world, but trust me, it works. When you really get into the mindset where you have to write down anything you put in your mouth, you become very aware of what you’re picking. It’s almost like you feel guilty writing bad things down.
If you don’t feel like writing, instagram it! I know that may seem really weird, but stopping that minute before you eat and documenting it helps to really put together whether or not you are having a balanced meal. Don’t do this for every single meal and snack though. People will get annoyed. 🙂 It does help you to want to make healthier good looking meals though I will say.
I’m going to conclude this entry with this: every little change goes a long way. Even if you just START by changing up your breakfast or bringing a few healthy snacks with you to work, that is awesome and good for you! You are making an effort to better your body and better yourself. Before you know it, it’ll come natural to prepare your meals, and you’ll crave the food you bring over the vending machine snacks.