If work keeps you so busy you find yourself grabbing fast food and heading back to the office at lunch time, or sneaking off to the vending machine in the afternoon, it’s time to pack some healthy food to take with you.
The right foods can keep you satisfied and energized for your day. The alternatives can have you bloated, sleepy, hungry or crashing from a sugar rush.
For many people the idea of not only having to figure out what to take but then prepare and bring it, can be somewhat overwhelming. But you don’t need to bring complicated food for it to be healthy.
Stock Your Desk
It’s a good idea to have some healthy snacks stowed away in your desk. Sometimes you’ll forget to bring something, stay late or just need an unexpected boost. Some great options to have on hand are:
- Granola bars or protein bars (homemade is best as commercial brands can be over processed and high in sugar)
- Dried fruit
- Crackers (look for ones with whole grains and very few ingredients – all of which you can pronounce)
- Fruit – inside the desk drawer may not be the best place for fruit but a small bowl of fruit on top can give you quick access
If you have access to a refrigerator at work you can keep some of the following to snack on (or bring daily in a cooler if no refrigerator is available) as well:
- Fresh veggies and hummus
- Fresh fruits (that need to be kept cool or are sliced)
- Hardboiled eggs
Sometimes it’s hard to break away from your work and go eat a decent lunch. Grabbing fast food or popping a frozen dinner in the microwave are not your only (or best) choices. You can take delicious and healthy food to work for lunch without a lot of effort.
- Wraps – the possibilities are endless. Choose from turkey, ham, roast beef and put in a tortilla with veggies, cheese and your favorite condiments. You can even do an all veggie wrap, which is delicious with hummus. Try new combinations. You may just find a new favorite.
- Salad – have fun with the variety and types of greens you use. Don’t get stuck in an iceberg lettuce rut (it’s the least nutrient dense leafy green available). Top with a variety of veggies and some protein like grilled chicken or hardboiled eggs. Bring dressing on the side so your salad doesn’t get soggy.
- Leftovers – leftovers are a great way to eat well at work. You can rework them into a new meal (like adding last night’s chicken to your salad) or eat them as they are (meatloaf and green beans). You can cook extra during the week to ensure you have some to take to work.
- Snacks – You might be surprised by how filling a combination of snack-type foods can be when eaten all together as a meal. Have some veggies with hummus, a hardboiled egg and an apple and you’ll likely be filled up.
- Cook Once – Prepare a few meals and freeze in individual portions. You can spend just a couple of days each month doing this and have a variety of meals to choose from in your freezer. Lasagna, soups, meatballs, enchiladas, casseroles, meat and veggies – can all be popped in the office microwave and reheated.
The most important tool to eating well at work is a plan. Take time to figure out what you want to keep at work and what you want to bring with you. Spend one day each week prepping food (such as slicing fruits and veggies) and portioning them out. Plan out your meals ahead of time (even if you are planning to bring leftovers) and portion out any food that you can in advance. Taking a little time at the beginning of each week makes it so you have great food ready to grab and go on your way to work each day.
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