Going Back to Work? Meal Prep, Work Clothes and Staying Healthy

Article posted in: Lifestyle Diet & Nutrition
man walking and going back to work with briefcase

It’s time to put on some real pants: Offices are opening back up. More than a third of Americans have been working from home during the pandemic. But in late March 2021, about a quarter of employees in the U.S.’ 10 biggest cities were back in the office. And the number of people getting back into their commutes—and their work clothes—is growing every day.

man standing in front of back to work written on pavementAdjusting to a new routine can be stressful, especially with the added pressure to fit back into old work clothes. In a survey conducted in February 2021, 42 percent of Americans reported undesired weight gain during COVID-19 quarantines, lockdowns and work-from-home time. Their average weight gain: 29 pounds.

If you want to make those old, pre-pandemic work clothes fit like new again, Nutrisystem can help you get there. We take away the stress of meal prep and planning while also providing an amazing support system through one-on-one coaching, our FREE smart app and unlimited access to The Leaf Weight Loss Blog. Stop ordering takeout and get real nutrition with real convenience, so you can fit back into real pants!

Be sure to also check out these simple tips to make going back to work a chance to get back into a healthier routine:

When it comes to meal prep, be prepared with options and information.

At home, you can have both: You can load your fridge with options—healthy ingredients, pre-prepared lunches that fit your weight loss goals and low-calorie, satisfying snack options for when cravings strike. And you’re informed about what’s in there: You bought those healthy options!

But at the office, both are limited: You don’t have an entire refrigerator to keep stocked with a variety of choices. Plus, you don’t always have information about temptations that can pop up—a coworker might bring in a cake or bagels, or you might head out to a restaurant for lunch. Get your meal prep squared away with these four easy steps:

1. Pile on the Produce

healthy mason jar meal prep salad for going back to workEven the odds and help yourself stay on track when you clock in: Start with options. And load those options with non-starchy vegetables. Nutrisystem members supplement their Nutrisystem meals and snacks with four servings of these low-carb veggies—like cucumbers, peppers, carrots and more—each day because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they’re low on calories. The fiber helps keep you feeling full without filling out.

Fill your office’s fridge with pre-prepared vegetable options you’ll enjoy—you can quickly make these four Mason jar salad recipes on Sunday to have lunches for almost the entire week that are ready to go. While you’re at it, you can chop up some other veggies you enjoy—maybe sweet grape tomatoes or colorful pepper strips—to dip in a low-fat dressing when you’re frustrated with a task or feeling snacky.

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2. Satisfying Snacks

Healthy snacks may be the most important option you can give yourself at the office: When you start to feel that 3 p.m. slump, it can be so easy to grab one of those coworker-brought bagels or hit the vending machine. Let Nutrisystem help instead: Choose sweet options like our Chocolate Chip Cookies, salty options like White Cheddar Popcorn or snacks that combine both—like the Sweet and Salty Nut Bar—to give the office as many options as you’d have at home. Check out our snack menu here! >

3. Make-Ahead Meals

Meal prepping ahead of time can help you stay on track when it’s time to eat at the office. Power bowl recipes are great healthy lunch meal prep option because they are easy to grab and go, yet heartier than a salad. You can also whip up several servings of chicken in the slow cooker or on the grill to pair with steamed veggies all week long.

No time for cooking in your busy, back to work routine? Make meal prep easier with a little help from Nutrisystem! Our perfectly portioned lunches require little-to-no prep and are super tasty. Made from quality ingredients you’ll love, you’re sure to find a few go-to favorites that you can stock up on for those busy weekdays. You’ll find so many tasty options, from soups and sandwiches to meal bars, bowls and melts. Click here to explore our menu! >

4. Stay Informed

Once you’ve got your healthy meal prep underway, arm yourself with information: When a coworker invites you to lunch or happy hour, you’re going to want to be there—it’s the first one in more than a year! So give yourself the info to concentrate on the experience without stressing about your order: Look at the menu online before you head out, so you can see which options fit with your weight loss plan. Calories aren’t listed? No worries: Use this simple Dining Out Guide to help you choose a meal that will keep you on track.

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Don’t let “back in the office” mean you’re stuck in your work chair.

man back to work sitting at deskYou’ve been cooped up in your house for more than a year—don’t coop yourself up by chaining yourself to your desk! Moving around for just 10 minutes can burn extra calories, of course, but it can also undo the damage from hours of sitting. Plus, according to research, it gives you a boost of creativity that could make you even more productive when you’re back at your desk. Here are three simple ways to get more steps and stay on task:

1. Invite a friend for a lunchtime walk.

If you take 20 minutes to get outside, you’ll get more than a well-deserved break. You’ll give yourself a kick of vitamin D, improve your mood and protect your brain from memory loss: In a nine-year study, scientists found that people who walked between 60 and 90 minutes per week cut their risk of developing memory loss in half. Here are 10 reasons to go for a walk today! >

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2. Fill a water bottle every hour or two.

woman holding water bottle while working on laptopYou’ll burn extra calories from the walk, as well as from the water: A study from Germany found that drinking six cups of cold water during the day helped participants burn 50 extra calories through the course of the day. Doesn’t seem like a ton of extra calories, but that’s 250 calories every work week, and 1,000 every month—which can definitely help push you towards your goals. Check out these six reasons to stand up right now! >

3. Get up and go see a coworker.

You’ve done enough Zoom calls for one lifetime. If you’re working on a task together, talking it out in person can make communication easier. Walk to your coworker’s desk instead of tapping out an email or Slack message—and get the personal connection you’ve been missing while working from home.

After four weeks on Nutrisystem Personal Plans, 92% of people report feeling in control of their eating.* Get back on track today! >

Still working from home? Click the link below for nine tips to avoid weight gain:

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*Results of survey conducted as part of a clinical study.