8 Hacks for Eating Healthy While Working from HomeArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
These days, it’s not just writers, artists, daycare providers and computer experts who are working from home; especially with the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. A Gallup survey found that flex time and work-at-home opportunities for full-time employees at many companies, large and small, are up. About 43 percent of people are working from home or telecommuting at least some of the time, the survey discovered.
Home—it’s the place you hang your hat and keep your food. The temptations to wreck your weight loss progress and diet plan can be irresistible. A bite here, a nosh there, the siren call of that pint of ice cream in the freezer. They could sabotage your diet big time—unless you take some measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.
With a large portion of workers practicing social distancing and self-isolation during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, it becomes even more apparent that we need to ensure our healthy habits and diet are in check when stuck at home and telecommuting.
Here are eight hacks for staying on track while telecommuting or working from home:
1. Create a weekly menu.
The folks who run the restaurant where you used to eat lunch every day don’t get up in the morning and think, “Gee, what will I serve today?” then rummage through the pantry for the ingredients. They plan ahead. Leaving meal prep and preparing cooking ingredients until the last minute is a recipe for disaster for them—and for you, if you’re trying to lose weight. Most of us have calorie bombs lurking in our kitchens. If you don’t have a bin filled with produce for a salad, or your Nutrisystem meals on hand, you might be tempted by the calzone in the freezer, the bagels on your counter, or even the easy-to-fix cheese and crackers, not to mention the Girl Scout cookies in the cabinet. Your best bet while telecommuting from home is to take impulse out of the equation. Just write down everything you plan to eat every week and stick to the plan. Make sure you record everything you eat in the NuMi app >
2. Prep your Flex Meal fixings.
Your Nutrisystem meals will help keep you on the straight and narrow, but make sure your Flex Meal ingredients are also ready to go. Cut up produce for salads and stir fries. Tag leftovers for your next day’s lunch. Whip up some tuna or chicken salad with low-fat mayo and have it ready in the fridge to take your weight loss program at home to the next level!
3. Prep snacks too.
It’s cheaper to buy things like nuts in bulk, but not so great for your waistline if one handful leads to several. Hummus is also a great snack, but according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon of hummus is 25 calories…you can see how that can add up if you overindulge. And low-fat cheese? It’s 49 calories per ounce, so be careful of mindless snacking. You don’t want to go overboard on the calories when telecommuting from home, so measure and bag up those snacks into the perfect snack-sized portions for the week and watch yourself lose weight.
4. Don’t work in the kitchen.
A kitchen island or breakfast bar may seem like the perfect place to set up shop while telecommuting and practicing self-isolation. However, you really don’t want to be that close to food that can send your weight loss motivation levels into the tank. Out of sight, out of mind. Work as far away from the kitchen as you can—a family room, upstairs alcove or landing, a desk tucked into a bedroom corner. If you must set up in the kitchen, try to face away from the fridge and the cabinets where goodies are kept.
5. Don’t eat while you work.
If you’re busy during your workday at home, it’s tempting to eat at your workstation. About 83 percent of us do, according to a survey by the American Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition. And that puts us at risk of gaining weight. Why? A 2013 analysis of studies that looked at “distracted eating”—involving multi-taskers who ate while working or watching TV— from the University of Birmingham in England, found that not paying attention to what you’re eating can cause you to eat more, not only during the meal but later on. On the other hand, focusing on your meal can lead to less eating later on. One reason: Eating attentively actually enhances your memory—at least, of eating—so you’re less likely to think you’re hungry so quickly after the meal.
6. Let your slow cooker or instant pot fix dinner.
Even if you’re working at home, you may still get ravenous when it’s time to whip up a delicious dinner recipe. To avoid temptation, fix your evening meal when you’re not hungry—after breakfast, lunch or your afternoon snack. A slow cooker or instant pot can make that easy as pie. You can find plenty of great recipes for both right here on The Leaf.
7. Take activity breaks.
You’re telecommuting from home and in self-isolation. No one is going to look or ask questions if you get up from your desk every hour or so and do some stretches, a few power yoga poses or do a quick 15-minute workout during your lunch break. The boss isn’t going to give you the side eye if you do an at home total body workout or go outside and take a walk or a run throughout the day (carry your mobile phone!). Not only is activity good for your mental focus—a bonus for your employer—it will help you work off calories, too. Check out some of these quick and easy exercises for beginners to lose weight at home while telecommuting. >
8. Keep water at your desk.
Sometimes when you’re thirsty, your body tells you that you’re hungry. It’s weird like that. So, keep some bottled water nearby while telecommuting from home and have a drink before you head to snack city. If that takes care of your hunger, you’ll know it was really thirst. Keeping water near your desk is good for another reason: It will keep you out of the kitchen. Click here to learn how to tell if you’re dehydrated! >