Smart Eating While Working at Home
Aon Health & Wellbeing Conversation #1
While restrictions on travel and socializing may be starting to loosen around the world as we acclimatize to living with COVID-19 in our communities, many organizations continue to offer remote or hybrid working arrangements for their employees. For many people working from home, eating habits have been either disrupted or totally changed. We examine some of the common pitfalls and how to overcome them!
Adopting bad eating habits while working from home
- Working in or near the kitchen – having the pantry or fridge easily accessible can make it difficult to resist eating. Having your favorite snack in view or smelling the aroma of prepared food and beverages stirs the appetite leading to one consuming more than one should.
- Snacking instead of preparing the right food – due to a busy schedule, one may fail to stock up on fresh and healthy options and resort to ready-to-eat, easy-to-cook processed food. Junk food can also be a quick and easy ‘go-to’ food since no preparation is actually needed.
- Eating at the wrong time and failing to hydrate – with online, back-to-back meetings, the day may pass by and lead to skipping breakfast, missing lunch, or delaying taking meals altogether due to lack of breaks. It is very easy to get stuck on your screen and to get up and drink water.
- Distracted eating – to buy time and to get things done in time, people can easily fall into the habit of taking their lunch break sitting at their desk and continuing to work.
- Caffeine overload – the perception that you are not buying the usual expensive barista-made beverages can lead to you making and consuming more than you normally would or should.
Smart tips to eat well while working from home
It is not too late to combat and reverse the bad eating habits you may have adopted while you are home working. There are smart ways to ensure you manage your time well enabling you to prepare good and healthy food and allot time separately for having your meals.
- Set up a separate and comfortable working space – having a dedicated area to conduct your daily business would allow you to concentrate on your deliverables instead of getting distracted with food. This can also become a good reminder for you to stand up and do something else such as filling your cup with water, do some light stretching or walking around a bit.
- Plan your week and be specific with what you buy – knowing what you are up to for the next week would allow you to prepare to buy fresh and healthy food and cook ahead of time. Ensure you spare time to buy groceries and make a specific list of healthy options to purchase.
- Avoid buying junk and processed food – if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it! This forces you to choose home-prepared food instead, and snack on fresh fruits or salads if there really isn’t enough time for preparation or cooking.
- Plan your day and remind yourself of your breaks – ensure you take breaks throughout the day and set aside a time to eat breakfast and lunch. Stick to your plan by setting up notifications or alarms to remind you of your breaks. Remember that hunger could distract you and impede your flow and ultimately affect your performance.
- Choose and portion your snacking – if you really cannot avoid taking snacks in between meals, or if hunger pangs strike, pick up the right ones - nuts, seeds, fruit or vegetables are healthy choices. It would be wise to portion and plan the timing of your snacks in advance to help ensure you don’t binge or replace full meals.
- Stay hydrated – instead of taking that second or third cup of coffee or other sugary beverages, ensure you take enough water during the day. Keep a full cup of water in your workplace – or even a full bottle, consume and refill regularly. Having a cup or bottle of water beside you would be a reminder for you to take a drink.
Healthy living takes mindfulness and should be intentional. Observe your environment and start to identify what you can change little by little to get into the groove. Preparing well and sticking to a plan would help you get into a rhythm and start you with building these good habits.