Working from home (or anywhere with an Internet connection) certainly has its perks; what it also involves, however, is the potential to expand your waistline. Whether you’re tempted to snack 24/7 or feel too frazzled to “switch off” at lunch or dinner for preparing healthy meals, you’re not alone.
Here are five tips to help ensure that you’re getting solid nutrition and avoiding the afternoon slump:
1. Noshing on protein is your jet fuel.
Some folks swear by two to three cups of joe in the morning; however, our bodies respond even better to an influx of protein at crucial points in the day. So reach for that hard-boiled egg, or keep a bag of peanuts or almonds handy as you’re working. If portion size is an issue, count out what you need (10 or so per serving) before you begin munching. Then you can plow ahead with renewed focus as you tick items off your to-do list.
2. Consume any coffee or tea in moderation.
While the burst of energy that caffeine offers seems to supercharge any groggy start, it’s important to be judicious about how much you’re taking in. Why? Ingesting more than 250 milligrams (about two 8-oz. mugs) of caffeine has been shown to make us jittery rather than energized—not exactly a good look for your next high stakes video meeting. The less you drink, the more you’ll see that a smaller amount can still have a worthwhile impact without the less desirable side effects.
3. Switch to water in the afternoon.
You probably already know that experts recommend that adults drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. If you’re part of the majority who aren’t getting enough fluids, fill up a water bottle and be sure to sip throughout your day. Not only will you avoid headaches and drowsiness, you’ll be better hydrated with good old H2O than if you opted for sweetened or carbonated drinks. Bonus: you’ll spare yourself 150 calories or more.
4. Keep cravings at bay with nutritious fats and sugars.
Fat shouldn’t be a gasp inducing word. We’re designed to eat it and burn it, so don’t fall for the fat-free or low-fat options that often contain a bunch of unnecessary sugar. Instead, have avocado with tuna or make a leafy salad with olive oil, salt, and pepper; enjoy a tasty date, banana, or a few cubes of dark chocolate (a good source of antioxidants) and be confident that you won’t be reaching for potato chips or candy bars anytime soon.
5. Remember: “good for you” doesn’t mean complicated.
It can seem as though healthy eating requires a degree in nutrition, or at least a time-consuming commitment to preparation. In reality, you have many options for wholesome snacks and lunches that don’t take more than an hour, max. Sprinkle cauliflower with salt and olive oil, roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, and you’ve got a nourishing snack that’ll last for days. Or, save time by chomping on grapes or spooning some hummus onto a plate with veggies or a few baked pita chips.
When you can build good nutrition into your daily routine, you’ll feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally—making you a more productive professional and an all-around happier person. Share the above tips if you know of a friend or colleague who’d be interested in small steps that have a big impact. Once you successfully reduce the friction involved in making smart choices, you’ll be well on your way to a more rewarding remote lifestyle.
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