Working from home offers many awesome benefits—hello, pants optional! Corporate America, too, is catching on to the awesomeness that is working remote which is changing the workforce landscape for the first time in generations. As of 2017, 3.9 million Americans worked remote at least some of the time, according to a recent study. With all the obvious upsides, there is one piece of remote work that can be a struggle: maintaining mindful eating habits throughout the day.
When working from home, access to the fridge, isolation, and boredom can all lead to wonky eating habits that otherwise would be a non-issue. Here are some ways to keep the noshing normal for all those lucky enough to call home your office.
5 Mindful Eating Habits For Remote Workers
While one of the perks of working from home is quick access to the kitchen to make food, it can also be a pitfall during the ebb and flow of a workday. Here’s a common remote worker scenario—you assume you’ll have time to whip something up for lunch. All of sudden a time-sensitive assignment comes in. Everything in the house will take too long to make. You end up not eating, or grabbing unhealthy snacks to stave off hunger.
Since remote workers don’t generally pack a lunch, they miss out on ready-to-go meals during busy days. Avoid this by meal prepping at the start of your week. Grocery shop with breakfasts and lunches in mind. Buy both items that you can make (if time allows), as well as grab-and-go snacks—like Perfect Bars! Make large batches of your dinner, then pack leftovers in lunch-sized containers, so that it’s quick and easy to heat up. Cut up veggies that you can eat raw for snacks, or quickly throw into an omelet. If you’re prepared for any situation, your future-self will thank you!
Try Eating Smaller Portions or Snacks Throughout the Day
There are medical studies and sources that promote the health benefits of eating smaller meals or portions throughout the day. As a general practice, its really a lifestyle choice, dependent on factors like appetite, dietary restrictions, metabolism, etc. However, if you’re finding yourself eating more frequently while working from home due to the availability of food or boredom, smaller portions can be a tactic to stay mindful.
Cut down your meal portions for breakfast and lunch. Then you can have snacks throughout the day and stay within your eating regimen or diet. For example, eat a light breakfast then an hour or so later, grab a snack (banana, berries, cut-up fruit). Dip some veggies in hummus. This is where your meal prepping will come in handy! Even cut up a Perfect Bar for an AM and PM treat between meals. (My fave is Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter)
Pro tip- buying smaller containers to eat food out of like ramekins or fun little bowls will trick you into eating more appropriate servings.
Know the Difference Between Restlessness and Hunger
We’ve all been there—mindlessly munching on food because you’re bored or restless. Remote workers can relate to this all too well. Say you’ve been working on the same (redundant) task all afternoon, you already ate lunch and your healthy snack. There’s no co-worker to go shoot the breeze with, you’re restless. Unless you’re legitimately hungry, (learn more about intuitive eating here) try practicing mindful eating habits and give yourself a break! And try one of the below activities:
- Legs up the wall- a simple exercise where you lay with your back on the ground, scout up to a wall and put your legs up, it’s also helpful to splay your arms out like the letter T. Bonus- this easy yoga pose can also help reduce stress.
- Walk around the block– not only will you get outside, get the blood flowing, and breathe fresh air—a quick walk has been shown to increase creativity
- Read for 10-15 minutes– sometimes you need to take your mind off work and a break from the screen (i.e., read an actual book, newspaper, or article, don’t scroll social media)
- Meditate– if you’re feeling restless and antsy, meditation can be a quick fix. Not great at shutting off your brain? Try free guided meditations apps like Insight Timer or Headspace.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, remote workers often adopt unhealthy eating patterns due to restlessness and boredom. Instead of only sipping on your water bottle, introduce healthy beverages into your routine that will offer a nice break and change to your day.
Start an afternoon tea practice. Green tea will give you a small boost of caffeine (much lower than coffee) with numerous other advantages like high antioxidants. If you like to sip warm beverages, but don’t want to OD on coffee or green tree, you can also implement other caffeine-free herbal teas. Even switch it up with natural fruit juices or sparkling water. Just make sure to avoid sugary or processed drinks, and don’t decrease water consumption.
Try a Change of Scenery
Lastly, if you feel like you just can’t stay mindful about eating while at your house, consider working somewhere else. The beauty of remote work is that it can generally be done from anywhere! Try a coffee shop or local library, even a co-working space. The drawback is that you might incur expenses from working outside your home office. But a cup of tea is inexpensive and a change in environment, even for a few hours, can help you stay focused and on-track with mindful eating.
People think that working from home is easier to stay on track with your diet—no office lunches, less take-out/fast food, no bagels in the breakroom, etc. Yet working from home comes with its own unique challenges. Creating a healthy work-life balance can be difficult when your work and life both occur in the same space. Implement these five steps into your routine to maintain healthy and mindful eating habits while working from home.