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Seven Ways to Make Your Workday Healthier

May-01-2019

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When you’re busy or stressed at work, it’s easy to get stuck making unhealthy choices. You may skip lunch, binge on junk food and get stuck sitting at your desk all day. But never fear, making healthier choices doesn’t have to be another task you add to your day. You can take some easy steps and before you know it, these healthier choices will be new healthy habits!

Be aware of your triggers. It’s easy to give in to a vending machine candy bar or leftover birthday cake when you’re stressed and hungry. Studies have shown that eating food from vending machines or cafeterias at work adds an average of 1,300 calories to an employee’s weekly diet. That’s a lot of empty calories! Be prepared and have healthy alternatives stocked up before disaster strikes, such as dried fruit, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, granola bars, low-fat yogurt, raw fruits and veggies, soup, nuts and low- salt pretzels. Do your best to avoid the dreaded food desk. While tempting, it is often filled with leftover pastries, cookie, chips and other unhealthy treats.

Eat breakfast. To prevent overeating during the workday (and improve your concentration), always make sure you eat breakfast. If you don’t have time before you leave the house, bring breakfast with you or keep options in your desk drawer. Try higher protein foods, which will keep you full longer so you can power through your day, hunger-free until lunch. Protein bars, peanut butter, oatmeal, whole grain toast and fresh fruit are all easy healthy ways to get in a healthy, filling breakfast.

Pay attention to your coffee. It’s easy to add extra calories to your morning if you stop for coffee on your way into work. It’s easy to be tempted by new signature drinks that contain extra sugar, whipped cream and syrups. Try your coffee with stevia, honey or coconut sugar, and low-fat milk instead of creamer.

Get your steps in. Set reminders to get up once every hour. Apple watches, Fitbits® and pedometers are  easy ways to track the number of steps you take a day. Challenge your coworkers, schedule walks for your lunch or plan a walking meeting. Moving around and seeing new things can help you clear your head and focus. Instead of calling or emailing a coworker, get up and walk to their desk.

Plan your lunch. Sometimes you’re focused on what you’re doing and forget to step away for lunch. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you avoid fast food trips, or skipping lunch altogether. Planning and preparing all your meals on a Sunday takes a short amount of time and helps you stick to a healthier diet during the week. For easy, healthy lunches, try salads with dressing on the side, low-sodium soups, hummus with veggies, or fresh fruits with yogurt dip. It can also help to schedule yourself an email or phone reminder to set aside 15-20 minutes to eat.

Strategize for meetings. When you’re in a meeting, it can be tempting to reach for a donut, muffin or cookie. After all, it’s free and there to be eaten, right? Before committing to a high-fat, high-sugar option, try looking for some healthier options to replace or offset a pastry, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, water and sugar alternatives for coffee.

Prepare yourself for late afternoon. Like many, you may experience a sluggish feeling towards the end of the work day. Before you know it, you realize just how tired you are and suddenly a wave of hunger washes over you. To compensate for these feelings, you might look to a sugary drink or snack. However, studies show that feeling tired or hungry can actually be caused by dehydration. Before reaching for a soda or candy bar, try having some water. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, you can add fresh fruit, such as strawberries or lemon slices to spice it up.

Want more health information? Visit www.meritain.com

*This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.