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Pack it Up - The Guide to a Healthy Lunch

Pack it Up - The Guide to a Healthy Lunch

It sounds good in theory, right? Before you go to work, just simply pack a quick, protein-rich salad lunch, maybe an apple for a snack, and voila – you’re eating healthy Bob Harper-style and sticking to your diet plan. And then reality sets in. The morning gets hectic, and you don’t even have time for breakfast, let alone packing lunches and snacks. And before you know it, you’re sitting at your desk, elbow-deep in a greasy breakfast burrito and sugary latte. Or, maybe you do find the time to pack your lean lunch, but, lo-and-behold, it’s a coworker’s birthday, or last day, or first day, or anniversary, and there’s a big box of fresh doughnuts waiting when you walk in the office door. And when you sugar-crash an hour later, you’re regretting every decadent bite.

Eating healthy at work is a crucial piece of meeting your fitness goals. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Definitely. And since an estimated 70% of Americans eat at our desks a few times per week, help is clearly needed. Read on for our top 5 tips on eating healthy at work, no matter what.

  1. Plan ahead with a few basics. You know how you can build a whole wardrobe on a few staple articles of clothing, and then jazz them up with various accessories? You can take this philosophy with meal planning as well. Carve out some time on a Sunday or Monday evening and prepare a few days’ worth of a couple staples, such as beans, chicken, ground turkey, flash-sautéed veggies, or lentils, in whatever combination you prefer, making sure to add plenty of protein. Then accessorize each day with various flavor additions. Perhaps add curry seasoning to one day, salsa and cheese to another, and soy sauce with brown rice to a third. Put some fresh veggies, herbs, or nuts and seeds in different containers to add in right before you eat it. Make sure that however you prepare each day’s meal, you’re going to be excited to eat it.

  2. Treat yourself. At the end of your healthy lunch, treat yourself to a calorie-free beverage that you only allow yourself to have at work. Stroll the beverage aisle of various grocery stores for inspiration, or check out this list https://www.thedailymeal.com/drink/20-zero-calorie-drinks-slideshow?page=list .

  3. Move it. Tempted by your coworker’s latest baking creation, or the chocolate-on-chocolate birthday cake in the kitchen? Make yourself take a walk first. Taking a brisk walk after you eat, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, has a multitude of benefits. It can boost your energy, make your afternoon more productive, help you reach your daily step goal, and can help you resist the temptations for sweets.

  4. Stay hydrated. Glugging a giant glass of water can help you control your eating anytime, but it can be especially helpful at work. When you find yourself tempted to hit the gummy bears in the vending machine, drink several ounces of water, wait a few minutes, and you might find that the craving passes by.

  5. Cheat the system. If you’ve already burned through your sensible lunch and healthy snacks, and you still find yourself with the munchies, indulge in some low-calorie options. We love air-popped popcorn, salted rice cakes, microwaveable edamame, sugar-free sour or minty mints, or sugar-free hard candies. While we don’t love a lot of the artificial sweeteners in some of these products, a little bit can go a long way in keeping cravings for calorie-rich foods at bay.  

Your healthy eating plan doesn’t have to take a nosedive at work. Making this effort will not only lead to more energy, and your goals being met more quickly, but it will save you money and time as well. Be sure to ask your Fitness Together trainer for other ideas or advice on how build delicious and healthy workplace lunches and snacks.