There are many benefits of working from home. You don’t have to dress every day formally, you save a lot of time and money on the commute, and your schedule can be a lot more flexible. Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused the world to shut down, it was reported that more than 3.9 million Americans worked remotely for at least some time.
However, it has its set of drawbacks as well – and the biggest one may be your kitchen.
While working from home, you have full access to your fridge. In addition to that, you don’t have any colleagues to chat up with to kill time when the work gets a bit too redundant. This combination can lead to wonky eating that otherwise may not have been an issue.
But don’t lose hope – there are ways you can remain mindful about eating and prevent yourself from mindlessly finishing that 2-litre tub of chocolate chip ice cream in half a day.
Here are some eating tips you should follow if you’re still working remotely.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Yes, you have full access to your kitchen, leading you to eat all you can have. However, you can use this convenience to your advantage instead. All the time you save on commuting can be put to good use if you spend some of it in the kitchen. Instead of thinking ‘I’ll whip something up when I’m hungry,’ do some meal prepping at the start of the week.
Make large batches of food and store them in separate containers so you can easily warm them up when needed. Not only will this make your workweek a little easier, but being well-fed throughout the day will reduce your urge to grab unhealthy snacks when you’re feeling hungry.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
The reason most remote workers end up developing unhealthy eating patterns is that they confuse thirst, boredom, and restlessness with hunger. With that many misconceptions, you are bound to eat a lot more than required. You can avoid this by increasing your fluid intake. However, this does not mean you should be gulping down bottles of sugary drinks and soda.
Water is your best bet when you’re feeling hungry. Whenever you feel the need to eat something, drink a tall glass of water instead. The chances are that 20 minutes later, you won’t feel hungry anymore. If you do, opt to eat something healthy and nutritious, such as nuts or Greek yoghurt. If only drinking water sounds too boring, you can pick from a plethora of healthy beverages such as green tea, black coffee, sparkling water, and natural fruit juice. Just make sure not to decrease your water intake.
Take Breaks From Your Work To Eat Mindfully
It is very easy to binge on your food if you’re eating with one hand and typing away with the other. When your entire focus is on your work, you will not be able to pay enough attention to your food. As a result, you won’t notice when you’re full until after you’ve eaten too much.
Take a break from your laptop and computer and put away your phone. Be present at the moment while you eat and take the time to enjoy each bite. This will make you more aware of how much you’re eating and will help you feel more satisfied with the food. The awareness of feeling full will prevent you from overeating.
Store Healthy Snacks Around The House
No matter how much you plan your meals or how much water you drink, there will be times when you’ll feel untimely hungry. You’ll be tempted to reach for the first edible thing that catches your eye. To avoid eating unhealthy junk food during these moments, stock up your fridge and shelves with healthy snacks instead. Because if the first thing you come across is whole grain bread and hummus, what excuse will you have to look for something unhealthy instead?
Choose snacks that have high fibre, protein, and healthy fats and store them in singular potions sizes. These help you stay fuller for longer. Even if you do have some not-so-healthy foods around your house, store them in places that are harder to access. This way, you’ll only consume them when you feel like eating them. Remember that it is okay to indulge sometimes. Just don’t make it a daily habit, and you’ll be good.
No Food in Your Work Area
It is a good idea to dedicate a specific place of your home just to work. However, it is equally important to keep this workspace free of food. Instead, keep a large bottle of water. This way, whenever you feel hungry, you’ll first reach for your water bottle instead of going all the way to the kitchen for a snack. Having a snack near your workspace will also increase your temptation to eat it, even if you’re not hungry.
Watch Your Caffeine Intake
If you’re working from home, you probably have large reserves of coffee (or tea) stashed in your kitchen cabinets. This may seem like a good idea to help you stay fresh throughout the day, but only if you remain smart about your consumption. Too much caffeine can cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues, and even fatigue.
These conditions are never perfect but can make things particularly hard when you’re working from home. Limit yourself to two cups of coffee per day. Avoid high-calorie add-ins such as flavoured creamers and opt for black coffee without sugar. If the taste is too strong, you can add honey or Stevia. Within a few days, you’ll get used to this new taste.
Whether you’re working from home temporarily or have a long-term gig, it is better to take one day at a time and make the best choices for your diet and health.