Eating healthy and being at work may sound like two mutually exclusive ideas…..BUT it’s not!
I’ve worked in corporate settings for over 12 years and have seen lots of opportunities for making healthy eating even easier in the workplace.
That’s why I’m sharing my 3 best tips to make eating healthy at work radically easier!
Tip #1: Drink Water First
Most people get to work and start their day with a strong cup of coffee. But did you know that just a 1% drop in hydration levels in your body can cause an impact on your mental cognition? You may have felt this at one time or another. Things like brain fog, thinking really slowly, or not being able to understand new concepts or problem solve as quickly as you typically would. This could all be related back to your hydration.
That’s why I recommend starting your day with a tall glass of water. This rehydrates your body after having been asleep and not drinking water. It allows all of your body’s organs to get primed up and ready for the day, including your brain.
You can also apply this concept to before meals or snacks. If you drink a glass of water before eating, it helps to ensure that your hunger levels are not just because you haven’t been drinking enough water during the day. And it will help your digestive system to work better too!
For all my nutrition coaching clients, I start them on a simple goal of drinking more water. The goal is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily e.g. If I weigh 200 lbs, then I would aim to drink at least 100 oz of water daily. If you take any medications that are diuretics or you sweat a lot due to physical activity, you would want to increase this goal amount by at least 8 oz.
Infuse your water with sliced citrus fruits, berries or even herbs for more flavor and help you drink more water more easily too!
Tip #2: Create a Blood Sugar Balancing Lunch
Do you ever get super tired after lunch? I did too! Until I understood that a lot of refined carbohydrates at lunch were making me sleepy, bloated and have low energy.
Why does this happen? Initially, after you eat refined carbs or drink sugary drinks like soda, your blood sugar levels increase rapidly, making you feel really good and energized… for a little while. Soon after, your pancreas produces insulin, which lowers your blood sugar levels quickly, trying to get your blood sugar back to homeostasis. However, when this rapid decrease in blood sugar levels happens, you feel sluggish and tired.
To combat this tired feeling, you might reach for an afternoon sweet coffee or candy bar to increase your blood sugar levels again. Then your blood sugar levels increase rapidly, followed by insulin decreasing your blood sugar levels quickly too. This is what I call the blood sugar rollercoaster. When this happens, fat burning and fat loss stop as well.
So what we want to do is help our blood sugar levels to be as balanced as possible, and prevent the rollercoaster from happening.
How do we do this?
By eating a Blood Sugar Balancing Lunch.
This means having all 4 of these components in your lunch.
- Protein: the building block of all of our cells. Protein can come from animals e.g. chicken, tuna, beef, pork, as well as vegetables like beans and legumes. Protein keeps you fuller for longer too!
- Healthy Fats: essential for cell-to-cell communication for your hormones, and it helps slow down your digestion too. Examples are olive oil or avocado oil used in salad dressings, nuts/seeds, avocado, coconut, etc.
- Fiber-rich veggies: fiber helps our digestion and helps us feel full too. Try some of these fiber-full veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy in your lunch.
- Greens: I love greens because they are a powerhouse of nutrients! Whether it’s spinach on your sandwich or sauteed kale in your stir fry, greens are filled with vitamins, minerals, powerful antioxidants, and a special compound that helps you to feel full too.
All of these ingredients help you to balance your blood sugar levels naturally, stay comfortably full and satiated, and have better energy throughout the work day.
If adding all 4 of these ingredients to your lunches sounds overwhelming for you, don’t worry. Just pick one of these ingredients to add to your lunch for a week or two. Then when you’ve got this down, add in another ingredient till it becomes a habit too. If you eat out at lunch, most restaurants are also very accommodating to any changes you want to make to your meals too. You’ll be surprised at how these little tweaks to your lunches can help you to feel more energized, and more productive and may even help boost weight loss!
Tip #3: Secretly Healthy Snacks
Do you love having something sweet in the afternoon? Me too! That’s why I love having secretly healthy snacks ready. They help curb that sweet tooth and I know they are good for me too.
Some easy low or no prep snacks are things like low sugar protein bars from the store, sliced apples and a tablespoon of nut butter to dip the apples in, and a high protein Greek Yogurt with berries and some stevia-sweetened chocolate chips!
Alternatively, make one of my favorite homemade protein balls, my Cherry Almond Protein Bars. They last all week in the fridge and are awesome for kids’ lunches if they are able to take nut products to school.
Here’s the recipe from my #1 Amazon New Release Cookbook, Nourish Your Body: A 30 Day Healthy and Delicious Meal Plan:
Cherry Almond Protein Bars
- 1 cup Raw Almonds
- 1 cup Raw Medjool dates, soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes, then drained
- 3 tbsp Vanilla Protein Powder
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, no added sugar
- In a food processor or high-speed blender, add in the almonds and process until roughly chopped. Almond pieces should be pea-size or smaller. Pour out into a bowl.
- Add the dates into the food processor or high-speed blender. Blend the dates until a ball or paste forms.
- Add the chopped almonds and the protein powder into the food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until the mixture is well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. You may need to pour the mixture into a separate bowl and then knead the protein powder into it.
- Add the cherries to the mixture and knead to combine.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper into a baking dish 9”x 9”x2” deep.
- Press the protein bar mixture into the baking dish, forming an even layer.
- Refrigerate the bars for about 30 mins to firm up.
- Prior to serving or storing, slice the bars into equal-sized pieces. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- You can enjoy these protein bars at room temperature too for a more chewy texture.
Check out my cookbook for my easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls. They taste like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and they can be made low/no sugar, gluten-free, vegan, and dairy free!