When you're trying to improve your health, navigating your workplace can be one of your biggest challenges. From long meetings and office celebrations, to coworkers bringing in food to share, the office can feel like it’s working against you. But building healthy habits in the office does not have to be a daunting task. The key to becoming healthier is to learn how to navigate these tricky situations so you can make small changes each day.
Here are five tips to help you become healthier, even if your job requires sitting throughout the day.
1) Eat a wholesome and quick breakfast before you step out the door. If you're rushed for time, set aside a time earlier in the week to plan for and prepare quick breakfasts for the week. It does not have to be a three-course meal. A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread is a satisfying and wholesome breakfast. Having a grab-and-go breakfast makes it easier to avoid eating the donuts at your office or coffee shop muffins. See our recent post about quick and healthy breakfast ideas.
2) Plan for physical activity breaks. Instead of staring at a screen during breaks, take a walk around the building or stretch it out at your desk. If there's a bathroom on a different floor, use that one instead of the one closer to your desk. Instead of sending an email to a coworker, walk to discuss with them in person. These activity breaks will refresh your mind, help break up the day and actually increase your productivity.
3) Keep a stash of healthy snacks in your desk. Having healthier options on hand makes it easier to pass on the not-so-healthy choices. Shelf-stable options such as dried fruit, trail mix, protein bars, and nuts or nut butters are great options. If your office has a refrigerator, bring in single packs of yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, apples or hard boiled eggs.
4) Take a real lunch break. Many of us feel the need to eat at our desks while working on a quick email or other small tasks. But taking a real lunch break where you walk away from your desk and eat your food without distractions goes a long way in building a healthy relationship with food. Focusing on your food and enjoying the tastes, even if it's only for 15 minutes, will help you understand and recognize your hunger and fullness cues.
5) And finally, bring your own lunch to work. Restaurants and fast-food places often serve larger portions and this can lead to overeating. Packing your own food gives you more control over your health.
Creating healthy habits in the workplace will help you accomplish your health goals. All changes will take time, but adding one new healthy habit at a time will ensure you are healthy for years to come. Encourage your coworkers to join you in your journey towards health. If you are interested in learning more about creating a healthy work environment and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays please download our brochure.
Written by: Denee Bex, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern.
1. My Fitness Pal