How to Maintain Your Diet in Your Nine to Five Workday
These days, most of us are working a nine to five work day and struggle to keep on track with healthy eating habits. There’s always another lunch meeting, a stressful deadline, or that well-meaning colleague who brings in pastries in the morning, and suddenly your diet is out of the window. While sometimes you need a little willpower to get you through the day, the most important factors in your healthy eating plan are knowledge and preparation. You need foods that will be good for your body and mind, but still give you enough oomph to keep you going until dinner time. Luckily, with the right know-how and little work, you can have meals and snacks that are nutritious and low in calories, bad fats and sugar. However, most importantly of all, they’ll get you through the work day.
The Best Breakfast:
You may be tempted to skip breakfast or pick up a coffee and muffin to go, but you can take care of your wellbeing, prevent at-work hunger and save time with a brilliant breakfast you make at home. Simply throw some banana slices, strawberries and raspberries in a tub with some Greek or plan yoghurt, sprinkle some granola or almond slivers on for crunch and you’ve got a pot of delicious brekkie that’s packed with fibre, potassium and vitamin C (which gives your immune system a boost and even helps reduce dry skin and wrinkles).
If you have a little more time in the morning, an omelette or scrambled eggs with tomatoes, broccoli and red pepper is a great option. The lycopene in tomatoes is a known cancer-preventer, while red pepper contains vision-promoting and bone-strengthening vitamin A. You may think it’s better for your wellness to just use egg whiles but Sally Kravich, author of Vibrant Living, notes, ‘I prefer whole eggs; the yolk is brain food.’
The Magnificent Mid-morning Snack:
Keri Glassman, MS, RD, author of The Snack Factor Diet, advises, ‘Stock up on portion-controlled snacks like yogurt smoothies, reduced-fat cheese sticks and high-fibre crackers and individual-portion soups.’ Fruit and nut bars are another great diet option, as these can appease your sweet tooth while giving you plenty of fibre to keep you going until lunch.
The Leading Lunch:
If you’re brown-bagging it, make your own fresh salad at home. Mixed greens have nine times the vitamin K of iceberg lettuce, so fill a plastic, resealable bag with these and tomatoes, a chopped hardboiled egg, sun flower seeds, low-fat grated cheese and sliced chicken breasts. Drizzle on a little olive oil mixed with red wine vinegar or lemon juice with a splash of light soy sauce.
For business lunches or those times when you can’t make it at home, order a whole-grain sandwich or wrap with protein-rich turkey or tuna. Kravich warns against white bread in the middle of the working day, as ‘white flour will make you feel tired and sluggish.’ A vegetable or broth soup is also a good option.
The Marvellous Mid-afternoon Snack:
Instead of heading to the vending machine at 4pm, smear some natural peanut butter onto an apple or celery sticks. Kravich recommends hummus and carrot sticks, or salsa with tortilla crisps, if you fancy something a little saltier. Glassman adds, ‘If you must have candy, instead of a handful of jelly beans, indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate as you sip on herbal or green tea.’ You can always return to plain or Greek yoghurt for a low calorie sweet treat, just drizzle a little honey or add some fruit for flavour.