eating healthy while working from home

Eating Healthy While Working From Home [8 bullet-proof tips]

Learn how to eat better while working from home during the coronavirus health crisis. Eating healthy during the coronavirus global pandemic is crucial for maintaining good health, fighting stress, and avoiding burnout. This doesn’t mean going on a diet but changing your diet. Choose healthier foods, establish better eating habits, and enjoy food.

Introduction

You may ask yourself — why eat healthily at all during a global crisis? And rightly so — times are hard, working from home is hard, and a lot of people have turned to food for comfort.

Pizza, chocolate, ice-cream, hamburgers, you name it! Being in lockdown, and working, is stressful and exhausting for all. We deserve a treat!

But, unfortunately, this prolonged period of self-isolation has lasted longer than anybody anticipated.  Along with it, our junk food eating habits escalated leading us to curvier bodies and chubbier cheeks, in just a matter of months.

A lot of people have realized that, if this is the new norm, and we are all working from home now, we should all re-examine our food choices and eating habits.

Surely you don’t plan on living off junk food, thinking that you can get away with gorging on massive amounts of chocolate, just because you’re feeling coronavirus related stress?

As a lifelong yo-yo dieter, and a freelance writer working from home, I have seen the ups and downs of different food choices. I will tell you what I have learned over the years and help you choose to eat healthy while working from home.

Benefits and drawbacks of eating healthy while working from home.

I know that “healthy food” isn’t as tasty as junk food. I know it all too well (sigh).

But, numerous benefits of healthy food outweigh the tastiness of junk food. Don’t concentrate on immediate satisfaction.

It is hard to stay away from chasing instant gratification that came along with the modern lifestyle. But, think about what is good for your body in the long run. 

Once you realize that good health can be easily attainable through healthy food choices, you will never look back.

Benefits.

More concentration.

Remote working requires more concentration than a normal office job. Your home is filled with distractions, making it so hard to do any work. Eating healthy while working from home isn’t easy.

When we feel stressed, a lot of us turn to pizza or chocolate for comfort. Unfortunately, their effects are short-lived. Very quickly you feel nervous, with more cravings than before, leading to more stress.

Healthy food lowers your stress levels, builds up concentration, and minimizes cravings.

Balance your mood.

You will not be moody anymore. Being moody is not a part of your character, but a direct result of unhealthy eating regime. When you start eating healthy while working from home, you will feel relaxed, concentrated, and content.

Higher energy levels.

Did you notice that after a large pizza, or any big family meal, you would just like to lie down and rest? Your mind is so busy focusing on digestion, and can’t do anything else.

When you are working from home, this is not an option, simply because you don’t have enough time for naps. You have to do the work.

After a smaller meal that is well-balanced or well-adjusted to your nutritional needs, you will feel energized, and ready for more work. You will be surprised by your body when you see that it doesn’t need a nap in the afternoon. You will stop wasting time being exhausted all day.

Eating healthy while working from home really leads to higher energy levels that are yours to use until evening, but only if you start eating smarter. You can unleash massive amounts of energy that you really need, just by making a few adjustments to your diet.

Eating healthy while working from home

Better weight management.

Stop yo-yo dieting. Stop starving yourself and discover an eating regime that works for you.

I like to skip breakfast. Some people like to skip dinner. I have found that the Keto diet suits me best. Some of my friends are vegetarians. Whatever works for you, stick to it.

Be inspired by Adele’s successful weight loss on the Sirtfood Diet. She claims that a book Untamed by Glennon Doyle changed her outlook on life profoundly.

Once you get into the habit of eating healthy while working from home, sticking to your ideal weight will come naturally.

Better health.

Many studies analyzed the complex relationship between food and health. Nowadays, we have a clearer idea of what foods are healthy and what are bad. It is undeniable that food affects us, our minds, appearance, overall health, social relationships, etc.

Think about this when you are munching on French Fries by the computer. It’s never just a few fries. Think of it as a gateway drug to bad eating habits, bad health, and premature death.

There is a reason why an article in the Washington Post compares fast food to alcohol and drugs. It is seriously addictive and extremely hard to abandon.

Drawbacks.

Learning about nutrition.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say — re-learn or even un-learn. I agree that this is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of research and adjusting your mindset.

It is close to impossible to accept new eating habits. This is a huge part of everyone’s identity, family traditions, and national food customs.

But,

If what you have been eating so far hasn’t given the best results, it’s time to re-think your eating strategy.

There are many new studies in the field of nutrition; new approaches to food that can help people eat better and smarter. I think it’s smart to keep up with the latest developments in any field.

I am not talking about new diets to lose weight, although it is a nice bonus. I am proposing adjusting your diet to be more healthy, nourishing, and beneficial to your body and mind. Invest your time into learning now, so you can feel better tomorrow.

Planning.

A lot of us skip on this part. It is time-consuming, requires energy and effort. A lot of weren’t taught to plan, so it is hard to form a new habit.

But,

if you sit down once a week and take some time to effectively plan out your menu for the upcoming week, you have saved yourself of the torture that is having to come up with new ideas every day, when you’re tired and without inspiration.

If you skip on planning, you are more likely to skip on weekly shopping, as well. Then, all you are left with are an empty fridge and the option of take-away food. This doesn’t lead to eating healthy while working from home at all.

So, do plan. Make it a habit. Set a day for planning your weekly menu, and stick with it.

This will save you so much in the long run — time, money, patience, peace of mind.

Eating healthy while working from home

Shopping.

Going to the shops takes time and money. Let’s admit it, deciding what to buy is exhausting. There are too many choices in the store! Argh! It is easier to pick up the phone and order a pizza.

But,

when you start planning out your weekly menu, you will be able to write down the exact grocery shopping list and do all your shopping once a week. I usually go grocery shopping every Friday. This way I can buy enough fresh produce for the weekend, and cook enough food to prepare for the next week.

If you go shopping more than once a week, every time you need something, you are actually losing more time and money than you should. You are also more likely to pick up unhealthy snacks or junk food that you should be avoiding. Then, eating healthy while working from home comes naturally.

Learning to cook.

This is a lifelong process. You can always improve your cooking skills — chopping, sautéing, flambéing, etc.

Just learning the cooking lingo makes you want to enroll in a French language class first. After all, didn’t Julia Child discover her love for cooking while living in France? It definitely takes time, energy, effort, and talent.

But,

You don’t have to be a pro cook to prepare your own meals. And what’s the rush? You don’t have to set your steak on fire for it to be delicious.

If you are a beginner, or just don’t want to complicate things, choose your battles wisely. There are plenty of recipes for meals ready under 20 minutes, which is faster than your pizza delivery, and healthier.

Eating healthy while working from home

Cooking.

Yes, the actual process of cooking the food is time-consuming and tiring. When I read new recipes, I always check how much time it takes to finish.

The harsh reality is that we live in a fast-paced world, so we usually skip cooking our dinners from scratch and microwave them instead.

But,

Cooking is a wonderful skill that will impress yourself first, then everybody else as well. If you master this skill, you will never again eat a boring meal. You will be able to make a masterpiece with just two eggs.

Just think about all the possibilities… Thai food, Chinese, Cajun, or Italian? Don’t be limited by the offers from your local supermarket. You are just a cookbook away from discovering heaven on a plate, and eating healthy while working from home.

So what if it takes 30 minutes to cook dinner? If you cook with your loved one, it is a great bonding experience.

eating healthy while working from home

How to accomplish eating healthy while working from home?

1. Plan

Write a plan and stick to it. Sounds simple? Well…

I worked for a small-scale IT company for a short while. What I learned from them is the importance of making a good plan. Every Monday, the top managers would sit down and write a plan for that week. They would analyze the plan into the smallest details, leaving no room for improvisation or second-guessing.

Their plan was elaborate, and therefore effective. Everybody knew their job, their goals, and their deadlines. Sticking to the plan was a given — no ifs or ands or buts.

When you make your diet plan, write as many details as you can. Even if you are writing your plan on Monday, imagine how you will feel on Friday, and incorporate a healthy burger for Friday lunch, for example.

Alongside the main meals, including snacks and beverages. Specify the quantities. This will help you stay accountable, and when you do the shopping later.

I have found that planning done on one day saves me a lot of time during the week. I used to think about what I’m going to eat for hours. This way, I don’t torture myself with endless possibilities or bad last-minute decisions.

It is important to monitor everything. This way you can draw a conclusion about what’s working for you and what’s not. It’s easy to fall back to mindless snacking and forget about what you have eaten only a couple of hours ago.

You can write a food journal to help you monitor what you eat and drink. There are many apps that you can use to write down every food item, the quantity, calories, etc. Eating healthy while working from home can be simple and fun.

2. Routinize yourself

The first thing that comes to my mind when somebody mentions routine is Steve Jobs. He was famous for a lot of things, but what I found fascinating was his choice of clothes or the lack of it.

Black turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Every single day without exception. How and why he started wearing his uniform is an interesting story by itself.

I think about his minimalistic approach quite often, whenever I have a lot of choices or a hectic schedule. I guess you could say I try to streamline everything in life because of Steve Jobs.

Another famous person, former US President Barrack Obama, had a similar outlook on fashion. He shared his views in a 2012 interview “Obama’s Way” in Vanity Fair.

Obama said,

“You also need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”

Barack Obama

Many other very successful people follow this path to simplifying their lives, like Mark Zuckerberg (gray t-shirt with jeans, black hoodie), and Albert Einstein (gray suit).

Many studies support this idea of simplification. And I agree. Eating healthy while working from home should be made as simple as possible. Working is hard enough.

John Tierney, the co-author of “Willpower,” says,

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy.”

When it comes to food choices, try to make your life easier — simplify, simplify, simplify. Make a feasible plan and stick to it. Routine is your friend. It will take your mind off food and make it available for other things. You will be amazed at how much time you waste thinking about food, what to cook, when to eat, etc. Eating healthy while working from home doesn’t have to be a drag.

3. Don’t skip meals

If you skip breakfast, you may overeat at lunch. Then, you won’t feel like eating dinner, and you will risk going to bed hungry. You will probably feel stressed and not sleep well during the night. You will wake up exhausted in the morning, tired and moody.

This is why it is important to stick to the plan. Write when you will eat the meals and don’t change the plan. If you have to, downsize the breakfast, adapt it if you have to eat on the go, but don’t miss it. Don’t miss out on eating healthy while working from home.


4. It’s not all about food…

Drink smart.

Eating healthy while working from home includes choosing healthy drinks as well. Try to steer away from sugary soft drinks because they have very little nutritional value and the huge amounts of added sugar will make you moody. Opt for plain water, herbal teas, or coffee.

Limit coffee.

While working from home you are mostly stationary, in your home office, staring at a computer monitor, with a big jug of coffee next to it. Coffee is beneficial to health but in smaller amounts.

Limit caffeine intake to reduce anxiety, muscle tremors, decrease heart pressure, maintain healthy sleep patterns, etc.

Use this caffeine safe dose calculator to better determine how much coffee you can take.

Increase hydration.

Sometimes, when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty. Next time you are reaching for a snack, try a glass of water.

Remember the famous survival rule of threes, which says, among other things, that humans can survive without water only for three days. It is more essential for our survival than food.

I will never forget the story of Kim Kardashian connected to an IV drip with before the Met Gala show. Apparently, the vitamins and electrolytes made her skin glow.

Eating healthy while working from home

5. Snacking

Usually, eating healthy while working from home means no snacking. These are just added calories that can discourage you from eating your main meals.

But, it is hard to avoid snacking when you are home, in quarantine, feeling stressed about so much work to do. Also, the fridge is so close, making it almost impossible not to peek in once in a while.

I wrote down one rule for eating that helps me with mindless snacking. That is — never eat at your desk. Always eat at the kitchen table, sit down for a proper meal, like a grown-up.

One of the rules for healthy eating while working from home is choosing healthy snacks. Stuff your fridge with healthier options and avoid all temptation.

A lot of ideas for healthy meals I learned from Lisa from Downshiftology. This is a YouTube channel and a website filled with healthy food recipes and great advice on how to lead a healthier lifestyle in general. I recommend you watch any of her videos, but especially 30 healthy snacks for every craving video, and her meal prepping videos. Those are great for the employed, always pressed for time and energy. Eating healthy while working from home is one click away.

Eating healthy while working from home

6. Learn how to cook

Cook for yourself to save time and money. Find your favorite recipe on YouTube and learn how to make it.

If you refuse to learn your way around the kitchen, you will forever be reliant on unhealthy fast food, take-aways, and expensive restaurants.

YouTube is a great channel for learning new techniques and new inspirational recipes. This way, I learned some Chinese recipes which I constantly use to impress dinner guests.

YouTube is also a great source for old, but forgotten recipes. My grandmother isn’t here to show me how she made her cookies, but I found the exact same recipe on YouTube, which made me jump from joy.

When you are eating healthy while working from home, I found the meal prepping videos most useful. Prepping meals in advance is a great time-saving method that takes care of your wallet, too.

One of my favorite cooks are Domestic Geek and Mike Green from Pro Home Cooks (aka Brothers Green Eats). You should definitely check them out, and see for yourself what videos you like best.

7. Try a new diet and eating regime

Keto diet.

The old, traditional diet filled with pork chops and mashed potatoes, always felt wrong to me. There are so many food combinations, why limit yourself to meat and potatoes. I always felt too full and was overweight, so I decided to explore other options.

My biggest discovery in life is the Keto diet. It is a low-carb, high-fat diet, meant to force your body to run on ketones, instead of sugars.

This type of diet changed my eating regime completely. I am now full of energy, with better concentration, without cravings, and in better overall health. Eating healthy while working from home is not a problem anymore.

I have to give thanks to my “virtual mentors” Keto Connect and Dr.Berg, for guiding me with their advice and sharing new recipes.  

If you still need convincing to give Keto a try, remember that Gwyneth Paltrow, Kourtney Kardashian, and many other celebrities are advocating its benefits.

Try IF.

Intermittent Fasting can be done with any diet you choose. The trick is to set a time interval when you don’t eat. This interval will keep your mind off food, and curb cravings. It is highly effective and recommended to people who work from home because it limits distractions.

eating healthy while working from home

8. Find a mentor/coach/guru

All of us need someone to look up to or to guide us in life. Some of us rely on their family members; some rely on friends or close neighbors. One thing is true — it is a rare thing to have a good mentor in life.

So, in case you are stuck in life, with no guidance of outside help, it is a good idea to opt for unconventional solutions, like paid coaching, or a virtual mentor.

I grew up in a big family, where everyone was heavily overweight. Very quickly I realized that my family’s eating habits are not a path for me. It caused a lot of friction over the years and still does, especially with my mother who bakes and cooks for an army when clearly there is none.

I was still a kid in primary school when I started watching cooking shows on TV. I read every recipe in every cooking book and magazine at home. I learned a lot about how to prepare my own food, and so I did. My first meals were not exceptional, but I got there.

My mentor is not my mother, and that’s OK. I discovered Julia Child (she taught me how to make boeuf bourguignon), Martha Stewart, Ina Garten (chocolate cake), Jamie Oliver, etc.

Now, I am religiously watching new videos every week prepared by cooks on YouTube like Mike Green from Pro Home Cooks, and The Domestic Geek’s Sara. I truly feel like I am among friends when I watch them cook, and I look up to them and trust them fully.

Over the years, experimenting with food lead me to discover what is good for my body, and what is not. I now know better how food affects me, my body, and my mind. On this journey, I found several “virtual mentors” that I follow via their YouTube channels. I will be forever grateful to Dr.Berg, Lisa from Downshiftology and Matt and Megha from Keto Connect, for helping me accept a much different eating lifestyle than my old, and old-fashioned, one. It is hard to change, and they have been and still are a great support system. Everybody should be eating healthy while working from home.

Final Thoughts.

Times are changing, but so can you. Eating healthy while working from home is a challenge for everyone. Adopting new eating habits is always hard, yet so much worth it in the long run.

You have to decide if you want to look like the “Before” photo or “After”. Don’t let a high school reunion of embarrassing family gatherings be the only motivator.

Start by making small changes and see the results immediately. You don’t have to become a vegan right away, just make better choices for your body and mind.

Being healthy at the time of the coronavirus outbreak is hugely important. If you get infected, your body will have more energy to fight off the disease.

It’s high time to take care of your body through a better diet. Eating healthy while working from home will give you enough energy to fight stress and not gain weight in the process.

Let me know what your problems are when working from home. With so much knowledge about healthy eating, don’t let it go to waste.

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