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How to Eat Healthy at Work

Toni-Ann DiSantis

How to Eat Healthy at Work

You spend most of your waking hours at work, so it’s no surprise that your workplace nutrition habits have a major impact on your health. But did you know that proper workplace nutrition can help you get ahead? Studies show that people who binge eat are less productive at work and that overweight and obese workers earn 15 percent less on average than their healthy-weight counterparts. Use the tips below to stay energized, productive, and fueled at the office.

Workplace Nutrition by the Numbers

12%
Amount that obese employees are more likely to binge eat at work.

$107,965
Estimated cost of annual productivity loss related to binge eating for a company of 1,000 employees.

7 Easy Ways to Start Eating Healthier at Work

1.     Ditch the junk. Empty your candy bowl and get rid of chips, crackers, and other unhealthy snacks stashed in your desk. The less you’re tempted by junk food, the healthier you’ll eat.

2.     Make time for meals. It’s easy to forget to eat when you’re slammed at the office. Block off 30 minutes each day to walk away from your desk and eat a healthy meal. You’ll come back refreshed and re-energized.

3.     Bring leftovers. Make an extra portion when you’re cooking dinner each night, and you’ll have a healthy lunch to take to the office the next day. You’ll also save money by doing this.

4.     Plan your meals. If you know you’re going to eat two or three meals and two snacks at the office, plan ahead. Coming prepared will help you avoid getting too hungry and indulging on unhealthy junk food. Click here for a sample meal plan for a perfect day of eating at the office.

5.     Keep snacks at your desk. Forget vending. Instead, stock your desk drawer with dried fruit, packaged tuna, jerky, nuts, snack bars, and applesauce. If you have a mini fridge, stock up on fat-free yogurt, fresh veggies, and bottled water.

6.     Bring in a water bottle. Start each day with a full bottle of water at your desk and make an effort to drink water often starting first thing in the morning. You’ll stay hydrated and energized.

7.     Choose balanced snacks. When planning snacks for work, choose snacks with a combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins to boost your metabolism, increase energy, and feel fuller longer, such as a peanut butter and banana sandwich or an apple with a handful of almonds.

15 Healthy Snacks for the Office

Come to work prepared with healthy snacks, and you’ll improve focus, increase productivity, and avoid packing on pounds. Here are fifteen snack foods to help you stay satisfied.

1.     Walnuts – Walnuts are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Pair a handful of walnuts with a piece of low-fat cheese, your favorite fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal for a fiber-rich morning snack that will help you feel full longer.

2.     Apples – Apples are loaded with pectin, which helps suppress your appetite. Eating an apple mid-day helps control blood sugar and may aid in weight loss. Have it with a spoonful of nut butter (cashew, peanut, almond) to add muscle-building protein and healthy fat.

3.     Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Plus, it contains healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, to keep your digestive tract healthy. Top 6 to 8 ounces of Greek Yogurt with ¾ cup of berries for a mid-day snack.

4.     Green Tea – Research has shown that green tea helps lower cholesterol and decreases the risk of diabetes and stroke. What’s more, it boosts metabolism to help you burn fat. Drink two to three cups of green tea throughout the day to reap the benefits. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, don’t drink green tea after 3 p.m.

5.     Beef Jerky – Beef jerky is a great source of protein and comes in a bunch of flavors for variety. Opt for the 96% fat-free jerky when possible. Eat 1 to 2 servings of jerky with a piece of fruit, such as an apple or pear, for a balanced snack.

6.     Oatmeal and Blueberries – Complex carbs like oatmeal provide steady, long-lasting energy, and help you feel full longer. Top off 1/2 cup of hot oats with 1 cup of fresh blueberries, which are packed with nutrients that help promote brain function.

7.     Spinach Salad – Mix up a fresh salad with 2 cups of spinach (rich in energy-boosting magnesium), 1 cup of antioxidant-packed strawberries, and 1/2 cup of black beans and one large hard-boiled egg for extra protein.

8.     Oranges and Almonds – Staying hydrated helps you stay energized. In addition to drinking water throughout the day, eat fruits like oranges, which are 90 percent water. Pair one large orange with an ounce of raw almonds, which are loaded with fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fat.

9.     Carrots and Hummus – 10 carrots pair well with 1/2 cup of hummus. This low-calorie combo is packed with beta-carotene, fiber, and healthy fat to help you feel full throughout the afternoon.

10.   Low-Fat Cottage Cheese and Pineapple – Half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium, while 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple offers a sweet topping that can decrease inflammation in the body and improve digestion.

11.   Yogurt, Granola, and Cherries – Yogurt contains probiotics, which are known as the good bacteria needed for a healthy digestive tract. Add some crunch to 1 cup of yogurt by mixing in 1 cup of low-fat, fiber-rich granola and 1/2 cup of dark cherries for a punch of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

12.   Kashi Cherry Chocolate Granola Bar – While an unprocessed snack of fresh fruits and veggies is preferable, stock your desk drawer with granola bars to bail you out when you're crunched for time. Kashi granola bars are packed with fiber, and they make a great on-the-go snack.

13.   Pear and Cheese – This simple snack is low in calories and perfect for portion control. A pear and a fat-free mozzarella cheese stick are rich in calcium, vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

14.   Apple and Almond Butter – Pair an apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter for a heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering snack packed with healthy fat and fiber.

Edamame – Snack on a 1/2 cup of edamame for a delicious, calorie-controlled snack that's rich in fiber and protein. You can buy edamame fresh at the supermarket or keep a bag of frozen edamame in the freezer.