[fusion_text]It’s hard to balance a healthy diet and optimize nutrition with the demands of work. We often feel we don’t have time to prepare homemade meals, or not enough time to stop and eat at work. That can cause us to reach for low-quality but available snacks like chips and soda. Those might give you some quick energy, but they provide very little in terms of actual nutrition. Here are some tips to chase away hunger at work and avoid those trips to the vending machine:
High quality carbohydrates. Don’t buy into the fad diets—your body needs carbs. It just prefers complex carbs found in vegetables and whole grains over the simple carbs that you find in processed foods, like refined sugar and corn syrup. Foods like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, potatoes, beans and lentils are all complex carbs. Compared with simple carbs, they’re better at providing your body with energy, and they keep you full for longer.
Shake it up. Don’t have time to cook a whole meal? Fire up that blender. A quick shake or smoothie is a good way to grab something on the go. Try yogurt (especially the low-fat or nonfat kinds) blended with a banana, ice, water, and any fruit you have on hand. If you’re up for it, add some vegetables. Carrots blend well with fruit, avocado improves the texture, and baby spinach adds a leafy green without tasting too pungent.
Don’t skip meals. For most people, the old wisdom rings true—don’t skip breakfast. Even a bowl of cereal, yogurt or a piece of fruit are preferable to nothing at all. Make sure you get a lunch break, too—in most states, employers are required by law to provide a “meal period” for workers whose shift exceeds a certain amount of hours (usually 5+).
Meal Prep. No one wants to cook after a long day at work. So instead of cooking every day, try preparing your meals in advance. Cook enough food for three to four days and portion it out in containers. Each prepared meal should have a protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable component. Label the containers (“Dinner,” “Wednesday”) and make sure to make a few different dishes so you don’t get sick of the same thing.
Stay Hydrated. This is so important, but people still don’t drink enough water. The U.S. health department recommends a half gallon of water a day, though this can vary based on your age, size, the climate, and the kind of work . In general, use the “8×8 rule”—eight 8oz servings of water per day.