I’ve promised to share with you more thoughts on how we can live healthy life despite overwhelming work agenda, deadlines, tasks, duties, family management and …well… despite life happening. In the previous post of this series, I wanted to inspire you to get out of chair as much as possible. During my own office days, a good stretch every now and then feels like blessing from heaven. But we are more complex than that. Body and mind require balance, and fueling your stomach with quality food is just as important aspect of our physical selves as moving.
Let’s talk about food that we eat throughout the day. You know that I treat food as fuel. Fuel that gives us energy and supports our health, and at the same time it pleases our taste buds. We are all demanding people that only want the best for ourselves and thus we want our fuel to give us both pleasure and energy/health. Compensating on one or another is not sustainable in long term. Yet, even with the clearest intention to eat healthy stuff in your mind, when stress kicks in and time becomes the most precious commodity, intentions go bust and we reach for what is available. How to deal with these occasions?
1. Start your day with great breakfast.
Many of us are not friends of early morning big meals, nor have time to prepare a feast in the morning, unless it’s weekend. However, breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated.
- It is easier to prepare breakfast the night before and store it in Tupperware. If we don’t feel like eating it before leaving for work, we can always bring it to the office and eat it a bit later, when the stomach is ready for some fuel. At least there is something to look forward to in the office. 🙂
- Let’s take advantage of dinner leftovers. It’s a time saver, if we cook a bit more for dinner and save what’s left for busy morning.
- It is a good idea to precook a few things on Sunday and have it ready to go for 3 days or the whole week not only for breakfast but also for snacking or emergency lunch, if you are not sure you will manage to have a proper one.
My favorite breakfast foods that can be pre-cooked are hard-boiled eggs, egg-muffins or egg frittata (or this one), pre-cooked ground meat that I pair with fresh or pre-roasted veggies (sweet potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, beetroot, celeriac – just spice is up a bit, add sea salt and you have heavenly veggie base).
Once, my colleague was looking for something in my purse, and couldn’t believe, what she found there.”Petra, why the hell do you have a hard boiled egg in your bag?”
Emergency protein and fat in a cute natural portable package. Always prepared. 🙂
My other office morning favorites are Parma ham or smoked salmon. They go well with any vegetables (fresh, roasted, stir-fried) and can also act as an emergency snack.
And if your stomach handles dairy, go for Greek yogurt with some nuts, flakes and berries. Have you tried quark (oh, how I love that thing!)? Treat it just like yogurt, and eat it with nuts and sweet spices, or pair it with garlic, salt and pepper for amazing and quick veggie dip. It has substantial amount of protein to feed your hungry muscles.
Breakfasts like these are portable, quick to assemble and will give you the so much needed energy that will last a few hours until lunch time without making you feel heavy or stuffed.
2. Don’t let fatigue influence your food choices. Be ready!
Even with the strongest will, I find it extremely hard to stick to my plan when I feel tired, exhausted, dead. It is so easy to go for whatever is available, for something sweet, let this tiredness influence your brain and send wrong signals. It’s a good idea not to keep processed snacks around and rather substitute them with munchies that provide us with energy and help overcome fatigue, or sustain us through hours-lasting meeting.
Pre-cut veggies (or the whole thing) are great, when you miss the crunch – carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes are the superstars in our office, and bell-peppers and cucumbers are so refreshing particularly during hot summer days. For much needed energy kick nuts are indeed magical. They are also easy to overdo, so I like to have a pre-packed handful portions prepared in my shelf to avoid overeating.
For dairy lovers, piece of cheese with half an apple or a few slices of prosciutto or Parma ham with fresh figs, grapes or whatever is in season does the trick and it’s easy to store for a week in the common fridge. Just make sure you put a name tag on your stuff. It’s simple yet delicious, colleagues will be tempted. 🙂
3. Make at least one meal a day a ceremony.
It is so hard… emails flood our mailboxes from early morning and peaceful breakfast is just impossible. Phone ringing all day long and meetings overlap with lunchtime. Eating in front of computer screens, reading through meeting notes over boring sandwich or hanging on the phone while taking a quick bite doesn’t help with good digestion.
If we don’t manage during the day, let’s make dinner worth it. Sit down at a table, switch off electronic devices, enjoy a nice company and eat something delicious, prepared with love and quality ingredients. It doesn’t have to be a feast of 5 courses. Stick to simple, delicious, healthy but enjoy the atmosphere around. Even if you eat alone – don’t be afraid to have a date with yourself. Lit some candles, set the table nicely for one and nourish all your senses.
4. If you cannot afford 1 hour lunch break, take just 15 minutes, but make them worth.
I believe that it is possible even throughout a busy day to shut the office door for 15-20 minutes and enjoy lunch or snack peacefully. Bringing nice, tasty and healthy lunch from home often results into eating it at the working desk in front of screen. It’s tempting, it saves time and we’ve already made so much effort preparing and bringing this nourishing box rather than grabbing a sandwich.
We are entitled to 1 hour lunch break. Clearly, there is not always full 1 hour available, but I am positive that we can always find 15 minutes to close the door, tune in some nice music and enjoy the fruits of our kitchen experiments calmly. Such attitude turns later during the day into more efficiency, less stress, less tiredness, more energy and better mood. Breaks are not for slackers, they are for smart, efficient people! 🙂
I admit that eating healthy during busy days requires a bit more effort than getting up from a chair and taking a good old stretch a few times a day. With moving, we only need not to forget. To set an alarm that reminds us to get up and do a few squats and fix our posture. With food, it takes a bit more, but working on improving both at the same time multiplies the benefits exponentially! All you need is
1. Preparation is key when changing eating habits. Let’s make the effort and prepare snacks and breakfasts ahead, clean up the office from junk food and replace it with healthy munchies and snacks, when fatigue kicks in and cravings hit hard, or when we get stuck in the office longer than expected. Be ready and nothing will conquer you. Definitely not food. 🙂
2. Prioritize. Simply make good food your priority and stick to it. If we consider something important, it is easy to make decisions and find ways to keep up with what we are after. If peaceful stomach and high energy is really important to us, finding that 20 calm minutes for lunch or avoiding free cookies in the common kitchen will always become manageable.
3. Persistence. Be stubborn and stick to your plan. What requires lots of effort at the beginning will sooner or later become a habit, and you will be the one bragging about how easy it was to switch. Did you know that it only takes some 30 days to adapt to a new behavior and create a firm foundation of a new habit? 30 days… what is 30 days in the perspective of the entire life? Nothing! We can handle it with ease!
Thank you for reading. I wish you happy week, smile a lot and be Alouded. 🙂