- Start your day off right. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It jump-starts your metabolism, provides your brain and body with the nutrients they need to tackle a busy workload, and can influence your future food choices. If time is an issue, consider items that can be prepared the night before, such as overnight oats, or that can be eaten on-the-go, such as an egg wrap or almond butter sandwich. If you prefer a lighter option, a protein shake is quick and easy to make and can be drank at home, in the car or even in the office.
- Drink more water! Dehydration is often subtle but can lead to fatigue, brain fog, and hunger pains. Aim for at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Always carry a large water bottle with you and set reminders in your calendar to drink. If you prefer something with flavor, try an infuser bottle or drop a couple of frozen juice cubes in. Keep sugar-sweetened and “diet” beverages to a bare minimum.
- Be prepared. Sometimes you must work later than planned or an unexpected issue has you working through lunch. You can’t anticipate every scenario, but you can reduce your chances of making unhealthy choices (e.g., the vending machine) by being prepared. Keep some healthy bars or non-perishable snacks in your desk. Choose items that contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Bars with at least five grams of protein, single-serving packs of nuts, or protein powders are great options.
- Focus on a balanced plate. Lunch meetings and conferences can be difficult because you do not always have control over the food options. You do, however, have control over what you choose from the offerings. Review what is available, then aim for half your meal to be vegetables or salad, one quarter to be protein, and one quarter to be carbohydrates. If there are little to no vegetables available, substitute with fruit or increase the protein portion.
- Be mindful. Are you hungry or just stressed, bored, or tired? Were you distracted when you were eating? Allow yourself time to mentally register how much you have consumed. Take a few minutes to enjoy your food. Not only will you feel more satisfied with less food, but you’ll also give your brain a few minutes to unwind, allowing you to be more focused when you return to work.
Kim Arnold is a registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified specialist in obesity & weight management. As the owner of EnLITEned Nutrition, LLC, Kim specializes in individual coaching and corporate-wellness programming.