Over the last month a lot of employees have returned to the work environment. Once again you’ve had to reset and create a new routine and good nutrition habits to support your nutrition goals and intensions.
When athletes have actioned a new training plan they review and reassess to check if what they had planned is on track and helping them adapt the way they had hoped.
As your access to the workplace and social gatherings evolve it’s a good time to check in with your nutrition habits, and ensure they’re aligned to support your lifestyle and health goals.
Alternatively, your focus may be on just getting back to work and learning to adjust from working from home – so you’ve not yet thought about a nutrition plan. In which case, it might also be a time to think about current nutrition habits.
Can they be refined and improved? Aim for nutrition habits which take ownership of your food choices and are not guided by the circumstances and environment you are in.
If you want to be eating well and you have found there are more barriers in your way than usual with returning to work, don’t be discouraged by them.
Instead use it as a time to reflect and learn to refine your problem solving skills to promote consistent good nutrition habits.
Here are a few challenges where you might need to review and reassess:
1. You’ve created a plan based on the familiar environment you left and its hard to action in the environment you are in
Time for a new plan. Good nutrition doesn’t need to be perfect, its needs to be realistic. If there are challenges, don’t fight them – work with them.
2. You’re buying lunch out & making choices which are more energy dense than you would be eating at home
Aim to do some food prep to bring your lunch or snacks from home so you have more control over what you eat, or make an effort to find healthier choices around your workplace, like a sandwich, salad bar or vegetable-dense options.
3. You’re packing your lunch and realising you’re starving by the end of the day
It might be that now you’re back at work you’ve been doing a lot more incidental activity and using more energy than you would have been staying in your house.
So if you’ve packed the same amount of food you were eating at home it won’t be enough to meet your increased energy needs and you may need to pack an extra balanced snack, like a tub of yoghurt or small container of nuts.
4. You made a plan to eat vegetable-dense soups for lunch, only to realise you don’t have access to a microwave to heat it up before eating it!
Being creative with your packaging will be important. You may need to heat your food up at home and bring hot meals in a thermos cup so that it’s ready to eat at mealtimes.
It’s important to keep hot food hot and cold food cold, so packing a cooler bag with an ice brick will also increase the number of options you can bring to work without needing any food prep or access to facilities.
You will also have to remember to pack any cutlery you need. It’s a little extra preparation at the start of the week or day but it will pay off when you have a nutrient-dense meal to fuel your work day.
5. You’re already sick of making sandwiches for lunch
Keeping in mind the options to bring a cooler bag to keep options cold will increase the variety you can meal prep for. Make a roster of different meal options to be creative with what you might bring each day. Include options that don’t need heating or a lot of meal assembly.
Make a slice like a frittata or zucchini slice, or prepare a salad with leftover roast vegetables and cold cuts of meat.
6. You can’t get out for a coffee or to buy any food
Of course, its not ideal and the break to get some fresh air & food is good during the work day. Getting annoyed about it won’t help your health though. It’s an opportunity to get good at meal prep and bringing your own food supplies.
Look for some dry stores you might be able to keep at your office desk with a spare fork in case you get really stuck. Some examples are tinned tuna and vita wheat, tinned baked beans, dried fruit and nuts. Raw food balls or muesli bars will be a better option for a small snack than not eating all day and then over-eating later at night when you are home.