Do you fall into the food traps at work?
Your calorie count is under constant bombardment during the workday. But with a little willpower, planning, it actually does not have to be that hard to resist the edible temptations in the form of breakfast meetings and lunch arrangements. Or all the nice cookies at meetings.
Morning: START YOUR WORKDAY HEALTHY
If you feel like most of the rest of us, it will be easier for you to keep the healthy line throughout the day if you get off to a good start. So set out with a healthy, nutritious breakfast that sets the tune even before you check in for work.
Is it difficult with dietary creativity in the morning? A serving of a sour milk product, like “Skyr” that is high in proten for example, can most of us well weave into the morning routine. And because it is available in so many variants, you can easily find a perfect match and possibly spice it up for the sake of variety.
Try for example to add a little fruit or berries (eg blueberries) and little chopped nuts, seeds or roasted oatmeal.
If time is really tight, or if you are just a slow starter who would like to wait an hour or two with the first meal of the day, make a quick smoothie to take with you in your bag, or bring a wholemeal bun with cream cheese, low-fat cheese or other low fat spread that you like.. Or even better: Arrange a rotation scheme with some colleagues, where you take turns to provide rye bread, healthy cold cuts and cheese. Then you might just need to think about breakfast shopping every two weeks.
And yes, you can of course choose to just get rid of breakfast and save the calories if your body and brain work fine with it. However, research shows that it is far from always wise in terms of calories because we tend to catch up on it all later in the day and end up actually eating more calories than if we had started with a healthy breakfast. Maybe that applies to you too?
Noon: BE DILIGENT WITH THE WATER GLASS
Another bad trap you can fall into during the workday is to drink too little. You risk confusing thirst with hunger and put food in your mouth when in reality you should just drink a glass of water or two. Therefore, constantly remind yourself that water is a miracle cure. It does not fill in the calorie account but does make the stomach feel full and helps to keep hunger from the door. Agree with yourself that you should drink at least a glass of water every hour.
If you are the technology type, there are apps that remind you every hour. And of course, good, old-fashioned lines on a post-it still work.
The days when you – despite breakfast and water – already have food in mind in the middle of the morning, can be long and tedious. But you can get pretty much through them if you are prepared. Fill up the desk drawer and company fridge a few times a week with a small stock of fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholemeal rye bread so you have something healthy and not too calorie-heavy to dive into when hunger strikes and there is still a long way to go for lunch.
All fruits and vegetables are healthy, so do not worry about what to choose. Follow the varying offerings of the seasons, and grab what you like best.
Lunch: MORE SALAD – SMALLER PORTIONS
For the packed lunch type, wholemeal rye bread with lean cold cuts and fish is a safe choice for lunch. Supplement with vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrots and peppers to fill your stomach with few calories.
You can also fill up the lunch box with a homemade salad where the base is coarse vegetables like cabbage or root vegetables. It is both tasty and filling. And it can be added with the small taste pleasures, e.g. chicken breast, salmon or eggs and healthy seeds. However, minimise the amount of salad dressing, dried fruits, nuts, grains, olives, cheese and bread croutons. It is not in itself unhealthy, but can quickly end up in many calories if you just let loose and throw it all on top of a few lettuce leaves. Let the vegetables fill up the most, and let the rest be the spice on top.
A canteen arrangement can also be a calorie bomb if you do not have common sense when trotting around the lunch buffet. First of all, avoid being tempted to overeat. Choose a small plate and start by filling half of it with salad. Then there is a limit to what there is room for “accidents” afterwards.
Also, have an agreement with yourself that you may not eat the cake or dessert at most once (or twice) a week. And abide by it, but then always eat what you take with a clear conscience and maximum enjoyment.
Also, as a rule of thumb, drop soda or other sugary and calorie-containing foods, both for lunch and during the working day in general.
Afternoon: PLAN FOR GOALS
The afternoon looks somewhat gloomier. So when the last tasks of the day are to be completed, you really need to be at the forefront of your food.
Planning can help you a lot.
Think through in advance where the worst pitfalls are and how you want to avoid them. Do you need some wholemeal bread – either rye bread, buns, toast or crispbread – from home? Again, lean cream cheese or cottage cheese is fine. Fruit can also be used as a snack, but often it does not satisfy in itself enough for the hunger we can run into in the middle of the afternoon, so use it primarily as a supplement: Either for wholemeal bread or in a serving of sour milk product, e.g. a bowl of lean vanilla yogurt.
On the other hand, a piece of fruit or a carrot is great to have for the trip home when the working day is over.
Evening: Stir away from the food traps and again, plan well and stick to it.
We just have to mention it again: Planning, planning, planning. It can also save your evening. Both the one that might end up in some quick takeaway because you get stuck at work over an urgent task, or you come home tired and exhausted in the late afternoon, very hungry and grabbing something easy and fast prepared on the way.
A simple meal plan and shopping for several days at a time can make dinner easier, faster and cheaper. And meal plans are actually not rocket science at all – even if you are not the organized type. If you are not able to make them yourself, you can find lots of good offers online.
A really good routine that you will love yourself for is, occasionally, cooking for several days. Freeze the excess so you always have something in stock that you can quickly heat on a busy or lazy day.
Do you still think it seems too much, then always have a packet of wholemeal pita bread in the freezer and a few cans of tuna in the cupboard. While-grain wraps smeared with a low-fat cheese and filled with shredded lettuce, greens and smoked salmon are also manageable most days. Like an omelette with rye bread and salad.
If you fall for the temptation of a pizza, it will quickly contain twice as many calories, and although it does not mean that much on a rare occasion, it will quickly be seen on the bathroom scale if it becomes a regular routine several times a week.
When the takeaway card is thrown on late work nights in the office, zoom in on Thai, or look for a salad – with dressing next to it – on the menu. Then you do not ruin your good intentions. Or rush down to the fisherman or the supermarket before closing time for a big bun with salmon and vegetables, so that the late evening does not end up being double-tired and too calorie-heavy.