I recently read that although most young people are really concerned with “The Freshman 15″, what we really need to worry about is what they’re calling “The Cubicle 30.” In college we are constantly walking to and from classes, meetings, jobs, and parties and it’s easier to fit in exercise without even realizing it. Whereas once we enter the working world, long hours sitting at a desk often cause the pounds to creep up. And since not everyone is crazy like me and thinks running at 5:30 in the morning is fun, I thought I would share a few tips on how to maintain a healthy diet while working 9 to 5.
1. Eat a good breakfast: I always have a hearty breakfast before I head out to work. This way I won’t be be tempted by the pastries and donuts present at our 10am meeting. I try to eat something with protein and fiber like oatmeal with peanut butter or Kashi Go Lean cereal and a banana. Plus, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so skipping it would truly be a travesty.
2. Pack your own lunch. As tempting as it would be to take advantage of the hundreds of restaurants within walking distance of my office, I bring my own lunch pretty much every day. This way I can pack my own healthy salads and sandwiches rather than hopping over to Jimmy John’s at lunchtime. My coworkers and I usually go out to lunch together every other Friday and it is always a special treat. We take turns picking new restaurants to try each “Friday Fun Day” and it is always a fun little escape from the office. If we did this every day, it wouldn’t be as special and I know healthy eating would kind of go out the window.
3. Stash Some Snacks: I always have a few healthy snacks stored in one of my desk drawers just in case hunger strikes late in the day. This way I have some healthy snacks on hand so I’m not tempted to visit the vending machine for a pop tart or a bag of m&ms. I always have a few granola bars, trail mix or Greek yogurt at the office just in case. Believe me, snack drawers are the way to go!
4. Indulge in moderation: I’m a Sales & Catering Manager, so every now and then our chef will bring us some samples from the catering menu. I know, it’s a tough job But if I indulged in the cookies, pizzas and hefty gourmet sandwiches that he brings by a few times a week, I would most definitely be a “little cook” no more. So I sample the new items so I can better sell them to our clients, but I don’t indulge every single day.
5. Listen to your body. At my office, we have a ton of unhealthy food laying around everywhere. There’s coffee cake in the break room, boxes of cookies given to us from clients, and monthly birthday parties with huge cakes and tubs of ice cream. And though it would be easy to just to just dive into these sugar bombs just like everybody else, I try to listen to my body, and only indulge when I really want to. More often than not, I don’t really find myself craving a big piece of cake at 2pm because I know it will most likely leave me feeling a little sick and sleepy afterwards. So I politely decline. That doesn’t mean I never partake in the office birthdays, I just make sure I’m not grabbing a piece of cake just because everyone around me is.
So there you have it. And though I am by no means a nutrition expert (um..have you seen how many desserts I bake?) these are some tips that help me stay on track at work. Tomorrow we’ll go back to some baked goods. I promise.