How to eat healthy while working from home
As more people continue to adjust to a new life working from home, they’re also adjusting to a new meal routine. Without access to an office cafeteria or nearby restaurants and cafes, some employees may find their mind goes blank when lunchtime rolls around.
Ensuring your team can access nutritious meals is crucial for maintaining productivity and good health. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce the risk for costly conditions like heart disease and diabetes.1 And when it comes to avoiding a virus, foods filled with vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium can all help give the immune system a boost.2
Although it may seem simple to add breakfast and lunch to the day-to-day tasks, preparing three healthy meals every day can be overwhelming. Providing these tips and resources to your team can help.
Start the day with protein
A breakfast filled with protein, fiber and healthy fats can boost energy and help your team start a productive day. A protein- and fiber-packed breakfast can also keep you feeling fuller longer, which can reduce unhealthy snacking in between meals.
Here are some healthy breakfast options to consider:
- Veggie omelet
- Whole grain English muffin with nut butter
- Whole grain bread with cottage cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts and seeds
Use veggies and lean meats for lunch
We’ve all felt the effects of a heavy lunch — it’s a recipe for a serious afternoon slump. Keeping lunches light and packed with vegetables and lean proteins (like poultry and fish) can help your team stay healthy and maintain momentum for those afternoon meetings.
Healthy lunches can include:
- A sandwich, turkey burger or black bean burger with whole grain bread or a lettuce wrap
- Chicken or egg salad that uses avocado and mustard instead of mayo
- Salads with olive oil vinaigrette
Keep healthy snacks on hand
When working from home, it can be easy to open the pantry and pull out a bag of chips or box of cookies. Having healthy snacks in the cupboard, rather than junk food, can help avoid unnecessary calories and late-afternoon sugar crashes.
Some healthy snack ideas include:
- Hummus and fresh vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Roasted chickpeas
- Apple slices
- Whole-grain crackers with canned tuna
- Unsweetened dried fruit
Avoid simple carbs throughout the day
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, a healthy diet should avoid processed starches and carbohydrates like white flour and white rice. Simple carbs may provide a quick burst of energy, but they have fewer vitamins and nutrients than whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat bread. Whole grains are also higher in fiber, which can help improve digestion and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.3
Try these healthy carb swaps for lunch or dinner:
- Use creamy mashed cauliflower with garlic instead of mashed potatoes.
- Use whole wheat or corn tortillas instead of white tortillas. Or, nix the tortillas altogether and put the ingredients in a bowl with brown rice or quinoa.
- Use spaghetti squash for pasta dishes instead of pasta.
Pantry ingredients are only one part of a healthy eating routine. When you eat mindfully it helps improve overall health by preventing overeating.
Mindful eating is a process where you intentionally make yourself aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions while eating. It can help give your brain time to realize you’ve eaten enough. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
When you practice mindful eating, try to:
- Take small bites and chew slowly. Finish swallowing before continuing to eat.
- Put your utensils down for 10 to 15 seconds every few bites.
- Savor your food — notice how it looks and smells as well as the taste and texture of each bite.
- Eat in a calm place free of distractions. Avoid eating in front of the television or computer.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes and use the entire time to eat your meal.
- Appreciate the meal as an opportunity to care for your body through healthy eating.
In addition to preventing overeating, mindful eating can also help you better enjoy the experience of eating. Savoring every bite and taking time to appreciate food is an excellent self-care routine — it can help slow you down, clear your head and relax — something that is especially welcome during these uncertain and stressful times.
Learn more on how to inspire well-being in the workplace.
 The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. (2017; August 15). Retrieved from heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations.
 Merz B. (2016; September). Micronutrients have major impact on health: Foods to boost your immune system and increase vitamin and mineral intake. Retrieved from scribbr.com/apa-examples/cite-a-website/.
 Why is it important to eat grains, especially whole gains? (n.d.) Retrieved from: choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/grains/grains-nutrients-health.