Making and bringing lunch to work every day might seem impossible, but the benefits far outweigh the initial hassle:
Set yourself up for success! Get into the habit of:
. . . staying away from the food court. If you brought lunch to work, there will be no need to head to the food court and be tempted.
. . . meal prepping. If you’re packing your own lunch at home when you’re not hungry, you’re more likely to get the portion size right and make a healthier choice (compared to purchasing a meal when you’re starving and walking around the food court smelling and seeing everything).
. . . doubling your dinner. If you don’t like the idea of making something separate for lunch, try doubling or quadrupling the recipe for dinner so you have leftovers to bring for the next few days.
Getting up every once in a while is important for both mental and physical health. No matter how good you think you are at the artful dance of sipping a coffee, eating a salad, and continuing to read and type, multitasking still isn’t as effective as focusing on one thing at a time.
What’s more, working through lunch may encourage you to unconsciously snack later. We tend to reward ourselves later with extra food for having ‘given up’ our lunch hour. If you can’t get away altogether, at least sit somewhere other than at your computer, such as a conference or break room.
Ignoring the free donuts in the break room could make you crave them more. Studies have shown that those who had a small taste of a desired food and then distracted themselves with a phone call or other task for 15 minutes felt satiated and didn’t feel the need to indulge more. Allow yourself a taste of the treat and then dive into a project, meet with a cube-mate, or take a walk outside. BONUS: A study from University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk cut snacking at work by 50 percent.
Rather than bringing coffee to every meeting, tote a bottle of water. A Virginia Tech study found that people who drank 2 cups of water before every meal lost an average of 15.5 pounds after two weeks. Even the slightest amount of dehydration can be confused with feelings of hunger, which may result in eating unnecessary calories.
Nut for nut, pistachios provide more to snack on than any other. 49 pistachios have 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein, whereas you can only have 23 almonds for the same nutrients and calories. If you’re looking to satisfy your 3:00pm munchies, pistachios will keep you feeling fuller longer than something out of the vending machine.
Walking by the office candy dish can result in mindless, grab-and-go snacking. The farther away a food is, the less likely you are to eat it, so make sure it is out of sight. Take the long way around it if you have trouble resisting . . . you’ll sneak in a few more steps this way, too!
Acknowledging promotions, work wins, birthdays, and holidays with colleagues is an important part of workplace culture. Strive to make the festivities less food-centric. Plan active events, decorate their desk, or bring flowers to celebrate instead of just a feast.