Healthy Eating in the Office

When workplace politics, geriatrically slow computers and pen-stealing colleagues abound, the office is stressful enough without worrying about your waistline. Avoid office-induced obesity with these quick tips for healthy eating at work…


Eating al desko

I believe a meal is best enjoyed outside, with friends and wine. Unless you are a high-functioning alcoholic none of the aforementioned is likely to occur when dining al desko. I regularly convince myself I am too stacked to step out of the office come one o’clock yet strangely I still find time to languish on Facebook or cry into my sandwich over bikini photos of Miranda Kerr.

Eating while online simply distracts you from the amount of food you consume. When work is manic it is easy to feel guilty for leaving the office but changing your lunch location by heading to the park or meeting a friend allows you to properly appreciate your meal and refreshes you for a productive afternoon.

The feeder friend

I’ve been on both sides of this abusive relationship and trust me: no good can come from the office feeder. It may seem borderline rude to refuse Janine’s lovingly made meringues but communal snacks are a sure-fire way to unknowingly exceed your recommended calorie intake. Don’t deny yourself the occasional sweet treat but take care to never eat while standing up.

Too often have I absent-mindedly eaten a bakery’s worth of brownie bites while waiting for the kettle to boil. If you yourself are the bringer of biscuits, why not opt for a punnet of strawberries next time? Your co-workers will thank you for it.


Lunch boxes

If bringing food from home reminds you of school days forlornly tearing at a meagrely spread peanut butter sandwich while the popular kids feasted on apple pie and suspicious custard then worry not – times have changed. Packed lunches are cool (especially if they come in a Super Mario lunch box). My vegetable chillis and Hummus Surprise* are the envy of my Pret-going colleagues.

Devote an hour on Sunday to cooking a large stew or soup and you have a week of healthy, purse-friendly meals. If you want to share your Michelin star cooking skills with a work friend, alternating lunch-making duties for each other is an easy way to enjoy healthy home cooking without tiring of the menu.

Quality over quantity

We’ve all done it. We’re busy, famished. The cornershop is so darn close and for just £1.19 you can pick up a packet of Hobnobs. Eat them all at once? Of course not. And yet, 5.30 winds around and suddenly the biscuits, along with your dignity, are gone. It may cost a little more but opting for that skewer of Godiva chocolate-drizzled strawberries or walking that extra street to buy a low fat frozen yoghurt will be infinitely more satisfying to your taste buds – and kinder to your tummy – than the nearest vending machine sugar hit.

Getting active outdoors

I used to daydream that I would become a city superwoman who spends her lunch at a spin class feeling smug. Realistically, though, a 45-minute gym session is a challenge to cram in without even considering the shower afterwards. However, staying active during the work day is still achievable.

Try 30 minutes’ rollerblading in the park; a quick cycle or even just a stroll around the nearby shops and galleries. It may not burn hundreds of calories but these activities will save you from boredom bingeing and offer a fun distraction from work­­­ that doesn’t revolve around food.

NB. Please note the author of this piece ate a Creme Egg and stale bread for her last office lunch. All advice should be taken with caution and a pinch of your recommended daily intake of salt.

*Essentially, I add peas.

Image by ashkyd courtesy of Flickr

4 Responses

  1. Fifty and fat

    Totally agree re office feeder! There is nothing worse than when the office clown returns from Scotland with the latest tray bake surprise…

  2. Barry Bridges

    Being a healthy eater requires you to become both
    educated and smart about what healthy eating
    actually is. Being food smart isn’t about
    learning to calculate grams or fat, or is it
    about studying labels and counting calories.

    Healthy eating is all about balanced and moderate
    eating, consisting of healthy meals at least
    three times per day. Healthy eaters eat many
    different types of foods, not limiting themselves
    to one specific food type or food group.

    Eating healthy requires quite a bit of leeway. You
    might eat too much or not enough, consume
    foods that are sometimes more or less nutritious.
    However, you should always fuel your body and
    your brain regularly with enough food to keep
    both your mind and body strong and alert.

    A healthy eater is a good problem solver. Healthy
    eaters have learned to take care of themselves
    and their eating with sound judgement and making
    wise decisions. Healthy eaters are always aware
    of what they eat, and know the effect that it
    will have on their bodies.

    When someone is unable to take control of their
    eating, they are also likely to get out of control
    with other aspects of life as well. They could
    end up spending too much, talking too much, even
    going to bed later and later.

    You should always remember that restricting food
    in any way is always a bad thing. Healthy eating
    is a way of life, something that you can do to
    enhance your body or your lifestyle. If you’ve
    thought about making your life better, healthy
    eating is just the place to start. You’ll make
    life easier for yourself, those around you, and
    even your family.

Reader Comments