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Fueling Your Workday: Tips for Eating Healthy at the Office

by Mara Welty August 31, 2023 7 min read

 Fueling Your Workday: Tips for Eating Healthy at the Office

Your workday constitutes a significant portion of your week, and maintaining high energy levels can greatly contribute to enhanced focus, productivity and overall well-being throughout each day. 

Fortunately, proper nutrition can play a pivotal role in sustaining that much-needed energy and mental clarity. By making conscious and healthy food choices, you can optimize your workday and avoid feeling sluggish, particularly when the mid-day slump kicks in. 

Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy at work.

#1 Begin Your Day With A Nutritious Breakfast

Ready to develop a healthy morning routine? Contrary to some of the weight loss myths, having a balanced breakfast can jumpstart your day, particularly when it includes a healthy share of proteins, fiber, healthy fats and micronutrients. That said, avoid starting your day with a sugar- or carb-heavy option, such as:

  • Sugary cereals
  • Pastries, waffles or pancakes
  • Flavored yogurt 
  • Breakfast bars
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Fruit juices

Instead, opt for a meal option that provides long-lasting energy and satiety, such as:

  • Eggs – A 2020 study found that people who made eggs and toast in the mornings felt less hungry throughout the day, compared to those who opted for cereal. This is likely due to eggs’ high protein content, which, in addition to satiety, can support muscle growth, eye health and weight management. Eggs are also high in vitamins A and B, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. 
  • Greek yogurt – This creamy alternative is relatively low in calories and high in protein. It also includes essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin B12, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. Not to mention, it offers a high density of probiotics, which can help support digestive and gut health. To improve satiety, you can top the yogurt with fruits, nuts, seeds or oats.
  • Oatmeal – Replace packaged oatmeal for rolled or steel-cut oats. They can keep you full through your morning meetings, are high in protein and also contain iron, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, manganese and selenium. Like yogurt, you can top oatmeal with tasty favorites such as dried fruits, coconut, banana or chia seeds.

#2 Pack Wholesome Snacks

The alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee and tantalizing treats in the breakroom can test even the most disciplined individuals. However, with a little preparation and mindfulness, it’s entirely possible to develop healthy habits and make conscious food choices that support your well-being throughout the workday. Namely, packing a healthy snack that can keep you full and focused. Snacks for eating healthy at work include:

  • Trail mix – Healthy, portable and customizable, trail mix is a delicious combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit that can keep you nourished until lunchtime. To improve cognitive function, researchers recommend walnuts, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts. Dried apricots, apples, coconuts and dates can also help energize the brain and improve focus.
  • Green smoothie – For hard workers looking for a convenient way to get their daily nutrients from their desk, smoothies are the perfect option. A nutritious superfood smoothie should include a balance of your favorite leafy greens, fruits and vegetables. For added benefits, look for a mix that offers nutritional complexes to support cognitive function, provide immune support and improve digestive health.
  • Charcuterie board – Grab your favorite Tupperware and construct an on-the-go charcuterie board to ease your hunger throughout the day. Include plenty of brain-boosting foods, such as blueberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, nuts, oranges and dark chocolate. Cheeses are also high in protein and certain poultry, like chicken and turkey, can help support cognition and memory. 
  • Tuna and whole grain crackers – Now, it’s always advised to use caution when bringing fish to work. However, if your office has an open floor plan and plenty of ventilation, tuna is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in brain function and development.

#3 Opt For Smart Lunch Choices

When lunch comes around, versatility is encouraged. Preparing your own nutritious meals and bringing them to work not only gives you control over what you eat but also allows you to explore a wide range of flavors and cuisines:

  • Hearty salads – Create colorful and satisfying salads with a variety of fresh vegetables, leafy greens and protein sources like grilled chicken, chickpeas or tofu. Top it off with a flavorful homemade dressing for a delicious and nutritious lunch option.
  • Grain bowls – Grain bowls offer a delightful mix of textures and flavors, making them a popular choice among the health-conscious workers of the world. Combine whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or farro with an assortment of roasted vegetables, lean protein and a savory sauce. 
  • Vegetable soups – Whip up nourishing vegetable soups that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Opt for homemade versions to control the sodium content and experiment with different vegetable combinations to keep things interesting. For example, you can make a classic vegetable soup packed with carrots, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, corn, peas and garlic. Beans and lentils can also optimize your energy levels.
  • Rice bowls – Similar to grain bowls, rice bowls offer a great opportunity to play with diverse ingredients. Mix in steamed vegetables, a lean protein of your choice and a delectable sauce for a satisfying and filling lunch. To further support brain health, include GABA-rich ingredients, such as brown rice, soy beans, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.
  • Chicken salad – Combine cooked and shredded chicken with fresh herbs, chopped vegetables and a light dressing to create a delicious and protein-packed chicken salad. Enjoy it on its own, in a sandwich or as a filling for lettuce wraps. Chicken provides plenty of protein and essential nutrients to help support brain function.

#4 Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water throughout the day helps to regulate body temperature, lubricate joints and keep organs functioning properly, as well as support cognition, mood and sleep. 

That said, the quintessential eight cups a day probably won’t cut it. Experts now recommend drinking at least 11 to 16 cups of water daily, depending on your gender, activity level and environment.

It’s also best to steer clear of sugary drinks, such as:

  • Sodas
  • Energy drinks
  • Flavored coffees
  • Bottled smoothies
  • Sweetened teas

If you prefer a bit of flavor, infuse your water with natural flavors and juices instead, such as:

  • Cucumber
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Watermelon
  • Orange 
  • Berries

According to several studies, mild dehydration can actually impair brain function and negatively affect mood, memory and concentration. Dehydration can also cause headaches, which can disrupt your day-to-day responsibilities and ability to meet deadlines, participate in meetings and socialize effectively.

To combat dehydration, bring a reusable plastic water bottle with you to work and, if needed, set an interval of timers to remind you to hydrate throughout the workday to help improve your energy levels and brain function.

#5 Practice Mindful Eating

In the fast-paced and often stressful office environment, it's easy to fall into habits like mindless eating, reaching for convenient snacks or indulging in unhealthy treats out of boredom or stress.

Mindful eating, the practice of being fully present and engaged during meals, is a powerful tool that can help you choose healthy food options and improve your overall well-being. It involves reconnecting to the joy of eating by being fully present when you eat. So, how to eat mindfully? Take a step away from the screens and spreadsheets and avoiding eating at your desk.

Instead, find a quiet place away from your day-to-day work where you can focus only on the food in front of you. Take a moment to practice gratitude for your food and surrender to the sensory experience of eating — that is, what you taste, smell, feel, hear and see. 

Overall, mindful eating can help promote healthier eating habits by:

  • Curbing emotional eating.
  • Improving portion control.
  • Encouraging wise snacking.
  • Improving digestion.
  • Encouraging self-acceptance.

#6 Prep For Office Celebrations

Participating in office celebrations while trying to eat healthily requires some proactive planning meal prepping and mindfulness. These events and holidays often present a tempting array of indulgent treats, making it challenging to stick to your healthy eating goals. However, it’s possible to participate in the festivities andstay committed to your health by:

  • Communicating with the organizers – Prior to the celebration, reach out to the office organizers to express your interest in healthy food options, such as vegetable platters, salads, fruit trays and whole-grain crackers.
  • Bringing a healthy dish you love – Oftentimes, office parties are potluck-style. This provides the perfect opportunity for you to bring a nutritious dish you can feel good about indulging in. Try opting for a cold salad option that includes grains, leafy greens, beans and colorful vegetables.
  • Eating a satiating meal beforehand – If your office festivities are bound to be rich in sugary treats that you’d rather avoid, avoid temptation by eating a satiating meal before the party. Look for foods that are high in protein and fiber, such as boiled potatoes, eggs, oatmeal, legumes and lean meat.
  • Mindfully indulging in treats – All that said, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a delicious pastry or cake now and again. In this case, practice mindful eating by limiting your portion sizes, savoring each bite and surrendering any feelings of guilt. After all, you deserve a tasty treat for all the hard work you’re doing! 

Add INVIGOR8 To Your Workday

Overall, when preparing healthy workday meals and snacks, prioritize foods that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

For a convenient superfood option that controls hunger and provides the body with a bevy of nutrients, try the INVIGOR8 Superfood Shake. Bring this organic superfoods powder as a mid-morning snack or a lunchtime meal replacement. It’s rich with protein powder ingredients like green veggies, fatty acids, digestive enzymes and cognitive complexes to support energy and brain function throughout the workday.

Work and eat smart with INVIGOR8. 

Sources:

Healthline. The 12 Best Foods to Eat in the Morning

Healthline. 19 Healthy and Energizing Snacks

Medical News Today. Could eating more nuts help boost memory later in life?

Cleveland Clinic. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The importance of hydration

Healthline. 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Mindful Eating

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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