Since the world changed in March 2020 with a full Lockdown due to COVID-19, many people were put into a situation they may have never experienced before, working from home! Our homes are not just the safe place we retire to after a hard day of work, it can now be our office, daycare, gym, restaurant, and more. So how do we separate all those aspects to allow us to be productive in all areas of life and stay on track with our health and fitness goals? Ideally, we would try to have a dedicated space for each area. Try not to have your ‘home office’ at the kitchen counter while you try to cook, eat, and watch the kids all at once. Let’s take a look at some simple habits to implement in your home to set you up for success for working from home and eating a healthy meal plan.
Have Defined Spaces
Make sure your working space, eating space, and kitchen are 3 specific areas in your home. The separation will mentally help you stay on track when you are in each zone. You shouldn’t be eating and working at the kitchen table. Set up your office or computer in an area that you can be separated from the kitchen and a space where you eat your meals. It will depend on how your home is set up, but keeping this space separate from your kitchen will be helpful throughout the day. Your work time will be in your dedicated ‘work space’ and your meal times will be in your dedicated ‘eating space’.
Set A Schedule
Make sure you schedule your day not only for work purposes, but also your eating schedule. Having set break times, will help you avoid overeating while at home or skipping meals when busy. If needed, set alarms on your phone to remind you to stop and eat away from your computer or work space.
Here is an example day of eating:
Breakfast: 7am-Vegetable and cheese omelette (2-3 eggs, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, feta cheese, side of sliced tomatoes)
Snack: 10am- Apple and almonds
Lunch: Noon or 1pm- Homemade Chicken Soup (made on the weekend, chicken, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, optional: rice, noodles or potato)
Snack: 4pm- Cucumber, carrots and hummus
Dinner: 6:30pm- Pan fried seasoned fish (tilapia, haddock, salmon etc.) sautéed fresh zucchini and cauliflower and quinoa.
This should be tailored to fit your day and health goals. If you need help with this set up a 1-hour nutrition consult (virtual or in person) with a certified coach: [email protected] or [email protected]
Make sure you set yourself up for success each week by planning your meals and snacks ahead of time. It’s ideal to pick a day you have off and take the time to choose your meals for the week, make a grocery list, buy the required ingredients and prepare anything ahead of time to make your busy week run smoothly.
Some easy tips to preparing foods ahead of time include:
- Chopping all vegetables for snacks ahead of time and storing in easy grab and go containers
- Pre-cook certain proteins (chicken in a slow cooker, roast of beef in the oven, hard boiled eggs)
- Overnight oats
- Pre-cook your carb sources (quinoa, rice, potatoes etc.)
- Have all your breakfast, snacks and lunches ready ahead of time so you only need to cook dinner at night. Even though you are at home all day, don’t waste time cooking each meal as you need it.
Check out this article for more tips: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekly-meal-prep-infographic
There are different ways to look at snacking. Some people believe that snacking is bad because they usually reach for chips, cookies, or other junk food. We should be looking at snack time as an opportunity to fuel our body with healthy options such as vegetables, fruit, or nuts. It is also important to pay attention to how your body is feeling between your main meals. If you are not hungry between breakfast and lunch, then do not force yourself to eat a snack (unless you are working towards bulking). When you are eating balanced meals of lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbs you might not need snacks. It’s more common that people eat unbalanced meals of simple carbs (crackers, toast, cereal etc.) which causes them to be hungry again within an hour or so, which then causes them to reach for another not so healthy food like chips, doughnuts, chocolate, or something higher in sugar to try and help that craving. So, make sure you are focusing on healthy balanced meals and then adding healthy snacks when you still need more fuel. If you need something in between the healthy and unhealthy snacks you currently eat, you could try switching to: dark chocolate covered almonds, kale or beet chips, cheese and quinoa crackers, chia seed pudding, homemade ice cream etc.
Check out this article for more information: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/junk-food-alternatives
Drinking enough water is essential to the body, which most people know, think they are doing but really, they aren’t! Track your water intake for one day and see how much you are actually drinking, is it 3 or 4 glasses? For the average person it will be less than they thought, plus you actually need to drink extra water for each coffee or caffeinated beverage you have, for each alcoholic beverage you drink and the water you drink during a sweat session doesn’t count towards your daily total. So, if you only had 3 or 4 glasses plus 2 coffees, a glass of wine a night and one glass/bottle was during your workout, you are actually in the negative! You should be aiming to drink between 2-3L of water a day plus the rules above. Water intake should be spread out throughout the day and not all slammed at the end because you forgot to drink because you were busy with work!
Here are some good habits for drinking more water:
- Drink one glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning (you are actually 2 lbs lighter in the morning from dehydration throughout the night).
- Have a water bottle or cup you like with you at all times to remind you to drink throughout the day. Refill as soon as you finish it.
- Have a glass of water with each meal.
- Fill up extra water bottles and have them ready to grab in the fridge.
- Have water with or right after you finish your coffee (remember you need to replace all dehydrating beverages).
- Swap out any sugar drinks (juices, pops etc.) and replace it with water. Try adding cucumber or raspberries to your water if you need a little flavour. Bonus: add Biosteel’s High Performance Sport Drink with BCAA’s. Not sure what that is or how it will help, reach out to [email protected] to learn more.
- Have a travel water bottle with you when driving somewhere.
- Set reminders on your phone to drink water throughout the day (if you feel you are too busy or just can’t remember to drink water).
These are 5 simple habits to get you on track with your eating and health habits while working from home. If this list feels like a lot to start with, pick one and focus on that habit for at least 1 week. After that week see if you can add another habit. That is the best way to try and build lasting healthy habits. If you feel you already do some of these but are still struggling to stay on track reach out for more individualized feedback by booking in with a nutrition coach.
Have questions or need more information about anything stated above? Contact [email protected]
Written by: Kerri Brown, Certified Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Personal Fitness & Nutrition Manager