With 2020 came many changes to how we work due to COVID-19, with a big shift to working from home for many businesses. For many, this meant that their kitchen table or home office became their new workplace. This shift in work environments meant that ease to access food increased. This access paired with changes to stress levels meant that boredom or stress eating has become a real thing for many people. So, how can we stay on track while working from home? Well, we have put together our top tips to help you maximise your nutrition when working from home!
Our Top Tips for Working From Home
Plan Your Meals for the Week
Plan your meals for the week, as opposed to ‘winging it’. By planning, you reduce the risk of opting for a less nutritious, convenience options such as Uber Eats fast food… although tempting! Plan for meals which you enjoy, pack plenty of vegetables and contain a lean protein. This bomb combo of veg and protein will keep you fuller for longer, making snacking less tempting. Even better, you can use these leftovers for a heated lunch the next day to get you through. Some of our favourite simple and nutritious meal ideas include:
- Chicken and veggie stir fry served with brown rice
- Grilled salmon or lean meat served with steamed or roasted veggies
- Tuna pasta bake made with a tomato base loaded with veggies such as capsicum and baby spinach
- Batch make veggie and legume loaded soups and casseroles
- For something simple, why not try a Frittata or veggie omelette?
Shopping: Make a List and Stick to It
A list helps centre your focus on what you need as opposed to what you want. Bonus that it will save you having to go back to the supermarket during the week! Use your plan for meals over the week to guide devising the shopping list, plus throw in some other core staples for brekkies, lunch and snacks. Ensure your list includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods such as:
- Seasonal fruit and veg or frozen varieties
- Lean proteins: such as skinless chicken, fish, lean beef/lamb, eggs, tinned legumes, tinned fish and vegetarian alternatives such as tofu
- Reduced-fat dairy products including low fat, plain yoghurt such as Chobani Plain 0.5% yoghurt
- Wholegrain Breads and Cereals: such as a wholemeal grain bread, grain crispbreads, rolled oats and a wholegrain breakfast cereal such as Guardian
- Canned / Tinned Goods: such as canned tuna or salmon, canned legumes with no added salt such as chickpeas and lentils and other staples such as tinned tomatoes, as needed
- Nutritious Snacks: such as hummus to pair with veggies or grain crackers, reduced-fat yoghurt, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit.
Try and limit the purchase of ‘treat foods’ if you struggle to control your intake of such foods. In saying this, treats are okay to enjoy in moderation, so if wanting to treat yo’ self, avoid bulk-buying or buying large serve sizes to reduce temptation. For example, instead of a tub of ice cream, go for single-serve ice creams or replace a family block of chocolate with an individual bar. This way, you have more control over portion size to prevent over-indulging.
Meal and Snack Prep
You may spend some time on the weekend prepping meals and snacks for the week as you would if you were physically going to work. This takes away that time pressure during the week and assists with ease and access to nutritious foods. Some snack and meal ideas to prep may include:
- Chopping up fresh veggies to pair with hummus dip
- Creating tubs of yoghurt with fruit, rolled oats, nuts and or seeds for brekkie or a snack
- Boil up some eggs for brekkie or a snack
- Make ‘overnight oats’ and pair with fresh fruit in the AM for a quick, nourishing brekkie
- Slice up salad veg such as tomato, cucumber, onion and capsicum and store in an air-tight container to add to toast, sandwiches or salads
- Prepare a big batch of soup, such as vegetable and barley soup or chicken and veggie soup, for lunches and dinners
- Bake some healthy wholegrain fruit muffins for mid-meal snacks
- Create a vegetable frittata, for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol intake has reportedly increased for some during isolation, with some of this being due to increased stress and disruption to our routine during COVID-19. Some suggestions to reduce alcohol intake include:
- Avoid ‘bulk buying’ alcohol
- Aim for at least 2 Alcohol-Free Days
- Move your ‘start time’ to dinner, to avoid starting too early
- When drinking, limit to < 2 standard drinks/day
- Go for an alcohol-free beer such as Carlton Draught when drinking beyond the recommended 2 standards
- Opt for a diet soft drink or mineral water with a squeeze of lime juice as an alternative
- Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s alcohol intake, get in contact with the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
Plan Your Mealtimes, Don’t Graze
With the ease of access, comes the temptation of mindlessly grazing on snacks throughout the day, which increases the risk of over-eating. Plan for lunch and snack breaks, as you would in the office! Also, when snacking or eating a meal, do not eat from the packet or box, portion these out onto a plate so you take more control over your portion.
Remaining active during lockdown has both physical and mental health benefits. Benefits include a reduction in stress and anxiety, improved sleep, weight management and reduced risk of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Some states have restricted access to gyms and places of exercise. So, what can you do to keep active?
- Go for a 20-30 minute walk on your lunch break
- Complete a home exercise program using videos on outlets such as YouTube
- Go for a run or bike ride in your local area
- Purchase or rent basic gym equipment such as weights or resistance bands.
See a Dietitian
Looking for a personalised approach to get your nutrition back on track while working from home? Well, there is no better place to start than by heading to our website to get in contact with one of our incredible dietitians today!