Does Working from Home Have an Impact on Your Diet?
The way in which many of us work has changed. In a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus many countries encouraged working from home. The reception from employees was mixed, with some revelling in the fact they could work in their pyjamas, whereas others were worried how efficiently they could work from home. Regardless of whether you are for or against working from home, the remote approach has become the norm for many companies.
Remote working, whether full or part time, offers serious benefits. Employees have noted they enjoy a better work life balance and have been able to save money due to reduced commuting costs. Has working from home allowed you to take up a new hobby? Were you able to introduce a new pet into your life? Do you spend more quality time with your family? However you feel about remote or hybrid working, you will undoubtedly have reaped the benefits in some capacity.
Staying healthy working from home
Walking and jogging became go-to activities during the height of the pandemic. You will likely have seen your social media feeds filled with individuals sharing their 5K times or number of steps they had achieved that day. Similarly, cooking skyrocketed in popularity – healthy, sustainable, and affordable home-cooked meals were abundant. Do you remember the banana loaf trend? Did you purchase any meal kits?
Working from home has given people extra time to play with that would otherwise have been spent in the car or on public transport. The freedom to structure your day to a work life timetable that suits you has been an element of remote working that has encouraged people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Using diet to boost your health working from home
The internet is a foundation of knowledge when it comes to nutrition to fuel remote working. However, how do you know what is the right approach for you? With so much information on offer it can be hard to decipher dietary changes that could help you both physically and mentally.
Drink around 2 litres of water per day
Without the tea round and water cooler it can be hard to stay hydrated. Furthermore, when we talk about diet, it’s easy to forget the huge impact water can make on improving mental performance and reducing tiredness.
It is recommended to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Purchasing a large water bottle to keep on your desk can help you keep track of your intake.
Opt for slow-release carbohydrates
Sweet treats such as cookies and chocolate are easily accessible when working from home and the office fruit bowl is nowhere to be seen. Carb heavy or sugary foods can create turbulent blood sugar levels which can wreak havoc on your concentration and productivity levels.
If your sweet tooth is in overdrive between your main meals, supplement your diet with fruits, nuts, and oat-based snacks. These slow-release carbohydrates will settle your cravings whilst also providing a steady energy source to help you work efficiently.
Set aside time to meal prep
It is easy to become engrossed in work when there aren’t any colleagues to chat with or a designated lunch hour to take. Meal planning and prepping can be helpful if you want to simply open the fridge and, hey presto, your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are ready and waiting.
Work from home lunch ideas
Overnight oats are a popular choice for an easy breakfast if you don’t fancy rustling anything up before you start work. Food stores are also stocked with grab-and-go porridge pots, cereal bars, and protein-rich shakes if you want an easy breakfast when working from home.
One of the hardest meals is often lunch, with people feeling uninspired by whatever is in their fridge. However, lunch is an important meal of the day and will keep you fuelled through your afternoon of work. Make sure to include sources of proteins, carbs, fats, and your important veggies for a perfectly balanced lunch meal. Popular lunch ideas range from salads and sandwiches to curries and pasta dishes. These can all be prepped before hand to avoid scrapping lunch altogether because you don’t know what to have.
Below, we have found some of our favourite lunch recipes that are quick and easy to rustle up:
- Make-ahead grain bowls
- Squash & sausage risotto
- Chicken, mango and chilli salad
- Avocado poke bowl
- Beef and vegetable casserole
Don’t be scared of working from home weight gain
Switching from your place of work to a home office environment has been a struggle for some. If you have gained weight whilst working remotely, don’t be hard on yourself. When you consider the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months you should be proud how you have adapted. Many people have gained weight since the start of their working from home journey, typically due to:
- Less activity due to no commute
- Access to your home kitchen
- Freedom to graze
- Sports facilities closed for periods
Let’s remember, the number on the scales doesn’t mean anything. Working from home can, understandably, affect your diet and it can take time for you to find a new way of eating that fits with your new working life. Use this as an opportunity to take up a new or hobby or experiment in the kitchen with tasty new recipes. After all, you might have the time now!
How to improve your diet when working from home
If you feel you’ve become stuck in a rut when it comes to your nutrition, there are countless ways to get yourself back on track. The correct diet incorporated with exercise can have a positive impact on your productivity and concentration levels. Furthermore, there are mental and physical impacts outside of work too. These can include:
- Improved physical endurance and stamina
- Clear and healthy skin
- Strong and rejuvenated hair and nails
- Quality sleep and a better sleep schedule
Below, we outline some easy tips for you to put into practice if you want to improve your diet when working from home.
1) Don’t work in your kitchen
A stocked fridge or cupboard can be a distraction so ensure you aren’t working at your kitchen table or breakfast bar. By all means have a snack if you’re hungry but try to eat at regular intervals to avoid grazing all day and making numerous trips to the fridge.
2) Adopt an eating schedule
Three meals and three snacks evenly spaced throughout the day will help keep you fuelled for work. If you meal prep you can make sure your meals and snacks are nutritionally balanced to stop you feeling hungry and to give you the energy you need to focus.
3) Don’t skip meals
Waking up late or being consumed with work are not excuses to skip meals. We all need food to function, and you won’t work to the best of your ability without the correct diet. Never skip a meal or a snack and prioritise your wellbeing before work commitments.
4) Limit your caffeine intake
It can be tempting to give yourself a boost with coffee or an energy drink. However, once the effects of the caffeine have worn off you will likely experience a crash in productivity and focus. Enjoy your favourite drinks within moderation and make sure your meals and snacks contain slow-release carbs to give you the energy you need through the rest of the day.
5) Limit junk food
Again, everything in moderation. Indulging in treats is good for the soul, but too much junk food can make you feel sluggish. Furthermore, as they tend not to be nutritionally balanced, you may find yourself hungry again after a short while. Opt for wholesome and nutritionally balanced foods 80% of the time so you can work efficiently.
Making healthy diet choices when working from home
If you’re not used to working from home, it can be difficult to get to grips with. It can take time to get used to your new schedule and you may find your diet needs to adjust to help you work productively. However, you don’t need to adopt a new lifestyle overnight and small adjustments can be made gradually when you feel comfortable. Remote working has the potential to improve your work life balance and help you create a new healthy lifestyle now that you have extra time in your day.
So, don’t pay attention to what the scales say, focus on how you feel both physically and mentally. Your diet plays a huge part when it comes to your wellbeing, so paying attention to if when working from home can really pay off.