Hi, friends! My husband and I are currently overseas on a two-week long adventure in Ireland, Scotland and London. Follow our adventures over on Instagram! While we’re away, I’ve invited a few of my blogger friends to share recipes and intuitive eating posts! Today’s post is by my friend Leanne Ray, RD.
Birthdays, retirement celebrations, baby showers, new hires, going-away parties… if you work in an office setting, sometimes it seems like every day is a special occasion. We all love a good party but it can be less-than-ideal to have cake for your afternoon snack every day. Fortunately, you can enjoy the best of both worlds by working toward becoming a more intuitive eater, focusing on what makes you feel your best, and setting up your food environment to totally crush it at work. Here are four strategies that can help you navigate food in the workplace, sans the food rules:
Stock your workspace with snacks that are enjoyable, but also leave you feeling energized instead of depleted.
By depleted I mean tired, zapped of energy or wanting something “more” (like when you make a snack of plain raw veggies only to feel totally unsatisfied after). Our food environment has a huge impact on what we choose, so making your favorite tasting power foods easily accessible is one of the simplest and most effective changes you can make.
Make sure you are eating enough at meal time.
Yes, you read that correctly. If you think you are doing yourself a favor or being “good” by keeping lunch as low-cal as possible, you might actually be setting yourself up for overdoing it later. Include a variety of flavors, textures and nutrients at breakfast and your mid-day meal for improved satiety and satisfaction and you’ll be less likely to grab the first thing that presents itself later in the afternoon. Looking for an awesome make-ahead lunch option? Try my favorite salad-in-a-jar!
Consider some ways to boost energy, sans food.
Sugar and caffeine are often the first targets when energy levels start to dip at 3:00 pm, and while fun and tasty, these tend to fizzle out fairly quickly. Keep other strategies in your back pocket for those moments you aren’t really hungry but need a boost. Try a five-minute walk outside in the fresh air, a cold glass of water, or a quick full-body stretch.
When treats are offered, give yourself unconditional permission to have what you want, when you want.
Sometimes dessert hits the spot, other times you can probably take it or leave it. Unconditional permission means you are removing the “forbidden” allure of indulgence and can enjoy a treat for what it is and move on without self-judgement. It also means you can politely decline knowing that this isn’t a “now or never” type situation.
As with any lifestyle changes, it will take some time before these habits become routine so don’t worry about perfecting them all over night. You might try working through one at a time until you feel confident to move to the next. Regardless of how long that takes, the fact that you are taking steps toward improved wellness is a huge accomplishment in itself!
Now I would love to hear from you… What are your favorite power snacks to keep at work and/or what is your favorite thing to pack for lunch?
Leanne Ray is a Denver-based registered dietitian who coordinates the employee wellness program for a public health department. Her professional interests include promoting an intuitive eating approach in conjunction with cooking and meal planning education all in the name of self-care. Connect with Leanne on her blog, and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.