Transitioning from working full time outside of the home to working from home has been interesting, to say the least. There definitely has been a learning curve involved since I started back in September. Now, adding in kids stuck at home it's a whole new ball game. I had the hang of eating healthy while working outside of the home and didn't realize the adjustments I would need to make when I started working from home. Regardless of whether or not you are working from home with kids present or not, here are a few things that I have learned along the way about eating healthy while working from home.
1. Prepare your meals in advance. When I worked outside of the home I always prepped my meals even if it was only one meal, such as breakfast. Transitioning to working from home made me feel like I didn’t need to because I had a kitchen at my disposal. What I didn’t take into consideration was the time interruption and how switching my brain from a work task to a meal would prove to be challenging and take up a lot of time. I know some people enjoy the freedom of not preparing meals, but for me prepping my meals allows me to spend more time on tasks which equals more time with my family and less stress overall. If something isn’t prepped I’m way more likely to not eat or just snack all day. Meal prep can be a breakfast casserole, mason jar salads, or even just cooking up a protein ahead of time so you can throw it together quickly. Click here to get my top 3 resources for meal prep.
2. Don't forget to eat breakfast. It’s so easy to drop kids off at school or get them started with school work and just dive into work without eating breakfast. When you don’t eat breakfast you are setting yourself up for a blood sugar rollercoaster. You are also more likely to get hungrier down the road and struggle with snacking. I tend to make a bullet proof coffee to start my day and then eat a meal after I have the kids settled. Sometimes this is an egg scramble, a smoothie, or even heating up a breakfast casserole.
3. Schedule your meal times. I don't know about you, but I tend to get caught up in a project and lose track of time. By scheduling in my meal times and make eating a priority I am less likely to lose track of time and then realize I haven’t eaten. Loosely schedule break times for meals and consider setting an alarm to remind you it's time to eat.
4. Have healthy snacks ready to go. A few of my go to healthy snacks are celery and nut butter, chia seed pudding, The New Primal beef sticks, fruit, yogurt with my cinnamon nut-ola, and nuts or seeds. All of these items are easy to prep ahead of time. Making the chia seed pudding takes less than 5 minutes and the nut-ola makes a lot so it will last you a long time.
5. Keep the kid snacks out of sight. I don’t leave the kids dried fruit, fruit snacks, sweet potato chips, or granola bars out where I can see them. Inevitably, I would be grabbing those instead of a snack that I had prepped for myself. Out of sight is out of mind or at least gives you another line of defense. Once you have a routine established you may not feel as pulled to these things, but until then it helps to keep healthy choices front and center.
6. Have a stop time. Plan when you will stop working for the day and allow yourself a transition period. At the end of my work day I have a routine to help me switch into home/mom mode. Sometimes I take a shower or change my clothes and I give myself some unwind time while I cook dinner. For me, most days, cooking dinner is a way that I decompress. I let my kids play outside, in rooms, or watch a show while my brain decompresses over dinner. I’ve found it helps me to not sit down during my decompress time or I don’t always want to get back up and make dinner.
7. Eat your meals away from your desk. This is beneficial on so many levels! If you eat while you are working you aren’t connected with your food and you aren’t in a state of rest. Letting your mind and body be present or at rest while you eat helps you to digest your food properly. If it’s nice outside eat your meal al fresco and soak up some Vitamin D.
8. Move your body. Continue to move your body or consider a standing desk to keep from sitting all day. When we move our body we are more likely to make healthy food choices.
9. Drink water. Keep your water glass in sight. It can be so easy to just keep filling up that coffee cup especially because working from home can provide a cozy feeling. I keep water in front of me as much as possible to serve as a constant reminder. Another idea is to fill up mason jars or a pitcher with the amount of water you want to drink each day, so you can track how you are doing.
10. Set a goal. Why is eating healthy important to you? How does it impact you personally, as a parent, as a friend, or as a spouse? It’s so easy when you work from home to snack throughout the day or to eat out of avoidance/procrastination. Set your goal and put a reminder on the fridge and on your computer. Maintaining focus on who you are or who you are becoming helps the food distractions fall to the side.
If you have kids at home with you while you are working from home it can potentially be a roadblock to eating healthy. Here are a few things to consider. Provide set snack times, make a list or put their snacks in easy to grab places, so that the incessant asking for snacks is a little more manageable. Meal prep some of their foods too. Consider “packing” their lunch and keeping it in the fridge so they can grab it at lunch time if you are busy. Remember that you are modeling healthful eating to them.
Keep striving. Nourish your body and mind. Give yourself space to learn what works best for you. You've got this!