As much as we love being in the office with our colleagues, catching up over the water cooler, working from home is becoming more and more common as businesses have adapted to the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. Working from home brings its own set of challenges when it comes to sticking to a healthy eating plan. Being so close to our own kitchen all day makes it easier to mindlessly snack across the day, so it’s quite easy for the intake to add up. Working from home can also reduce our incidental activity across the day. You might normally have a commute to work that involves walking to and from the car or public transport, while the steps from the loungeroom to the home office are not quite as long. This can have a big impact on our overall energy output, and when combined with the closing of gyms during lockdowns, means that food habits can impact weight management. Additionally, eating well at home can really help with keeping energy levels stable across the day which then helps with productivity and concentration. We know how tricky this time can feel for many people so we’ve put together an ideal day on a plate for you to help you manage portion sizes and also get some inspiration for healthy meals and snacks if you’re feeling stuck while at home!
Starting the day off with breakfast really helps with keeping blood sugar levels stable and energy steady across the morning. Try a protein-rich breakfast with either fruit or vegetables to boost your fibre intake and keep you feeling fuller for longer. When you’re working from home you might have a little more time in the morning for preparing something delicious. Try:
- Smashed avocado on a slice of sourdough with a boiled egg and dukkah
- Or a warming bowl of porridge topped with nuts, milk of choice and a berry compote (simply warm up fresh or frozen berries in the microwave)
Even if you’ve had a filling breakfast, it makes sense to feel a little peckish mid-morning. Rather than trying to hold out until lunch, satisfy the hunger now to prevent feeling overly-hungry later and potentially over-doing portion sizes. A protein and healthy-fat rich snack will help keep the hunger at bay.
- A small handful of mixed unsalted nuts
- Or an apple cut into slices and dipped into 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
One of the greatest benefits of working from home is having the time and space to make something fresh at lunch time, rather than relying on takeaway or the same meal prepped containers all week. Prepping a few ingredients at the beginning of the week can be really helpful for putting together a delicious meal each day, such as roasted vegetables, cooked chicken or boiled eggs and cooked rice or quinoa. Using the portion plate is really helpful – picture half your plate filled with vegetables or salad, ¼ of the plate with carbohydrates and the other ¼ with your protein option.
- Rainbow bowl of brown rice, diced tofu, purple cabbage and roasted carrots and capsicum with a zingy dressing
- Or a Mediterranean tuna salad made with a cup of brown rice, a tin of tuna, halved cherry tomatoes, olives and baby cucumbers topped with a drizzle of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3pm-itis is no joke! It’s completely normal to feel a dip in energy levels mid-afternoon even if you’re not in the office. Eating at this time is a good idea as it will help tie you over until dinner time, preventing the pre-dinner raid of the pantry when you’re super hungry. Make sure your afternoon snack is protein based to help stabilise blood sugar levels.
- Greek yoghurt topped with fresh berries and a small handful of nuts
- Or a few rice cakes topped with tinned tuna and avocado
By dinner time these filling and satiating snack ideas should have helped to keep extreme hunger away, so focus on a nourishing dinner that will help you recover from the day. Picture the portion plate again, aiming to include ½ plate of vegetables or salad, ¼ plate of protein and ¼ plate of low GI carbohydrates with your meal.
- Grilled salmon with broccolini and mashed potato
- Or homemade minestrone soup topped with fresh herbs