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  • Writer's pictureElaine Anderson RD

5 tips on sustaining good nutrition habits when returning to the office

For some of us, working from home may have helped us eat more healthily. This may be because there was less temptation around such as the office snack table. For others, it may have lead to more unhealthy habits.

Being out of a routine or not having a social environment can throw off the best of us. I know I struggled with my fluid intake as I wasn't offered regular drinks from colleagues!

Wherever you work, here are some tips on how to sustain good nutrition habits when you return to your office or workplace. These include preparation, optimising fluid intake, sharing your experiences, and what to choose when eating out.

1. Preparation

How to keep good nutrition habits when returning to the office

Preparation is always key when it comes to healthy eating at home or at work. You may not have had to think of this so much when working from home. Now you are going to be out of the house it's an important habit to get back into. If you think you will struggle, start now. Try to prepare a couple of lunches the night before to get you in the groove. For example, you could make some homemade soups or try making some beetroot hummus for snacks.

2. Remember fluid

How to keep good nutrition habits when returning to the office

Fluid is important when it comes to health and productivity at work. You may have been better at drinking at home with fewer distractions. Having the kettle nearby may have also helped. Once we get back to commuting and a busy workplace we may forget to drink enough. We need to be drinking at least 6-8 (250mls) drinks a day to keep us well hydrated. If you are looking for ways to help, have a look at my post on Smart Hydration Strategies at Work. Also, we may be wearing masks some time, which may stop us from drinking regularly. Try setting a reminder on your phone or pop a sticky note on your screen to remind you to hydrate!

3. Share your success with colleagues

If you have managed to achieve some health goals in lockdown, why not share your success with your colleagues? Ask them to help support you to continue with the changes you have made. Or, you could see if anyone wants help to keep on track themselves. This will help those with those awkward conversations. You won't have to explain yourself on fish and chips Friday anymore. And, they won't offer you biscuits with every tea round.

4. Eating out

How to keep good nutrition habits when returning to the office

We all want to support local businesses who have been closed this year. Pick a day, once a week where you don't take your lunch to work. It doesn't have to put you off track. If it's a sit-down meal opt for a protein-containing meal such as lentil soup and wholemeal bread. This is better than deep-fried chicken on white bread with chips on the side. You will thank yourself when you are not falling asleep at your desk at 2 pm!

5. Buying in

If you pop to the shops or a cafe to buy your lunch remember to read labels before you buy. Depending on your goals you may need to focus on the fat, salt or sugar content. Many sandwich shops can make up fresh sandwiches in a healthier way. Ask for less butter, choose wholemeal bread or wraps, and pack with your favourite salads. This will help increase your fibre, vitamin and mineral intake.

It's all about balance...

Office party food

Many of us are looking forward to getting back to work and seeing colleagues and friends. It will give us a great boost after what has been a difficult year. However, it's still important to enjoy those moments when it's someone's birthday and have a piece of cake. Many workplaces also have 'bring and share' lunches too although there may be new rules around infection control. The key is ensuring you keep balance to how often this is. If this is a regular occurence, bring your own food to help keep you on track.

If you would like more help and information:

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