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Nutrition Tips for Working From Home

Heather Bray, RD

*Disclaimer: the views and opinions of this article are based on the best available evidence and my professional opinion as a Registered Dietitian. This article is not meant to act as a substitute for medical or medical nutrition advice. For medical or medical nutrition advice that is designed for your individual needs, please consult your doctor or Registered Dietitian. 

Have you been working from home for some time now and find yourself wondering:

“How can I get [back] into a positive routine with food?”

“Why is eating when working from home so difficult?!”

“What is the best way for me to feed myself and family when working in this new hybrid model?”

Well then this one's for you.

I've compiled a list of my observations and top tips as a dietitian who's been working with clients 1:1 for the past 5 years. Over this time I've seen the way these new work schedules have impacted peoples lives and subsequently their diets.

woman working on laptop in kitchen with supplement bottles beside her.

Themes that I’ve observed for those working from home:

  • Skipping meals and not taking lunch breaks

  • Eating meals/snacks in front of a screen (mindless eating) 

  • Nothing is prepared so meals and snacks become “whatever I can grab”

  • Small or “incomplete” meals that often promote further snacking later on

  • Snacking in the evening 

  • Perceived lack of time

If any of these sound like you, you may benefit from the tips below.

Nutrition Tips for Working from Home:

Infographic titled: 5 Nutrition tips for Working from Home which includesbalanced meals and snacks, prioritizing meal times, making a menu or meal plan and prepping a head of time staying hydrated and practicing mindful eating

1. Balance

Here’s what this means when it comes to nutrition when working from home.

A balanced meal is one that contains a carbohydrate (ideally high fibre), fat and protein. Generally, most adults need 20-30g protein per meal to help us feel satisfied. High fibre foods and adding a source of fat can also help us feel satisfied, longer.

So if you’ve been used to grabbing a handful of chips or having leftover vegetables for lunch - the lack of balance with these options is keeping you feeling more hungry and less energized leaving you with energy dips and mood swings.

Here’s what to do instead: think about addition. 

Take those leftover vegetables for example, can you add a protein to it? Perhaps a can of tuna, hard boiled eggs or steamed (from frozen) edamame? Can you also add a high fibre carbohydrate - such as quinoa, or a slice of whole grain bread? 

2. Prioritize Meal Times

I know it can be easy to have meals and snacks at your desk - or just work through meal and snack times all together. Hectic mornings can also leave us feeling like we have no time for breakfast.

But here’s the thing, your body works really well with a schedule. Think of it like our sleep-wake cycle. Your body has times that it naturally wants to sleep and wake up - this is similar when it comes to food. 

Most people need a meal or snack every 3-4 hours (more frequently for kids, teens and pregnant people). So consider this the next time you go to reach for yet another coffee ask yourself: when was the last time I ate something? 

I also see many people say that they don’t have time to have meals.

Here’s the hard truth - you need to make the time. If your calendar is overbooked, discuss this with your team, management, assistant or whoever can help you - it is imperative to make the time to have something to eat, even if its a quick 15 minute break. 

If you absolutely have to work through a meal, consider a hand-held option such as a wrap, sandwich or smoothie. All of these can be prepped ahead of time as well to save time throughout the work day. 

3. Make a Menu Plan and Prep Ahead of Time

I know, this one sounds daunting. I used to be so adversed to meal planning as well. 

How am I supposed to know what I’m going to want to eat on Thursday, it’s only Sunday! - Actual quote by me as a dietetic intern

But here’s the thing, what you’re really doing is taking the guesswork out of it throughout the week. Instead of trying to figure out “what’s for dinner” each day, boom, you already have something lined up. This is why those delivery meal kits are so successful, because you don’t have to think about it or pick up the groceries. 

The benefits here are that you: buy what you actually need so you’re not wasting money on excess groceries, you save yourself the stress of figuring out what to eat each day and lastly, it helps you save time on meal preparation because you’ve already figured out the hardest step!

On top of this, having a few meals that you make double or triple of can serve as leftovers the next day will save you time in the kitchen! Personally, I love to prep my breakfasts for the week - usually its my tried and true Triple Berry Overnight Oats. I also find it so helpful to batch prep sides and parts of a meal such as: batch roasting vegetables, making extra chicken, fish or homemade meat balls.

If you’re looking for more help with Menu Planning, check out my free Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning Resource - this comes with a sample weekly meal plan and grocery list! 

4. Stay Hydrated

If you’re someone who struggles to get enough fluid each day consider these tips:

  • Keep your water bottle on the right hand side of your computer (near where your notifications pop up) 

  • Get a fun water bottle that you actually enjoy drinking out of

  • Flavour your water or try sparkling water

  • Tea counts as well! 

  • Set timers/alarms to help remind you to take a sip

5. Use Mindfulness 

Mindful eating is the practice of using all of one’s senses to be present and in the moment with the food they are eating.

While this may sound like an abstract concept, the goal is quite simple - minimize distractions when eating so you can maximize enjoyment.

No, this isn’t about “tricking yourself to eating less” it’s about connecting with your body and giving yourself the time and break you need. 

Mindful Eating Resources

All in all the message is to start putting balanced nutrition at the forefront no matter what your "new normal" looks like. Using these tips can help make an immense difference in your overall nutrient consumption, energy levels throughout the day and overall satisfaction with food. 

If you’re looking for support from a RD, feel free to reach me here OR you can book a FREE call right into my schedule here. 

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