Got your fingers back in the biscuit tin before you even realise what you’re doing? Many of our daily actions are done automatically as if our brains are on autopilot, or have been programmed to carry out repetitive actions without a second thought. These are habits. The more often you do these habits, the more ingrained in our brain these actions become.
When we disrupt our daily pattern and take away the usual environment, we might get confused and lose the habits that we have created. We know it’s especially hard working from home — it’s just far too close to the fridge.
It can be tough to maintain the healthy dietary habits now we’re all working from the kitchen table or the sofa. However, there’s no need to panic that you’ll lose the dedication to your diet. Here are some of our best tips to stay on track with your diet when working from the comfort of your own home.
1. Make a meal plan
Before you think that this is the craziest idea that you’ve ever come across (who’s going to know what they’ll feel like eating in five days’ time?), hear us out. Aside from saving you money on buying unnecessary food, a plan will help bring normality to your life as you can organise your food like how you would normally eat at the office.
Do you usually open the biscuit jar at 11am behind Mary’s desk? Schedule in a morning snack at 11am. If you find yourself wandering to the cafeteria for a coffee mid-afternoon, then plan an afternoon latte into your daily meal plan.
It doesn’t have to be as regimental as what you’ll eat, when you’ll eat it, and how much you’ll eat. If you think that will be too much pressure in amongst the change of daily life when working from home, just make a note of a few meals that suit your diet, and pick one from this list when it comes to making your food. You might consider writing something as simple as ‘morning snack’ and jotting down a few healthy snack options to choose from rather than listing the specific food item.
2. Keep healthy snacks in easy reach
Being out of the usual 9-5 routine can lead to stress or boredom eating — a completely normal and human trait! When the munchies hit, we generally want something simple to grab and go. If you know that you’ll lean towards sugary foods outside of your dietary regime when working from home, place any foods that you’re trying to moderate or avoid out of reach or out of sight. It might even help to hand them over to a family member to keep a hold of or store in the garage or another room which you don’t access frequently. You know the motto: out of sight, out of mind.
3. Prepare snacks ahead of time
It’s easy to say that we should keep healthy snacks in view and unhealthy snacks out of view, but when our ideal snacks take time to prepare in contrast to the ease of just opening a chocolate wrapper, it can be difficult to adhere and commit to. To keep healthy snacking simple, prepare some of your favourite snacks in your free time, or why not concoct a range of snacks that fit your diet goals as soon as you return from the supermarket?
Preparing your snacks ahead of when you need them is also a great way to use your food proactively. Apart from knowing exactly what goes into your snacks and being able to change the nutrient content to fit your own goals, you can bulk prepare the food and store in the freezer for later use to save time in the future.
4. Motivational quotes
Quotes, images or moments that inspire you to stay on track or stop and make you think, act as good reminders to continue reaching for your goals. Working from home means that you gain extra time in the day as your daily commute to work dramatically reduces.
Use some of this time to get creative and compile a selection of motivational posters to strategically decorate around the house; whether it be on the fridge or freezer, a particular food cupboard, dotted around your workspace, or even beside your bed to focus on from the moment you start your day.
5. Eat away from your desk
Regardless of where you have set up a workplace, eating away from your desk is a great trick for staying on track with your diet. This is even more important when it comes to working from home as there’s limited separation between the workplace and down time.
Eating should be considered as free time where you can switch off from work and relax, something we all struggle to do if we’re still surrounded by reminders of our work and the temptation to check out that new incoming email alert.
Eating away from your work desk also means that there are fewer distractions, meaning you can focus on your food. As well as psychologically making you feel more full as you can concentrate on what you’re eating, it means that you can focus on the type of food that you’re fuelling your body with.
Take Home Message
Realistically, working from home won’t be the same as working your usual 9-5 hours with the same headspace, but there are small things that we can do to reduce the likelihood of taking a step off the pedal when it comes to our diet. These tips will not only help you stick with your food goals but will also allow the creation of new healthy habits which will benefit you in the long run. Remember to go easy on yourself — these are tough adjustments we’re all making and keeping yourself happy and healthy is most important.