Keeping your refrigerator stocked with vegetables, fruits, and other nourishing, low-calorie foods is an important part of a weight-loss plan. The problem is, all that healthy food doesn’t do you much good if you eat the majority of your meals at the office, or on the way to and from work. According to recent government labor statistics, Americans who work full time spend on average almost 9 hours a day at work. Factor in your commute, and you’ve got the bulk of your day. Here, three easy ways to make your workday meals work for you.
1. Make Yourself Breakfast on the Go
So you don’t have time to whip up a veggie scramble? That doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy home-cooked breakfast. And with the typical bakery scone tallying more than 400 calories, it’s worthwhile to make the effort. Easy to eat one-handed: A toast sandwich of nut butter and preserves on whole grain bread, or a whole wheat tortilla wrapped around a cheese stick. Add beans and lettuce, wrap up tight, and you’ve got a breakfast burrito. If your commute allows two-handed eating or you can eat at the office, pack granola or whole grain cereal in a travel container the night before, and just add milk. Top with nuts or berries for a more powerful nutritional punch.
2. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Replace that candy bar in your desk drawer with whole-grain crackers, nuts, and trail mix. If there’s an office fridge, stock it with hummus and mini carrots, low-fat yogurt, edamame (fresh soybeans), and other nutritious power foods. You’ll slash your daily calories and feel much more energetic, too.
3. Brown-Bag It
With a little bit of advance planning, you can have a delicious 400-calorie salad or soup neatly packed in Tupperware in place of that 1200-calorie plate from the local takeout. Wash and chop a week’s worth of veggies ahead of time for super-quick assembly, or make a big pot of soup on Sunday night. Note: This does not need to mean you need to eat a solitary meal at your desk. Head outside or to the lunchroom with coworkers, or meet a friend at the park. Better yet, use the first 15 minutes of your lunch hour to eat, then take a walk. (Remember, you saved yourself that half-hour of standing in line at the deli!)
For more calorie-cutting strategies, check out these ideas from Kaiser Permanente’s health education department.