Eating well is always important, especially now with the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Supplied
Eating well is always important, especially now with the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Supplied

5 ways to eat healthy while working from home

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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A nutritious diet supports the immune system, fuels and nourishes the body, and benefits the mood and mental health.

In theory, following a healthy diet should be easy when we are at home. There are no office sweets to tempt us, and we have more time to prepare home-cooked meals.

The reality, though, is that staying on track can be a challenge. With the refrigerator only a few steps away, it is too easy to tackle boredom, soothe stress or procrastinate work by reaching for snacks throughout the day.

With the help of dietitian Mbali Mapholi, we looked at ways to eat healthy while working from home.

Establish a routine

It is important to establish a routine when it comes to eating while working from home.

Do as you would have at the office, by allocating meals and snack times accordingly.

Stick to your break times as this will mainly help you with portion control at mealtimes and reduce the grazing all day tendency.

When working from home, you can find yourself grazing all day as the pantry and the fridge are easily at your reach.

Plan and or prepare your meals

Have you ever caught yourself very hungry that you could even eat anything put in front of you?

Some people even say, “I am so hungry, I could eat a horse”.

Well, this happens when we are extremely hungry.

When you have not planned what your next meal or snack would be, you will find yourself eating any type of food available and normally in high quantities.

Conveniently, this tends to be foods of poor nutrition for most people. It is important to plan your meals.

This could be a mental note of all meals for that day, an actual written menu for the day or week, pre-cooked meals, or pre-cut recipe items for quick cooking. Defrosting meats well in advance counts as meal preparation and planning.

Ensure adequate good protein sources at mealtimes

We often prioritise high carbohydrate sources at main meals (breakfast or lunch or supper) and ignore protein sources and vegetables.

All food groups are important and have a vital role to play in our health. Protein helps with satiety among other functions – feeling full for longer is important as it reduces many trips to the fridge or pantry to scavenge for snacks.

It helps a great deal to ensure that your main meals are complete with all food groups in the right quantities and good quality.

A typical meal should have whole grains (source of carbs), lean protein, plenty of vegetables and /or fruits, and healthy fats to bind everything.

Do not starve, buy wisely

For most people, healthy eating seems expensive and now that they are working from home, they might even skip meals to save food.

Do not fear canned food items such as canned fish, and legumes (beans, chickpeas), and canned vegetables (canned mixed vegetables, tomato, etc.)

These foods are nutritious, cheaper, and quick to prepare especially for those working from home with quick lunch grabs. Include frozen vegetables in your cart, they are nutritious, cheaper, and last longer than fresh vegetables.

Take advantage of bulk buying of staples, for example, whole grains, non-perishable nutrition-packed food items that you can incorporate into your meals.

Drink wisely

Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day; it helps a great deal if water is at close reach and kept cool.

Avoid a high intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and or caffeinated drinks – as much as they offer that kick, they might negatively affect your eating patterns for the day.

Take advantage of refreshing home-made caffeine-free teas served hot or cold, fruit or herbs infused water, and low sugar drinks throughout the day.

Pro-tip: Whenever that urge to go to the kitchen comes again within the last hour of your last trip, ask yourself if you are hungry or thirsty.

If your last meal was many moons ago, eat! If you had just eaten, drink water!

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