Friday, February 20, 2015

How to Stay Healthy at Work

Staying and feeling healthy isn't the easiest when you have a 9-5 desk job (which doesn't really exist because most hours are 9-6 and if you actually leave before 8 you're lucky). There are certain times in the day when hunger strikes and it's not just boredom hunger. Despite the fact that you're more or less sedentary all day, your body still needs calories to function properly (your brain is probably doing a lot of thinking because we all know how demanding jobs can be now). Most people try to cut calories because they think sitting all day burns nothing, but if you cut too many then your metabolism slows down and you end up storing more fat than if you actually ate more throughout the day.

1. First off, drink a lot of water. I recommend keeping a 15-20 oz bottle with you that you refill periodically. Aim to finish at least 2 per day. Staying hydrated has so many benefits: (1) it keeps you from feeling hungry when you're just thirsty, (2) your metabolism needs a lot of water to function at its best level, (3) your skin will look so much better if you drink 70+ oz of water per day (and staying hydrated helps combat dry skin.. hello NYC winter woes), and (4) it flushes you out so you won't feel so bloated if you've been eating too much salt or whatever lately.

BKR has the cutest water bottles & a great story too!

2. Keep healthy snacks around. This is an obvious one but often we're too lazy to actually carry the snacks to work or think about what to bring so we opt to just stop at Starbucks for a croissant that one day and then bring something tomorrow.. and tomorrow never seems to come. Some of my personal recommendations are:
  • baby carrots are a great snack to keep in the fridge no nibble on 
  • healthier granola bars and snack bars are great because you don't even have to think about portion sizes. Just steer clear of the ones that are like eating candy bars such as: special K anything is not good, BelVita breakfast biscuits, and Quaker chewy granola bars. Some healthier options are as follows (or you can always make your own!):

  • Ezekiel sprouted grain bread is the best bread I've found texture-wise and health-wise. You can keep it right in your office freezer and pop it in the toaster for some mid-day toast (have some tea too!)

  • Kale chips are becoming really popular and they're super easy to make too. Just make sure you read the ingredients (which you should always be doing anyway!) to check if there's anything funky in there. Brad's Raw Foods makes a bunch of different flavors that are not too bad for you

  • Mixed nuts are great to get some healthy fats into you if you've just opted for a salad for lunch. I buy the fancy raw mixed nuts from Trader Joe's because nuts can be pricey, but theirs are cheap and they don't have any added oil or salt, which is extremely uncommon when you're buying nuts. 
  • Yogurt is fab to keep in the fridge too, but don't buy the fruit flavored ones that are loaded with sugar. Just buy plain yogurt and either add fruit, nuts, granola, or whatever your heart desires! I used to love Chobani plain, but since I'm lactose intolerant I love WholeSoy & Co's unsweetened plain
  • Peanut butter and almond butter (all natural, no sugar or salt added) are a great thing to dip your carrots in, add to your yogurt, or spread on your toast. I also get these from Trader Joe's. Make sure it's the consistency you like (crunchy or smooth) and that it says unsalted.
  • Popcorn is so easy to make and it's such a great snack. Opt out of buying the bags of movie theater butter/kettle corn/salted whatever that are awful for you. Buy plain kernels and brown paper bags, put 2 Tbsp of kernels in a bag, roll it closed & pop it in the microwave for about 2 minutes (keep an eye on it because you don't want anything to burn!). No oil or butter necessary
  • Fruit such as apples, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, etc. (whatever is in season) are great to snack on at any time or to put in your yogurt (side note: toast with banana slices & peanut butter is delish)
  • Almond milk is great to drink instead of water or coffee and it fills you up. My favorite is Califia Farms unsweetened plain. If you keep cereal in the office this is great for that too. Plus, almond milk doesn't go bad as quickly as regular does!

3. I highly recommend having a set of measuring cups & spoons. Whether you're having peanut butter, mixed nuts, a cereal, or whatever, you should always measure to make sure you're not overeating. Also, keep plates and utensils so you're not forced to eat out of bags. This is when you get in trouble because you just keep going and before you know it, that bag is empty. Portioning everything out is a great habit to get into even when you aren't at work.

4. Do not skip breakfast! Your metabolism doesn't start, you end up binging during the day, and your hungry by 9 am because that coffee won't hold you over very long. The biggest issue with not eating breakfast is the metabolism factor though. Your body goes into shutdown mode and just stores what you eat as fat after you've been up for too long and even when you finally do eat, your metabolism isn't really up to what it can be. While living in a dorm I usually just throw a 1/2 cup of Trader Joe's multigrain oatmeal in the microwave with 3/4 cup water for 2 minutes, add some cinnamon and 1/2 banana and call it a day. Eating a healthy breakfast is key & is so easy

Those are my tips as far as snacking goes. For exercise there are just simple things that you can do to burn a few extra calories here & there
  • take the stairs if you're going 6 floors or less
  • get off a stop earlier on the train or park a little further in the lot
  • take a walk during your lunch hour, even if it's only 15 minutes
  • make it a point to get up each hour (this gets even easier when you need to refill your water bottle because you're drinking so much!)
  • get in 30 minutes of exercise outside of work 3-4 times each week, whether it's a class like yoga, spin, pilates, etc. or if you're doing your own thing at home. I really like Tone It Up's total body & HIIT workouts on Youtube 

All of the things I mention play into my 9-6 days at my internship. Sitting down on Sunday and planning your week ahead in terms of exercise and nutrition is really helpful, too. Whether you just do this mentally or actually write it out, just figure out when you're going to eat these days & which days you'll fit your 30 minute exercises in. It takes the stress out of the morning routine or running around shoving snacks in your bag, grabbing an unhealthy last minute lunch, ordering Seamless for dinner, and not really knowing when you're going to be able to make it to pilates. Some weeks are harder than others to plan & predict, but just do the best you can!


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