How to build healthy habits at work

We all want to eat more vegetables and less junk, work out more, and maintain a healthy weight. It’s pretty simple to have good intentions and goals, but our busy lives too often get in the way of achieving them.

One of the biggest challenges when trying to live healthier is our workplace environment. From luncheons and parties to endless snacks in the break room, temptations lurk at every desk. But with a few simple tips, you can learn to navigate your work environment, remain social, and stick to your new healthy goals!

1.  Prioritize Meals
Eating healthy at work can be a challenge. For many of us, we rely on take-out or food provided at the office. But you can take control by packing healthy lunches and snacks for yourself at home. Strive to pack a good balance, making a quarter of your meal protein, a quarter starch, and half vegetables. Choose lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish and whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa. And don’t push off your meals. It’s easy to fall into habits of working through meals and snacks. Instead, plan a time to walk away from your desk and nourish your body! Taking a break to eat will give you time to reenergize for the rest of your day.

2.   Clean Out the Junk
We’re all guilty of having that secret stash of chips or candy in our desk drawer but now is the It’s time to GET RID OF IT! Don’t fall victim to mindless snacking, which can contribute to hundreds of unnecessary calories in your day. Replace your junk food snacks with healthier options like fruit, unsalted nuts, and whole-wheat crackers. Utilize the community fridge to keep vegetables, low fat-yogurt and cheese for a variety of healthy options. When you make good food accessible, you are less likely to reach for the junk.

3.  Get Moving
For many people, the majority of the workday is spent sitting, but it doesn’t have to be this way. According to the Annal of Internal Medicine, prolonged hours of sitting and physical inactivity put you at a greater risk for many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even early mortality. Suggest standing meetings, take a walk to your coworker instead of firing off an email from your chair, or go for a walk outside during your break.

4.  Re-Think Your Drink
Calories can add up quickly with beverages like soda, sweetened tea, and flavored coffee drinks. Not to mention, these sugar bombs add little to no nutritional value to your diet. Instead, fill your cup with water throughout the day to help you avoid dehydration, maintain a healthy weight, and boost energy. Water needs vary based on age, sex, weight, and level of activity. A good rule of thumb is 6-8 glasses of water each day. To increase your water intake, try marking your bottle to indicate how much should be consumed by a certain time.

Annie Courto is a full-time Registered Dietitian with  OnPoint Nutrition, providing weight loss and nutrition counseling.

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