The latest government advice will see more of us working from home than ever before. For those of us not used to it, the lack of familiar routine can throw our usual habits out of the window. What and when we choose to eat for example, are likely to shift in the coming weeks, whether it’s because we have more access to the fridge, or are engulfing whole chocolate bars at the thought of having the children home from school.
For some this may be a positive time, do you have more head space to finally think about yourself first and how you would like to adjust your habits to create a healthier version of yourself?
Or, does the challenge that potential self- isolation and working from home will bring, make you feel less in control of your diet and eating habits?
With clean hands and a deep breath, I share with you my top tips for boosting, no not your immunity, but your well-being over the next few months, whilst you are working from home.
Managing The Chimp
Working from home can bring out our inner playful chimp – the one that loves the opportunity to break the rules. I don’t have to have a shower?! I don’t have to have breakfast before I leave for work because, hey, I’m only in the lounge!
But its best on all nutrition counts for the human to remain in charge; let the chimp run riot with your washing routine or work attire to satisfy its rebellious side.
Performance nutrition for home
Use your phone alarm to keep to structured mealtimes – your body and mental health will thank you. Carve out 20 – 30 mins for breakfast and lunch, and remember colleagues working from home might not have the same pattern as you but this doesn’t mean you need to agree to that call if its when you’re planning on having lunch.
Make a mental note of what you could have BEFORE you open the fridge. Once that door is open, it’s a free for all to be honest. You’ll find yourself grabbing random items and will have no recollection come 6pm what you actually put in your mouth.
No more kitchen politics
Use the lack of queue for the microwave, and/or access to an oven, to have a decent lunch. Why not get into the habit of cooking more for dinner that could act as lunch the next day. You can stink out your virtual office, hopefully the dog won’t mind?!
If not making the whole meal in bulk for the next day, at least cook double protein – 2 salmon steaks, double the lentils, more chicken, for example. This can be added to lunch easily and take on a completely different form; serving it with a grain pouch, oatcakes, seeded wraps, jacket potato salad stuff, roasted veg… no need for anymore soggy sandwiches!
Sometimes a barrier to eating healthier is access to good food, or the idea of having to plan and take foods with you on your commute. Now the commute has gone, so have some of the barriers to eating better – or perhaps the temptations or free upgrade options at your local coffee shop?
Make new habits happen
At home use the ‘tag it on’ behavioural theory. Place the fruit bowl by the kettle, get the veg out of the fridge and also put in the same bowl so you’re more tempted to pick on high fibre foods as the kettle boils.
When putting the dishwasher on in the evening, take 2 minutes to create a pre – portioned interesting trail mix to have at your desk between 3 and 4pm. Put in a little ramekin dish and cover – all ready for snack time. Between 3 and 4pm is the most challenging time for snacking, and if you’ve had a crap morning, your snacks will be worse and larger in portion size. Apples don’t tend to cut it at this point – your brain and taste buds want something a little more interesting.
Choose from the following and have a pinch of each:
- Unsalted nuts
- Dried fruit e,g, dried apricots
- Dry breakfast cereals
- Sweet and savoury popcorn
- Fresh fruit e.g. berries
Finally, when you’re enjoying some extra Netflix, drink out of a tall thin glass if you’re keen to control the amount you’re having, its proven to help you drink less – which will also help your immunity too.