If you work the 9-5, the 12-hour shift, or even just the lunch cover, you can definitely use your nutrient consumption to help you get through the day, without sabotaging your results. Here’s how:
We know you’ve heard it before, that the only way to ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly is to fine-tune your meal prep. But we’re not just talking about meal prep here. If you listen to your body and pay attention to your habits and cravings, you will start to see a pattern.
It may begin with poor concentration around 2pm, then escalate to frequent laps to the fridge or cupboard to see what’s in there, and it could end with a sigh and reaching for a packet of chips, or a candy bar. If this is you, never fear, we’ve all been there! And here is how to get out. Anticipate and PLAN for your cravings – become aware of when you are starting to lose focus and what you start to crave. Once you are aware you can start to plan strategies to counteract giving in to temptation.
For example, if you know that at around 2.30 the rest of the office slip outside for a coffee, a smoke, or a snack - then make sure you come to work prepared and armed with something that is delicious, but maybe not so indulgent as a cookie or chocolate bar. You can pick up some awesome protein balls and slices at your local cafe, or you can experiment with making your own.
Once you’ve got the healthier habit dialed in for a few weeks, you can upgrade your snacking behavior to a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts or something that will help you reach your goals. Try not to deprive yourself of the opportunity to refuel your brain with some nourishment and enjoy some downtime with your colleagues. You’ll be surprised how energizing it can be.
Once again this comes down to being prepared, but getting the most out of your day and reaching your goals can be hindered by simple things such as buying your salad or sandwich rather than making it yourself. When you make it yourself you’re customizing it to your own personal tastes and goals in every way, meaning you will get more satisfaction and be more aware of what’s going into your body.
In addition, when we eat out we often end up with hidden extras we don’t want, as well as cooking methods that we may not use ourselves, such as creamy salad dressing or the use of unhealthful cooking oils. So whenever possible try to prep your own lunch, the more you do it the better you will get at it!
DON’T GET TOO HUNGRY
Ever been told not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? This is because you make selections you wouldn’t normally make, and tend to leave the store with a snack hanging out of your mouth. The same goes for snacking – try not to get to the point of ravenous hunger, as you will tend to just go for the easiest option, which is generally something wrapped in plastic and filled with sugar, with VERY little in the way of nutritional value.
Encourage healthy snacking by placing fruit bowls and healthier options in plain sight, or in clear containers, and on the flip side try to hide unhealthier options in opaque packaging and keep it tucked away – studies show that the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can be powerful if you’re trying to keep things healthy. Some simple snack options to try when those mid-afternoon munchies kick in:
Whole fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables and hummus.
Rice cakes with nut butter and honey.
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Guacamole with low sodium corn chips (just watch your serving size - pour into a bowl rather than eating straight out of the bag).
Banana nut butter bites (chop up a banana into coins, spread nut butter in between 2 banana coins).
Avocado and tomato on crispbread or rice cakes (add an egg for a burst of protein).
Vegetable and avocado rice paper rolls (add chicken or tofu for protein).
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Aim for snacks that are whole grain, made from whole foods and low G.I. as these will keep your energy sustained until clock off and beyond, so you can smash out your work and then head straight to the gym!