Being a freelance web designer and now co-owner of a web design company has allowed me to set my own work hours and location for many years. There is nothing handier then being able to work from home, especially when my son is sick, or the weather is bad. And some days it’s just nice to stay home and not get wrapped up at the office.
So with being able to work at home you would think it would be easy to eat healthy. You can decide at noon and prepare fresh what you feel like eating. And no threat of eating out when there are leftovers just a few feet away ready to be heated up. And how about the chance for variety? You can skip PB&J and quickly grill some salmon and asparagus for your mid day meal.
However I have found that eating healthy while working from home is perhaps more challenging than the days when I head to the office. I’ve narrowed my trouble down to the following:
Busy-ness versus laziness
When lunchtime rolls around I’m ready to eat. I often exercise during noontime, so it can be easy to skip the “complexity” of making a salad post workout— and just grab a granola bar instead to quickly refuel and get back to work. This often leads to an unbalanced day. I might remember to sneak a piece of fruit in later on, but I probably won’t think to have a snack of leafy greens. And the grilled salmon and asparagus… nice idea and not difficult, but odds are I just wouldn’t do it.
No proper break.
When I work at home it can seem odd to take a “lunch break.” When I’m at the office it’s easy to take a break and sit down with coworkers, but at home—alone, taking even 15 minutes to sit at my kitchen table and eat my lunch can seem silly. Especially when there are emails to answer and code calling me to write. Heating leftovers is quick and easy, but if I’m working at my computer I tend to avoid anything that requires utensils or possible spillage. So I find myself skipping a real break in favor of work, and the lunch that goes with it. Which inevitably means…
You have a kitchen full of food at your instant disposal. And it’s not just any kitchen, it’s your kitchen full of your favorites. When you feel your blood sugar getting low it’s easy to grab your favorite wheat crackers from the cupboard and munch on them while you’re working. But it’s also easy to loose track of portion size this way and eat more than you intended. Plus crackers for lunch is not a meal.
So how do I curb these pitfalls on the days I telecommute?
I pack a lunch.
Yes, I pack a lunch even though I don’t leave the house. It may seem silly to some, but the days when I have success are the ones when I make my lunch ahead. It really helps keep me on track. Packing a lunch means it’s done and ready—so post noon workout there is no excuse for not having a balanced meal. Second, it helps get my mind in the lunchtime break mentality, and I am able to walk away from my desk and sit and enjoy the meal and a break from my computer. Finally, it minimizes the chance of snack creep. My meal is balanced and portioned out properly, so I won’t feel the need to grab crackers when 2:30 rolls around. And since I know I’ve already prepared my food for the day, I think twice before hitting the cupboard for more.
What do you do to stay healthier when you work from home?
Jen is a busy mom who strives to balance running her life and a business. As chief pixel surgeon and co-founder of shines & jecker laboratories, she combines her design and coding skills to create great websites. When she’s not on the web, Jen spends her time with her 11 year old son who faithfully contributes his opinion on all her projects.