The average American works a 9 to 6 job, thus eating majority of their meals at the office. According to Australian researchers, work places have contributed significantly to the accelerating obesity rate over the past few years. It's easy to toil through a day of meetings, phone calls, and e-mails to discover at 4 p.m. that you haven't eaten since breakfast, sending your body into starvation mode and causing you to make poor food decisions. The office doesn't have to be a danger zone. Making sure to keep healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks on hand will allow you to avoid making poor food choices.
Make sure every meal is a combination of fiber and protein. Fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest. It is this perfect combination of foods that keeps your serum glucose levels consistant, leading to improved energy throughout the day. In addition, since fiber has 0 calories per gram, and protein has 4 calories per gram, you are guaranteed the least caloric intake with the most food itake. Eating small, frequent meals helps to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels consistent. In addition, it helps to prevent you from becoming ravenous at night which leads to poor food choices and less portion control, and eventually, overeating.
Tips on healthy eating at the office_
Recent research shows that eating breakfast can actually help you shed pounds by jump starting your metabolism for the day. A breakfast consisting of fiber and protein is the ultimate combination because these nutrients will fill you up on the fewest calories. While stopping at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts before work and picking up a muffin with your coffee may seem like a great breakfast option, beware that one store-bought muffin contains over 500 calories and little to no fiber, causing your glucose levels to crash soon after. Bring your own healthy breakfast to the office and steer clear of all the high-calorie, artery-clogging pastries that are always around.
• Take advantage of your office refrigerator and leave non-fat yogurt, fat-free cheeses, and skim milk in it. Pair these with an instant oatmeal packets and high-fiber cereals that you can keep in your desk drawer for the perfect breakfast combination.
Are you always going out for lunch or ordering in? It doesn't have to be this way. If you have the proper ingredients on hand, you will be able to prepare a quick and easy lunch even at the office. Preparing lunches is one of the best and easiest changes you can make to be certain you have a healthy diet while at work.
Salads Salads are a great way to fill up on few calories while feeding your body many essential nutrients. Create any salad you like and enjoy.
Color Colorful vegetables contain many vital minerals and nutrients. Many contain powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Stock your salad with a wide variety of these beneficial veggies. The darker the better, look for dark green veggies like spinach, romaine, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green peppers, and peas. Carrots, peppers, tomatoes and cauliflower also contain these valuable nutrients.
Fiber Basing your salad with romaine or spinach leaves instead of iceberg lettuce will not only provide you with more fiber, but more vitamins as well. Spinach is also a great source of iron and calcium. Filling up on fiber-rich vegetables will add bulk and satiety to your diet without excess calories. Plus, you'll get the extra health benefits of crucial vitamins and minerals. Some fiber-rich choices include broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, heart of palm and asparagus.
Lean ProteinMost people opt for tuna salad at a salad bar. This tuna fish contains 400 calories and 22 grams of fat. Instead add lean proteins to your salad like chicken, (90 calories for 3 ounces,) turkey, tofu and tuna without mayo. Protein helps to provide you with long-term satiety and energy.
ToppingsMost toppings on salads typically add more calories and fat than the actual salad itself. Here are some better alternatives to the typical high calorie and high fat ones.
BeansBeans are both high in fiber and protein. Add Garbanzo, Kidney, and Canelli.
Cheese Cheese can add calcium and protein to your salad. If you like cheese, opt for an aged cheese like parmesan,(55 calories) instead of 1/4 cup blue cheese (210 calories) or cheddar cheese (226 calories) for a savings of about 150 calories.
Fruit Fruit is always a great addition to a salad. Choose Strawberries instead of raisins. Instead of only having 2 tbsp of raisins, for the same amount of calories, satiate your sweet tooth 1 and 1/4 cup of strawberries you get double the portion size and more fiber and nutrients.
Crunch For that needed crunch, instead of having only 9 croutons for 35 calories, have 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds for the same amount of calories, but an added boost of fiber and protein, which as mentioned above will keep you feeling fuller longer.
Salad DressingSalad dressing usually contains more calories than an entire salad combined. A typical dressed salad can be anywhere from 400 to 500 calories, from the dressing alone. Get the dressing on the side or use oil and vinegar (no more than a tablespoon of which has 120 calories and 14g of fat)
SandwichesSandwiches are a satisfying and tasty lunch, but can also cause havoc on your diet. Swap out white breads for healthy whole grain versions and add lean proteins and you will instantly save over 200 calories.
Tuna Sandwich: 1 can tuna fish prepared with 1 tablespoon non-fat mayo, 2 slices high-fiber bread, try Nature's Own Double Fiber bread (for a tuna melt add 2 slices of fat- free Kraft Singles)
Turkey Sandwich: 3 oz lean turkey deli, 1/2 whole wheat pita, 2 slices tomato, romaine lettuce, and sliced onion
Ham Sandwich: 3 oz ham 2 slices fat-free cheese , 2 lettuce leaves, 2 slices tomato, mustard, topped on whole grain English muffin and 1 cup minestrone soup Soups:
Soup is a wonderfully warming and satisfying addition to any lunch. According to a Penn State University study, soup is a super appetite suppressant because it's made up of a hunger-satisfying combination of broths and vegetables. Just make sure to avoid soups made with cream or loaded with pasta or potatoes. Aim for broth based soups filled with vegetables for a low-calorie and filling meal or appetizer. Miso soup, vegetable soup and bean soups are all great options. If a microwave isn't accessible, you can always heat up at home and bring it in a thermos.
For career women, an afternoon snack is essential to keeping energy levels up. When you are busy at the office, what you choose as an afternoon snack can make a big difference on your mood and energy. The candy jars and vending machines can wreck any diet, therefore make sure to stock your desk draw with healthy treats. Snacks should contain 100-200 calories, which is just enough to satisfy you without sabotaging your diet. They should also be a combination of fiber and protein, since fiber and protein are the two nutrients that take the longest to digest and keep you full and satisfied on fewer calories. So in order to keep up with your kids' constant energy, snacks are an essential part of the day. Avoiding refined carbohydrates that spike your sugars temporarily will prevent you from crashing later in the day.
1) 8 dried apricot halves with 1 oz. Everybody's Nuts pistachios (European Roast) 2) 1/2 cup Fiber One cereal with 1 cup Fage 0% Total Greek Yogurt 3) Starkist Lunch To-Go tuna kits (omit the crackers) and 4 whole grain high-fiber crackers 4) 1 individual size Jell-O Pudding Snack double chocolate sugar-free pudding with 1 cup strawberries 5) Starbucks Tall Non-fat Sugar-free Vanilla Latte with a Gnu Flavor and Fiber bar 6) 1 packet Quaker Weight Control instant oatmeal packets with a banana 7)4 oz. container of 1% or fat- free cottage cheese and a cup of berries 8) 1 cup trail mix (high-fiber cereal, whole-wheat pretzels, peanuts, and raisins) 9) Apple and Sargento Light string cheese 10) 2 tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 banana roll-up on La Tortilla Factory Whole-wheat, low-carb, low-fat tortillas 11) 1/2 turkey sandwich on 1 slice whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato 12) 1 bag Glenny's Soy Crisps
Other Tips to Survive the Office:• Water is essential for all bodily functions and keeps you hydrated and helps avoid fatigue, which tends to lead to overeating. Keep a water bottle at your desk and you'll find it much easier to drink the recommend 8 glasses of water each day. If drinking plain water seems painful to you add a calorie- free crystal light packet for a boost of flavor. • Don't drink your calories. Research shows that our bodies do not register calories from fluids. Meaning that the amount of calories that your drink contains has absolutely no effect on your satiety level meaning your drink will not fill you up. Stick with calorie free beverages like unsweetened iced tea and diet sodas. • When a sweet craving hits, pop a sweet mint or chew on a stick of sugar free gum. This will help alleviate your craving. • Don't just sit at your desk all day, get up and move. Just standing by your des, will enable your to burn more calories than sitting.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto