COVID-19: Eating Healthy While Working from Home

Dr. Safa M. Osman MD, MHA, ABOM

April 1, 2020

Working from home can make it tough to keep your nutrition in check. At home there are a variety of foods available unlike working in the office. While you are on a conference call you are eating crackers and a bag of chips. Or on the other hand, you’re caught up in a project and you realize that you didn’t eat anything all day, and you decide to eat a large meal before you get busy again. Keeping your nutrition in check while you are working from home can be a challenge. The goal is to stay healthy while still being productive. These are a few tips that can help you keep your nutrition in check while working from home.

1. Set up a place for your work that is not in or near the kitchen or fridge, so you don’t keep checking the fridge several times during the day. The only time you should go to the kitchen is when you have scheduled times for planned meals or snacks.

2. Do the same as you would in your office. Schedule a time for your lunch and snack. For example, at noon, you are going to have lunch and in the late afternoon you will have a snack. When working remotely, act similar as you are in your office, where you can’t be grazing all day.

3. Focus on balanced, nutritious foods that make you more productive while working from home. The food keeps you fuller longer and helps us concentrate. For example, protein, fibers, healthy fats, fruit, and vegetables instead of handfuls of chips or chocolate. Understand that what you eat will impact your mood and energy level. Planning your meal ahead of time will make it easier to avoid poor food choices.

4. Drink plenty of water. Headache and fatigue are signs of dehydration and will lead to lack of productivity. Keep water next to your home workstation at home. The goal is to drink at least 64 ounces per day. Stay away from sugary drinks such as soda and juices.

5. Avoid too much caffeine. Having access to endless cups of coffee at home can lead to palpitation, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, and insomnia. Have one or two cups of coffee per day to avoid the jittery feeling and avoid adding creamers and sugars.

6. Take a break from work to sit down at a table to enjoy your lunch and relax. Don’t work while you are eating. Distraction during a meal can lead to overeating and decreased fullness.

7. Avoid buying junk food. Don’t stock your fridge as a vending machine. This will encourage you to eat it because it is easy to grab. Keep junk food out of your house, especially the foods that can trigger your appetite.

8. Don’t eat out of the bag or the original container, it will make it harder to control your portions. For a meal try the healthy method; half of the plate non-starchy vegetables (e.g. baby corn, green beans, pumpkin, and squash), one-fourth of the plate with lean protein (e.g. fish, white-meat poultry, lean red meat, low fat yogurt, eggs), and one-fourth the plate with a high fiber carbohydrate (e.g. fruit, whole grains).