There are healthy eating habits that you can add into your work life which can help you live a healthy lifestyle without breaking the budget.
The Importance of Healthy Eating Habits
There are many benefits to developing healthy eating habits and this should be a goal of your fitness journey. These benefits are long-term:
- Fat loss: they lead to a calorie deficit, which is a sustainable method of losing fat. It also makes it easier to do it, because you’re not focused on a diet, but living a healthy lifestyle.
- Muscle gain: they lead to muscle gain through the consistency that comes with involving activities that lead to building muscle, such as regular strength training and eating in a calorie surplus.
- Energy levels: being able to feel yourself have great energy throughout the day comes with having habits that provide your mind and body with the energy it needs. This is especially important when you’re working a 9 to 5, you want to be at your best.
- Reduce risk of chronic diseases: healthy eating habits reduce cholesterol and can prevent complications that are a result of bad nutrition in the long run.
- Overall well-being: having healthy habits and routines in place, makes you feel better and more positive in getting through your day. They are foundations to having a great attitude towards your day or week and life.
1. Drink Water Regularly
Your body is made up of about 60% water, dependent on your age, sex and how much water you drink and lose throughout your day. Try drink at least 2 litres a day, you could do this by carrying a 1,5 – 2 litre bottle to work every day.
Your body undergoes a fat breakdown process called lipolysis. Our body, with the use of water, breaks down fat molecules. Water can act as an appetite suppressant too, especially if you drink it before and during a meal. It can help reduce your calorie intake this way.
Your muscles are made of about 70% water. They are energized by water as it helps you maintain your muscle strength and size.
Your body becomes dehydrated from a lack of fluid and this can result in energy levels going down. It flushes out the waste in your body. It is also an easy habit to incorporate in your daily life and work for your overall well-being.
2. Meal Preparation
Meal preparation on days where you have time to cook will ensure you have cooked food for following day(s). It prevents you from buying food at your work canteen, saving money. It prevents you from buying food that is not nutritious, which assists you in living a healthy lifestyle. It also saves time you have for the following days.
I recommend preparing your food on a Sunday for the week. Calculate your calorie goals (you don’t need to) and cook the food in bulk. Get yourself lunch boxes or meal prep containers that you can use to keep your food in the freezer and take out when you’re ready to eat it.
Once you know your calorie goals, you can buy food that can help you eat in calorie deficit or surplus to reach your fat loss or muscle building goals, respectively.
The calories in food are what give us energy. When you ensure that you’re getting enough in through the nutrition you prepare, it will keep you going for a full days work.
The food may not be as fresh as when it was cooked, but would you rather eat nutritious food that is a day old or food that provides very little to no nutritional value for your body? Save time, money and your mind and body.
3. Snack on Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes
Snacking is common thing that everyone does and nothing is wrong with it. It can be done out of hunger, boredom or just the desire on snacking a certain things. Get yourself fruit, vegetables and legumes (seeds and beans) that you can snack on during the day to prevent snacking on non-nutritious snacks. Foods that I often snack on:
- Green peas
- Baked beans
Your body requires the vitamins and minerals that you get from fruit, vegetables and legumes. Get them in through snacking throughout the day. Other healthy snacks you can choose are nuts (walnuts, peanuts and cashew nuts etc.).
These are usually low calorie, which will help with your fat loss. You can include some with yoghurt or smoothies, if you feel you want that snack to be higher in calories to help build muscle.
Healthy snacking can ensure you don’t get hungry at work, which allows you to be more productive.
4. Don’t Eat Out of Emotion
When you eat food, do not do it to make yourself feel better. This often happens on bad days and you get yourself a “feel-good” treat or meal. Do not eat because you don’t love your body, but because you do and want what’s best for it.
When you decide to get yourself a cheat snack or meal, do not feel bad about it. Enjoy it and get back onto your routine the next day. It is okay to indulge every now and then. When you do overindulge, do not feel that throws away all progress made and you should just continue eating badly. Rather accept that you did (it is what it is) and move on to your next nutritious meal.
When you’re having a bad day at work, do not look to eat your way into feeling better. You must understand why you’re feeling this way and do something about it, if you can. Never turn to food to feel better, that is an unhealthy eating habit.
5. Consume Less Sugar
There is no need to completely cut out your sugar, even though there are myths and gurus that suggest it. You can choose to eat sugar when you want, but try have less in things you consume often, because sugar and sugar contents (food and beverages) can result in high calories.
Try drinking less sugary soft drinks and sodas per week. Put less sugar in your coffee/tea at work and you can significantly decrease your total sugar intake in the long run. This can lead to less calories consumed if you’re working towards fat loss.
I used to have 3 teaspoons of sugar and have 3 cups of coffee, I now put 1 teaspoon in my coffee and only have 2 cups. I have found myself having longer lasting energy after this change. Too much sugar can leave you with sugar withdrawal, making you sluggish and having very little energy to do your work.
6. Use 80/20 Principle
We all love our cheat meals, but we should eat them in moderation. This 80/20 principle applies well when you understand tracking calories and macros. Out of the number of meals you eat during the week, ensure that 80% of them are nutritious and 20% of them non-nutritious. This removes the guilt about what you eat in living your healthy lifestyle.
In your nutritious meals, include all carbs, protein and fats with your fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. This is a bonus tip and can lead to things going wrong if caution is not taken with your training schedule.
You don’t have to track your calories and macros to live a healthy lifestyle. None of these habits require you knowing your calorie and macro goals, unless you’re getting gains where you don’t want them.
In the beginning of developing your new healthy eating habits, you will forget them often. This is why it is important you try be as consistent as possible in developing one until you do it without thinking and then move on to the next. All habits are dependent on your preference.