Staying Healthy While Working Remotely: Food
Working remotely away from the regular schedule of commuting to an office can present a variety of challenges and benefits in one’s ability to care for themselves. In this post we’re sharing our staff’s ways of staying healthy with food whilst working from home.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll know just how easy it is to ignore your own well-being. Running a business often means you’re time poor. For the rare moments you get to decompress, sometimes all you want to do is pour a good gin and tonic and binge-watch your favourite show. Eating right is a real challenge for me; I’m a busy person, I LOVE food, but I hate cooking. The temptation to live off Uber Eats is something I fight daily.
It’s very noticeable when I don’t eat right. I’m a person that really needs good energy levels to get through the day. I’m a big believer in ‘what gets measured gets managed’, so I track everything I eat, including the bad stuff. Formulating habits around a good diet has been hard; I don’t pretend to have amazing willpower when it comes to avoiding treats and take-out. I find that habits don’t stick unless they’re quick, simple, and repeated. So, that’s the approach I took for my lunches every day.
A big focus for me is to get high levels of protein, and to avoid sugar as much as possible. Eggs are a large part of my diet, and as someone who hates cooking or putting in effort in the kitchen, the best investment I ever made was this $15 egg cooker from Kmart. My lunch every day includes two pieces of toast with avocado, and two hard-boiled eggs. It’s simple, cheap, and a good balance of protein, carbs and fat. It’s a lunch I love. Even though others may consider it boring, boring is best when I’m trying to stick to a habit. Having the same thing every day means that I don’t have to contemplate what to have for lunch. It’s so fast and easy to put together.
In the months where I find my health needs a bit of a reboot, or if I’m feeling particularly motivated, I will do the slow carb diet. The slow carb diet is featured in The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. It’s definitely worth a read (if you’re not already a Ferris fan, check it out)! The slow carb diet can be a tricky thing to stick to if you’re a foodie like me, but it’s well worth it. You’ll notice vast improvements to your overall health in a very short space of time.
When you have the freedom of a flexible work life, a lot of your excuses to be unhealthy disappear – and this can be a challenging thing to face. Eating right is incredibly important when you work remotely, so the effort is always well worth it. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after others.
When I’m really busy, food is usually the first thing to go. Historically, I’ve been someone who dips in and out of proper eating habits. I can get so intensely focused on my work tasks sometimes that I forget to eat. This especially tends to happen if I’m editing code for a website! A whole day can go by before I suddenly realise that I haven’t eaten anything. Or, I’ll end up eating lots of smaller snack meals.
I generally try to keep these snacks reasonably healthy – something like a salad, or rice crackers with hummus & tomato. I also go through phases with these, so I’ll pick one particular snack that I’m into, and eat that same thing over and over again throughout the week, until I find a new ‘obsession’.
Every so often, I get a brilliant rush of productivity and make some meals that I can divvy up into containers to eat later. These sorts of meals often involve vegetables, beans, nuts & seeds, plus maybe some brown rice. This is something that I really want to focus on this year – I know that I need to build better eating habits! If I’m prepared in advance with home-cooked meals, then I’ll be a lot happier and healthier.
And I occasionally treat myself to lunch out. It gets me away from the desk and out of the house. Sometimes I meet up with a friend, but I’m also happy to do it on my own. Usually I will eat something that I don’t tend to make at home, so that I can get some variation and try different things. For example, one of the meals pictured here was a pesto zucchini ‘pasta’ dish. It was absolutely delicious! Even though I don’t live near that cafe, I just know I’ll be making special trips there for lunch now and then. Good food is just worth that kind of effort!
The biggest obstacle to eating healthy is working from home. It’s hard to keep a diet down when you’re away from the kitchen and there’s so much new local cuisine to try out.
I’ve recently gone down the path of vegetarianism and sometimes it is hard to make sure that you’re getting all your essentials in. It’s very easy once you know how, but if you’re a newbie there’s a bit of meal strategy involved in your daily meals.
I try to get a big collection of dry food (nuts, fruit etc) so I can graze through the day. For my lunches I’ll usually cook prep meals that I can eat all week: pastas, stir fries, curries. Anything that gives me the carbs, fat, and protein I need to keep powering through the day and maintain my diet. Easy to make, easy to nuke, can be stored in any freezer. It’s much easier to have good calorie control this way.
Plus, the rigidity of my diet makes occasional treats that much better. Treats like melt-in-your-mouth, greasy, pizz… excuse me I need to make a call.
When I was working in a larger agency in an office, I always went out to get lunch as it was a good way to get out of the office. Now that I work from home, I always find myself preparing my own meals.
Being in the comfort and privacy of my own kitchen allows me to make whatever I feel like for lunch, which is fun.
Sometimes, however, I will still go out to buy lunch if I’m really craving sushi.