A new environment can bring about new behaviors. Here are some ways to stay healthy if you are working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adapting to a New Schedule
One benefit of working from home is that you don’t have a commute! Devote your extra time to self-care and healthy movement. Consider structuring your day around meals and physical activity.
Identify a time and place for eating and exercise
Working from home could feel more unstructured than working in the office. First, identify when and where you will have meals (note: it should not be at your desk.) Then carve out the time to exercise (this could be before or after work, or during your lunch break.) If you feel you are grazing throughout the day and not mindful of your eating, it may be a good idea to track your intake to increase mindfulness of your food choices and portion sizes. Try to eat within an hour of waking and every 3-4 hours thereafter.
Plan to have 1 snack mid-morning and another mid-afternoon to keep your energy level stable. A snack should be between 150-250 calories per serving and worthwhile (meaning, nutrient-dense!) A satiating snack will include the star nutrients: protein, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates (with fiber!) See below for some sound snack ideas. If you have the urge to snack, take a moment to tune in to check if you are actually hungry or eating for another reason (boredom, temptation, stress or thirst!.) Try drinking water, wait 10-20 min before eating to see if it’s driven by hunger or thirst.
Exercise! It's a known immunity booster.
Try to find 30 minutes every day for some form of exercise - cardiovascular (a walk, jog or bike ride), or strength training. Do not sit for extended periods of time - if you have been sitting for longer than an hour, get up and move. (Stretching counts!) Try to get outside as much as possible, it's good for your physical and mental health. Also be sure to check your email. Many fitness centers are sending out virtual workouts since many have closed for the time being. There are also many workout "apps" that provide online fitness, such as Aaptiv and Glo.
Planning your snacks and meals in advance can help your grocery bill and your waistline. Here are some meal ideas to try:
- Oatmeal + ¼ cup raisins or dried fruit + ¼ cup mixed nuts + unsweetened almond milk OR try this carrot cake overnight oats recipe.
- Homemade smoothie - 1 scoop vanilla protein powder + unsweetened almond milk + 1 tbsp almond butter + ½ cup applesauce or canned pumpkin + cinnamon.
- Fan of ready made shakes? Try the Premier Protein, Evolve, or Orgain brands. Eat a handful of nuts with your shake.
- Whole grain waffle with 1-2 tbsp nut butter, topped with ground flax or chia seeds and defrosted strawberries.
Lunch and Dinner
- Tuna or salmon cans packed in water or olive oil + mix in canned olives, tomatoes over a cup of whole wheat orzo or pasta. Enhance flavor and nutrition with 1 tsp walnut oil.
- Three-bean chili: black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, corn, diced tomato and/or whole peeled tomato, canned mushrooms, canned carrots, canned olives, and chili powder or taco spice mix. Cook on the stovetop or in the InstantPot and serve with black corn tortilla chips.
- Whole grain bowl with grain base (farro, brown rice or quinoa) w/ a defrosted spinach, canned green beans sauté, top with chickpeas, spices, olive oil and 1-2 tsps sriracha sauce.
Snack Ideas to Try:
- dry roasted beans (ie, edamame or chickpeas)
- homemade granola bars or trail mix
- toasted seaweed snacks
- rice cakes with nut butter
- popcorn with string cheese,
- freeze dried fruit
- KIND, Rx Bars or Lara Bars
- bean puffs
- whole grain tortilla chips with salsa
- homemade hummus