Eating lunch at work is often the fastest way to sabotage your best diet plans and your wallet. You didn’t have time to get a healthy lunch packed before you got out the door, so you decided you would just grab something out. Then your coworkers tempt you to head to your favorite restaurant, and suddenly, you’re indulging in the least healthy thing on the menu. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, those poor lunch decisions add up.

The Impact of Poor Lunchtime Choices

A third of all American adults are classified as obese. Even if you aren’t struggling with your weight, what you eat for lunch, where you eat it and how you eat it can have a significant impact on your day.

Your choice of lunch can impact your productivity for the rest of the day. Healthy choices lead to a more productive workday, while unhealthy ones can leave you sluggish and struggling to complete daily work tasks.

Eating alone at your desk can make you less likely to eat healthy because you don’t feel the social pressure to eat healthily and more likely to eat what is convenient and tastes good. 25% of Americans don’t eat any vegetables at all as part of their daily diets. Why? Often, it’s because it’s not convenient to eat them.

Making Healthier Choices On The Go

If you’re among the large percentage of working adults struggling to find the time to eat healthier, don’t despair! There are some easy healthy lunch hacks that will make it easier to eat a healthy lunch no matter where you are.

Know your restaurants. Some restaurants offer a variety of healthy, low-calorie food choices that make eating there easy whether you’re in too big a hurry to pack your lunch or headed out for a business meeting. Whether you’re grabbing a healthy fast food option so you can get back to your desk in a hurry or sitting down for a meal, make sure you know what restaurants offer great healthy options. If you’re heading in for a business lunch, check the menu online ahead of time so you know what the lowest-calorie options are.

Split the calories. If you’ll be eating out with a group of coworkers, skip the urge to splurge. Instead, try splitting a bigger plate with a friend or sharing dessert with the group so you don’t deprive yourself of it but only get a little taste instead of a full serving. 

Create a healthier culture. If you’re getting serious about eating healthy, it will be easier if there’s someone else doing it with you. You’ll be less likely to splurge if others at your table are also staying strong in their nutritional goals, so enlist a buddy to help make your goals more realistic.

Get Packing

It’s much easier to control what you’re eating when you pack your own lunch. While this requires a bit of creativity and organization to keep things interesting, it’s definitely doable. If you’re tight on time, consider packing your lunch the night before or, even better, packing your lunch for an entire week at a time over the weekend.

Here are some great options to get you started:

  • This bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado wrap will make you feel like you’re eating at a deli with none of the associated expense or hidden calories.
  • Cut up single servings of fruits and vegetables for an easy, healthy and portable snack to much on throughout the day.
  • Yogurt parfaits made with fruit, nut butter, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips make a great healthy dessert option.
  • Try air popping popcorn at home, then dishing it into single-serving bags for a crunchy lunch treat.
  • Tuna salad stuffed eggs offer a great protein punch and a flavor change from traditional deviled eggs.
  • Mason jar salads are easy to make ahead for an entire week. The best part is this is a great container that separates your dry and wet ingredients until they’re ready to be mixed.

Sources:

https://hbr.org/2014/10/what-you-eat-affects-your-productivity

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/loneliness-affects-diet_n_4173944.html

http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3464955/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245770

http://www.livestrong.com/article/414312-why-people-dont-eat-healthy/

http://www.diet-blog.com/07/5_reasons_why_we_dont_eat_healthy_food.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jillian-berman/why-buying-your-lunch-at-_b_5020896.html