I’m sorry for the lack of posts recently- those of you who follow me on Instagram will know I’ve been doing a week of work experience, so I haven’t had much time to create and share anything. My week of work experience gave me a good insight into office life and I found it really interesting, met some great people and learnt a lot. However my biggest challenge, as an active person, was being desk-bound and having easy access to healthy food. Below are some tips for remaining fit and healthy in an office-based job that I found worked for me.
- Organisation is key for eating healthily. It’s always better to bring your own food as you’ll know exactly what’s gone into it, it’s less likely to contain nasty ingredients and you won’t be tempted to buy something unhealthy! I like to make large batches of food so that it lasts me throughout the week. This really isn’t as much effort as it sounds- it can be as simple as cooking up a batch of quinoa and roasting a big tray of vegetables. These can be paired off with a nice homemade dressing (try my parsley and cashew pesto) and some meat, fish, hard-boiled eggs, cheese or nuts and seeds for protein, and should make enough for several meals.
- I prepare my packed lunch in the morning because it stays fresher for longer, but if you really don’t have time to prepare it in the morning, just prepare it the night before. I take a salad with plenty of protein to keep me feeling fuller for longer and less likely to need a big snack. Dinner leftovers are always great, too.
- I keep my salads in a glass tupperware in the fridge (unlike plastic, glass contains no harmful chemicals) and squeeze some lime or lemon juice over it to help it stay fresher for longer and stop it from turning brown. I also like to pack a wedge of lemon or lime to squeeze over it just before I eat it.
- I make sure to include plenty of protein in my lunch- this is what fills you up! If you have a good amount of protein, you’re less likely to reach for that chocolate bar.
- I always carry plenty of water with me. Everyone knows that it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated, especially in hot weather to ward off headaches and maintain focus, but lots of people don’t realise that if you feel thirsty, it’s a sign that you’re already dehydrated. Again, a glass water bottle is best, but I know that’s not always as convenient ( I love Lifefactory bottles and containers)
- Here is an example of one of my packed lunches: a version of my Asian smoked mackerel salad.
- Another challenge when it comes to healthy eating is mindless snacking. Food is a pleasure as well as a necessity, and it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re hungry when we’re looking for a distraction, or when we’re stressed or bored. A way of making sure this doesn’t happen is to avoid keeping unhealthy snacks, and fill up on plenty of protein at lunch time. I find that a large mug of herbal tea can be good for cutting out cravings- cinnamon and liquorice root give a sweet flavour that can be good for satisfying sugar cravings. Also, a tummy rumble can simply mean you’re thirsty, so I try to drink a big glass of water first to see if that makes any difference.
- If you think you genuinely are hungry, try a healthier snack- my favourite is raw vegetables with houmous. For a sweet treat, try having some fruit, the odd square of dark chocolate (I like Lindt 90%). I like to have one of my chocolate peanut butter cups or chocolate coconut truffles.
- Snacks that I find convenient are crudités with houmous and portable fruit such as apples. Fruit is great, but it’s easy to have too much and forget that it’s sugary! I think it’s common for people to eat lots of fruit thinking that it’s healthy, but they do contain sugar, and although natural, this does come out of your sugar allowance and has the same effect on your body as ordinary sugar. Eat high-fructose fruits sparingly (these include bananas and dates) Fruits that contain less fructose include berries, especially blueberries. For more information on the fructose content of fruits, see the following links:
- I always start my day with exercise; my weekly routine consists of HIIT home workouts, running and strength yoga. People often complain that they don’t have time in the morning, but I think the answer to making more time is by going to bed earlier. By making the effort to switch off screens an hour before you go to bed and by going to bed earlier, I’m much more likely to sleep better and be able to get up earlier. Workouts don’t have to be long; HIIT workouts can be very quick and just 20 minutes of yoga is better than nothing. There are plenty of HIIT workouts available online for free; I just make my own up.
- Every so often, I get up and stretch my legs, and I use some of my breaks to go for a short walk and get some fresh air. This also gives you the chance to give your eyes a break from the screen, your hands and wrists a break from typing and to refresh your mind. Sitting still all day long clearly isn’t great for us, and I apply these tips during exam revision sessions too.