Dietitian Jessica Schroeder offers insights for good nutrition while working from home.
|By Karla Walsh
With a two-week supply of dark chocolate (OK, and ice cream and cheese—you know, just in case!) just steps away, it’s tempting to snack early and often when you work from home.“Humans are creatures of habit. We have routines for waking up, going to work, eating, coming home from work, enjoying the evening, and tucking into bed,” says Jessica Schroeder, a registered and licensed dietitian and the owner of Expedition Wellness in West Des Moines. “But what happens when all of that is suddenly disrupted?”
That’s where Shroeder and nutrition pros come in. Here are simple strategies she suggests implementing to help you fuel up wisely as you work from home:
Create a “new normal.” “Try writing down your daily routine to use as a guide. Set alarms on your phone to help remind you of your routine [say, drink a glass of water; eat a piece of fruit at 10 a.m. to prevent hanger symptoms right before lunch] to help you stay on track. Before you know it, you won’t need the alarms and you will be back on track,” Schroeder says.
Fill up (then drain!) that water bottle. “Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily. I tell my clients to purchase a reusable bottle that is 32 ounces or larger. That way, you only need to refill once and you can easily track how much you have drank throughout the day,” she says.
Track your portions. We’ve all grabbed that family-size bag of chips once or twice and pulled it open for a “quick snack,” only to polish off a good half of the package. The solution: “Don’t allow yourself to grab a whole bag or box and take back to your home desk. Look at the portion size listed at the top of the food label,” then place that much in a bowl, Schroeder says. A serving of crackers might be four crackers—and it’s OK to choose eight crackers—”but being mindful of actual intake is key for sticking to your wellness goals,” she says.
Plan your meals. Make a schedule for the week, or even just the day, ahead so you don’t resort to what’s quickest and most craveable at the moment. (We see you, frozen pizza …) “Prepping food for the day in advance can set you up for success to help make the best choices,” she says.
Choose the right carbohydrates. And by that, we mean those with fiber. Whole grain crackers, sprouted bread, fruits and vegetables offer energy-boosting carbs with enough fiber to keep you satisfied. Bonus points if you pair these high-fiber carbs with protein. “Protein will help keep you full, help keep blood sugars stable, and speed up post-workout recovery after your in-home workouts,” Schroeder says. A few smart snack ideas:
● 1 apple, sliced, with 2 tablespoons of nut butter
● 6 whole grain crackers with 1 ounce of cheese
● 1 cup carrot and celery sticks with ¼ cup hummus
Stock up on sensible snacks. “Filling up on fruits and vegetables gives your immune system a big boost,” Shcroeder says. She suggests the following items to help your body be better at fighting off potential illnesses, all while providing nutrition to power you through a day of work:
● Hard-boiled eggs
● Whole food protein or snack bars