Many people find eating healthy at work a challenge. It is often easier to grab something at work instead of having to prep food at home, pack it and then remember to bring it with you when you leave the house! But you don’t always need to bring food from home to get the nutrition you need on the job. Here are a few tips to help you build healthy choices into your daily routine.

Eat your main meal a few hours before you start your shift

Whatever meal happens to fall before your shift, make that your main meal, and plan for a small meal and healthy snacks spread out during your workday. This will ensure you get the fuel you need during your shift, with energy left for after work.

Plan for healthy meals and snacks

It could be tempting to just wait until you are hungry to get something to eat, but planning out beforehand what to buy or bring can save you from reaching for junk food. Foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt might taste good in the moment, but can leave you feeling sluggish and still hungry. Try having a variety of foods that include plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and high protein food like meat, fish, nuts and seeds as your go-to choices to bring or buy. 

Drink lots of water

Whether you are moving around a lot, on your feet, or sitting all day, most of us could stand to drink more water. If you’re feeling low energy, try keeping a water bottle nearby. Sometimes even mild dehydration can have a big impact on how we feel. If you generally don’t like water, consider adding a little flavor like lemon, or low-calorie drink mix to your bottle of water. Keep sugary drinks (even Gatorade or other sport drinks) as an occasional treat, not an everyday thirst quencher.

Cut down on caffeine

Drinking caffeinated beverages can help you stay alert; but too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, make you feel nervous or irritable and upset your stomach. To cut down on caffeine after a few cups, switch to decaffeinated tea or coffee, or water. 

Use your breaks to eat

Sometimes you’re in the flow, it’s just hard to stop, or you aren’t hungry when it’s time for a break. But skipping meals or snacks leads to the kind of extreme hunger that causes overindulgence when we finally get around to eating.

Think about what strategies might work best for you and your workday. Some pre-planning and small changes can help create healthy habits that keep you feeling your best.