Now that I’m a (mostly) functioning member of the work force, I no longer have the option to graze my pantry or fridge whenever I get the munchies. Nor do I have the option to eat the leftover Annie’s out of the pot, in my pj’s, watching “The Talk” while my kids pretend to nap (gone are the glory days). Beside the daily grind of trying to get myself out of bed, two small kids dressed, fed, and out the door by 7am, I also have to ensure that when I leave the house, I have enough fuel to sustain me until I get home at 5pm.
Healthy eating at work isn’t always easy. We have a cafeteria and Tim Horton’s on site and a few fast food options around us (including the ever popular “street meat” vendors that pop out in volumes as soon as the snow melts in early Spring), but I don’t consider those to be the best alternatives for me. Convenient for sure but not always very healthy and definitely not budget friendly. Thankfully now, we have a microwave and a fridge to store food in but this wasn’t always the case. I had to get a bit creative with how I packed and prepared my food. Here are 5 tips on how to pack for the office, and where to invest your time and money in doing so:
1. The big bucket of veggies: This is the easiest snack to prepare, it will keep all day and it’s an easy way to snack and get your servings in. I almost always come with a full bucket of carrots, cucumber and celery. Sometimes I toss in broccoli or sweet peppers too. You can pre-cut everything on the weekend (except cucumber, I find it dries out) and just fill up your bucket daily. The only thing I do is store my carrots in a bit of water to keep them moist and crunchy. To add another nutritional punch, pack a small container of hummus to dip them in.
2. An apple a day…or a banana: I pack both. They don’t need to be in the fridge, are affordable, tasty and when paired with a bit of nut butter (cashew is my favourite), they are downright unbelievable. I tend to save my apples for the end of the day or even the drive home to ward off those late afternoon munchies.
3. Invest in a Little Dipper: I seriously could not survive without mine. It means I never have to worry about a microwave because I can head something up in there. Yes, it takes a bit longer but it also means that in the absence of a microwave, you can enjoy hot oatmeal for breakfast (precooked of course but just as tasty), soups or chili’s. Just be prepared to get some strange looks when you’re hunkered over the sink washing it at the end of the day. Don’t worry, those looks quickly turn to admiration of your genius for thinking of such an amazing thing. You’re welcome.
4. Keep a Stash: I have anything from boxes of tea, almonds, homemade trail mix to vega bars handy so that if I am having a particularly munchtastic day, I still have some emergency fuel on hand to help me stay full and focused through the rest of my day.
5. Plan Ahead: Be proactive. Food and ideas are not going to present themselves to you so go hunting for recipes that are fast to make ahead, don’t necessarily need to be chilled or heated. Be adventurous and whenever possible, try to eat whole foods with minimal processing as processed foods tend to be loaded with empty calories that don’t sustain you and will have you fighting with your boss over the last Kit Kat bar from the vending machine.
Your Turn: What are some of your go-to items to keep you healthy and on track through the work day?