One of the comments I get most often about working from home is, “Wow, it must be so nice to have full access to your kitchen throughout the day!” And yes, it certainly is, but it can also lead to mindless snacking or just playing mind games with yourself about how you use your time. For example, when I worked in-office it wasn’t unusual for me to take at least 30-60 minutes for lunch, and yet ever since I’ve worked from home I couldn’t fathom spending that much time cooking a nice meal or stepping away from my desk (full disclosure…I almost always eat at my desk).
That said, it is wonderful to be able to cook what you want, when you want and with almost 10 years of work-from-home experience under my belt I have some suggestions fo healthy but simple things to eat when you work from home:
- Consider prepping your grains and proteins on Sunday. I’m not much of a food prepper, but it is easier to make healthier choices Monday-Friday if you can minimize the amount of prep and cook time. I love to cook a big batch of brown rice, barley, or quinoa on Sunday so that I can easily put together a quick stirfry or even put the grain on top of a salad (I loooove barley in a salad). Although I don’t eat a lot of meat for breakfasts or lunch I do occasionally cook some chicken or salmon on Sunday for easy access throughout the week.
- Get hip to stirfry. Yesssss stirfry! Hear me out. Stirfries are a great way to get a big dose of vegetables in the middle of the day, they literally take less than 15 minutes to make (prep, cooking, and clean up!) and you can layer them over brown rice or a bed of spinach for versatility. Stirfry is simple and all you really need to know is this: heat olive oil up in a pan over medium-high heat, once the pan is hot start with your “hardest” (meaning, most solid or dense) ingredients and then work your way down. The denser the ingredient, the longer cook time it will need. One of my favorite things to teach people is how to make The Magic Sauce. Once you know that you can get creative with your stirfry recipes. Try my Glazed Shrimp Salad (serve it over rice if you prefer) and then go from there.
- Focus on your hydration. You work from home, which means you have easy access to the bathroom — something a lot of employees blame for not drinking enough water. So, with all that new newfound peeing-freedom, you can finally reach optimum hydration which means you’ll also become more productive and creative! Yes, hydration directly impacts our brain, how it functions, and how quickly we think! I’ve got an entire blog post and podcast all about it, with 4 simple steps to get started from warm lemon water + sea salt in the morning to a wonderful afternoon drink that will help keep you hydrated. Head over to this post for all the details.
- Drink a green juice. Going off #3, a green juice is a great way to obtain optimum hydration and also keep your immune system strong. They’re also a fast and easy way to get a meal in, plus — when you work from home you have easy access to a blender and plenty of space to store all your juice ingredients! I have one each morning as a light breakfast. Here’s my favorite recipe for a Super Hydrating Green Juice.
- Find healthy snacks. Being at home can easily lead to mindless snacking, especially if you are generally a social person, you might find yourself filling your time with snacks instead of chatting. Although the candy and chips can be tempting, try filling your kitchen with healthy snacks that you enjoy so that you’re less tempted. Click here for a complete list of my favorite healthy snacks.
- Ya ever heard of gazpacho?! This soup is traditionally served cold, which makes it easy to make, but is also made almost entirely from fruits + vegetables, making it a healthy mid-day meal. My favorite is this Tomato + Apple Gazpacho that you simply make in the blender. It’s also loaded with hydrating ingredients that will help fuel your brain for the afternoon.
- Eat like a kid again. No, I’m not talking about PB+Js (although, yum), I’m talking about kid-size portions and good ol’ fashioned grazing. You know, neatly arranged on a plate or in a Lunchable-style lunch box. Things like slices of good cheese, cornichons, nuts, sliced vegetables, dips, fruit etc. I love looking at Planetbox on Instagram for inspiration for these!
- Get excited about salads again. Do you think salads are boring? You probably think that because your salads are boring. But salads are such a great lunch when you work from home because they are fast and generally pretty simple/mess-free and HEALTHY. Head over to this post where I teach you How to Make Salads that Don’t Suck!