If you’re fortunate enough to be heading back to work or even the office post-lockdown, we know that there will be some degree of anxiety or dread about changing your routine again. For most of us, we only just got the hang of lockdown life, so the return to a new-normal seems rather daunting.
While we can’t control everything happening around us, we can control ourselves and our choices - especially when it comes to our diet. So to keep you feeling your best, fuelling your body with healthy foods and to lessen some of the anxiety around getting back to work, we’ve put together 5 tips that will take the stress out of eating healthy at work.
Start small - if you’ve been enjoying meals made fresh at home, it may feel a bit overwhelming to all-of-a-sudden have to start prepping and making all your meals in advance. After a bit of time off, you don’t need to come back to meal-prep in full force with a whole week’s worth of food. Start small, and begin by planning out even just a few meals or snacks for the week ahead. Build your confidence back up with the habit, and slowly add more planning and meals each week once you’ve found your new normal.
Make the time - leaving your meal-prep to 7pm on Sunday night is a recipe for disaster (literally). The best way to make meal prep part of your lifestyle again is to prioritise it. Set aside even just 15 minutes during the week to plan out your meals for the following week, write up a grocery list and head to the shops early on the weekend. Give yourself plenty of time to get it done so that you’re not feeling completely panicked and rushed.
Try new meals & incorporate your favourite foods - if you’ve fallen into a rut of eating the same meals during lockdown, meal prepping for work is the perfect opportunity to change things up and get creative again. Swap your standard protein source for something different (e.g. shredded chicken, lean cut sausages, grilled tofu), add some new spices and herbs, and rotate the veggies on offer so you don’t get bored. Make sure each meal contains something you love and look forward to (it could be as simple as some guacamole or maple-roasted sweet potato). The more you know you’ll love the food you’ll be prepping, the more likely you will actually prep it! So keep it fresh and enjoyable.
Factor in leftovers - a great way to ease back into meal-prepping and reduce some of the time spent in the kitchen is to plan to make enough of each meal to have leftovers. Making a few extra servings of your lunch or dinner is a simple way to have a meal for tomorrow already ready without any extra effort or stress.
Prep smarter, not harder - at the end of the day, meal prep should be making your life easier - not harder. Don’t be afraid to ‘cut corners’ to make things simpler for yourself, especially in the first few weeks back to work. Buy a few pre-cut vegetables if you’re especially time-poor, opt for frozen fruit or veggie mixes, microwavable rice cups or tinned tuna for protein. No one is expecting you to make 5-7 days worth of meals all cooked from scratch - know your limits, and scale back when needed to help you stick to your goals in the longer-term.