By Vanessa Voltolina
It’s happened to us all: We enter the office at 9 a.m. with incredible resolve, only to find ourselves seduced by a cubicle mate’s cookies or a takeout lunch by 2 p.m.
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Why is it so hard for us to choose healthier, more filling options? “If you don’t have something healthy on hand, it will be more difficult to avoid the vending machine, birthday cake, or donuts your coworkers might bring,” says Nadia Rodman, RD, director of nutrition for Curves International, Inc. “Preparation is the biggest thing!”
Preparing snacks and meals in advance isn’t a new concept, but it’s a tried-and-true technique that works! (Did we mention it also saves some serious dough?). Yes, keeping non-perishable foods tucked away in your desk is a helpful first step (think: nuts, dried fruit, energy, or breakfast bars), but consider Rodman’s suggested snack ideas—super easy to prepare in advance—if you’re looking for something more substantial:
Fruit & Nut Parfait: This parfait can be made with Greek yogurt (½ cup), raspberries (1 cup), and 12 almonds.
Veggies with Hummus: This healthy classic should include hummus (⅓ cup) and sliced vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, or your favorite crunchy kind.
For hectic days when leaving on time just isn’t an option, “plan on having some frozen dinners in your refrigerator at work,” says Rodman.
This obvious—and brilliant—tip helps make us better equipped to avoid fast food or skipping meals. “Skipping meals tends to lead to overeating at the next meal, so it’s important for your energy levels and metabolism to eat regular meals and snacks,” she says. “Eventually, these healthy choices will become habit,” says Rodman. It’s not just about healthy meals at work—the same spiel goes for getting your butt to the gym. Since you’re already prepping your weekly office noshes, think about whether or not you need to pack clothes to work to be able to work out right after work and plan accordingly.
If you are looking for a healthy lunch to pack for work, this is a fantastic option. You can make a larger serving size and eat it throughout the week. Lentils are a fiber powerhouse. This dish packs 20 grams of fiber per serving! It will definitely keep you full and energized for the day.
Farro Salad with Chicken and Green Beans
Before this recipe, I had never made farro. It’s delicious! The taste is somewhat similar to brown rice. This is a great salad recipe that will fill you up without weighing you down. It can be eaten hot or cold, so leftovers would make a healthy lunch the next day. Enjoy! *Please note, if you can’t find farro, quinoa or brown rice could be substituted.
Asian Chicken Salad
This is a delicious salad. In general, my husband isn’t the biggest fan of salads, but he loves this one. I often make a larger portion of this salad and eat it for lunch for several days. If you plan on doing that, wait until you are ready to eat the salad to pour the dressing on top so the veggies stay nice and crispy. This is also a great dish to take to a party or to serve family style on a large platter.
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