The start of a new month is always a great way to kick-start a new habit. If you find yourself drinking many cups of coffee, eating out every day at the office or filling your desk with junk food, spring is the perfect season to rethink your diet.
Of course, most of us know what it takes to eat healthy, but preparation and portion control seem to be the best bets.
"Fifty per cent of your meal should consist of high fiber, low sugar food like vegetables and 25 percent of your plate should be lean protein like fish, egg, lean poultry or beans, lentils or tofu," says registered dietitian Kiran Bains of edovivo.
"The other 25 per cent should be a starch or carbohydrate that is high in fibre like whole grain pasta, quinoa or wild rice."
And while this may sound easy, it really starts with your grocery shopping, Bains adds.
"Making things convenient and easy to grab is key."
For starters, meal planning on Sunday and Wednesday nights will keep you full and nutritious all week. Make some time in the evening to cook up your favourite soups or rice bowls, keeping in mind Bains' rules for portion control.
Check out Bains eight tips below and let us know, how do you attempt to stay healthy at work?
Buy your vegetables in advance, chop them how you like, and store them in containers in the fridge for the week, says registered dietitian Kiran Bains of edovivo. "You’re more likely to use the healthy food in your fridge when it is convenient and ready to use."
One you get meal prepping down, eating healthy during the day is easy. "When grocery shopping, I choose two proteins that I will enjoy for the week and about five to six different veggies," Bains says. Try making your batches on Sundays and Wednesdays (to keep your menu fresh) and for starches try variations of rice, sweet potatoes, wraps, quinoa and pastas high in fibre.
For some of us this may be a wrap or a stir-fry or a rice bowl. Whatever your favourite meal is, stick to it during the week. "My go-to meals are stir-fries, wraps, soups, and salads when it comes to lunch items and of course, I love using left-overs from my dinner meals whenever possible," she says. If you're having chicken dinner, use leftover pieces for a wrap or salad the next day.
"One of my favourite things to do and easiest ways to get all of your food groups into a meal is to make a soup from leftovers," Bains says. If you're cooking chicken or beef, use the bones to create a broth. To keep things healthy, make sure you add as many vegetables as you can to your pot of soup.
"If you decided to splurge on that sugary baked good that’s been calling your name in the cafeteria, try to find an option that is higher in fibre like a bran cookie or bran muffin," she adds. Not only this, but combine your snack with peanut or almond butter for the added protein.
Keep snacks that are high in healthy fats, fibre and protein at your desk. Try nuts and seeds, fruit and low-sugar granola. And just like snacks, hydration is always important, Bains says. Make sure you keep a water bottle handy.
"Set Outlook reminders to snack throughout the day if you’re one of those people that forgets to eat during the day. Snacking throughout the day and keeping yourself hydrated is a great way to ensure your portions aren’t blown out of the waters when it comes to your main meals," she says. You can also use apps on your phone and set reminders to drink water and eat a healthy snack!
We don't need to tell you which office snacks to avoid. But if you aren't ready to give up your mini doughnuts and chocolate bars just yet, think about portion control. "When I do splurge on sugary items, I like to keep the portion size to just half the size of the palm of my hand in mind," Bains says. "If I’m still hungry, I’ll increase the amount of protein that I’m having with it, to make up for that loss."