Its been three months since I have started to work from home, and it has been surprisingly productive. However, the downside is that I am eating a lot more on a daily basis. Looking for something to nosh on – chips, almonds, something …. just to feed the beast so to speak. A lot of this stuff is not healthy and, can be a bit of a problem down the line.
So while visiting a neighborhood Safeway, I decided to pick up lots of greens – celery, carrots, radishes and what not. I make a huge salad every two days, but its getting boring. What are your tips for eating healthy when working from home, and what are the best ways to avoid the junk food trap?
I am just curious to know…. I wonder why no one talks about this in context of us web workers?
32 thoughts on “Open Thread: What's in your refrigerator?”
Definitely an issue I’ve been thinking about. Lately I’ve fallen into the same trap, except with Mountain Dew. Greens are definitely a great start, but they are by no means the only healthy food. Carrots are awesome to snack on, especially the baby carrots. I also enjoy a wide range of fruit. It satisfies the need for something sweet, yet doesnt load you down at all. My favorites are plums, peaches, grapes (great, easy snack), oranges, bananas, apples, etc. They even all come in their own portable, biodegradable wrappers. Perfect for the web developer on the go.
I don’t work from home anymore, so it’s not as big of an issue for me lately. However, I always enjoy snacking on the following types of things:
-trailmix type stuff (Good ‘Ol Raisins & Peanuts)
-nuts (almonds == lower in fat and pretty nutritious)
-regular fruit (especially bananas for me)
-“natural” granola/cereal/etc bars
-fresh veggies: carrots, bell pepper, celery, etc
-pretzels.. I just can’t help myself. 🙂
Don’t think of snacking as bad though! It’s a good thing, assuming that you’re eating a balanced variety of things.
We belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) so we have lots of organic veggies for about half the year. I usually make big dinners of healthy stuff and eat the leftovers. Healthy veggie lasagne, veggie enchiladas, etc.
I usually don’t snack a lot, but sometimes I make popcorn (no unhealthy stuff on it), rice cakes with natural peanut butter, organic cereals with organic milk, kefir or yogurt, smoothies and fresh fruit. I find that if the fruit is ready to go, I’m much more likely to snack on it.
I NEVER have sodas and rarely have things like chips. If I have fresh salsa though, I tend to eat the whole thing!
So, if I’m in the mood for crunchy – apples, carrots, rice cakes. Salty: popcorn. Sweet – Yogurt or fresh fruit.
Also, if you drink a lot of water – a glass an hour or so – this tends to fight the hunger pains pretty well.
And I drink about a pot of coffee a day, although I doubt that is healthy. 😉
I’ve been working from home for 7 years now. I think it really goes the other way. I think the food thing is one of the the best parts about working in your house. You make your own lunch in your own kitchen instead of not having time in the morning and just eating some fast food, or whatever the cafeteria has today.
If you’ve got snacking issue then you need to look at what your problems are and solve them in a way that makes sense. Personally, I fall victim to the “can’t eat just one” syndrome on chips. I’ll eat half a bag of chips before I realize, then another third feeling guilty about it. The solution is portion control. I buy the single-serving snacks. When I’m done with the bag there’s no more to eat so I can stop.
Second, out of sight, out of mind: I have converted one of our bedrooms to my home office. It’s a two story house and all the “bedrooms” are on the 2nd floor. The kitchen is on the first. In order to get a snack I need to trudge down and up a flight of stairs. For some reason this works for snacks but not drinks for me. I don’t drink much that has calories though. The only thing that stays upstairs with me is the thermal coffee carafe. Since I drink it black, there’s no calorie problem. Incidentally, if you don’t have a home office, make one. Make it yours.
Don’t eat lunch where you work. You don’t want to associate the place you work with eating.
If you try to cut out all the snacking, you’ll just make yourself miserable.
Can’t say it’s an issue for me. I’m usually so busy I don’t even notice time passing and before I know it it’s 5pm and I haven’t even had lunch!
I have a kegerator within 8 feet of my desk. The kegerator is the the worst best idea ever. I’m not too good with the discipline, so coffee shops are a must for me.
I find that dried fruit (mango is my favourite) is great for snacking. On the drink side of things I stick to green tea and I’m now getting into smoothies. I balked at them before because of price (around €5 per litre) but I got over that by telling myself it’s only the same price as a pint of beer.
For a chocolate hit I buy organic high cocoa chocolate. I find I eat less of this than cheaper milk chocolate and for the taste alone it’s worth it.
I spend half of my time in Seattle and half in a rented apartment in Santa Monica at my day job/consulting gig. The Santa Monica fridge has absolutely nothing in it. I’ve found that it’s just cheaper to eat out and escape the food throwaway situation. Plus, there’s nothing like a socal burrito!
But, in Seattle, I’ve found leftovers to be my main staple. I get through the morning with bulk purchases of powerbars from Drugstore.com (from monthly purchases), and then leftover my way thru the day. Late afternoon usually require a banana or something to avoid eating a full bag of potata chips or something similar.
When traveling, I’ve discovered an easy way to avoid terrible foods and save money — my ‘alaska air $225 boardroom’ investment gets me free bagels and fruit plus free coffee, juice and beer (during those delays), and helps me avoid cinnabon and potato cheesy wedges 🙂
love WWD, Om…
if you haven’t done a piece comparing mobile devices (MDA vs. Blackberry vs. ____) for non-huge-tech users, i’d love to see it…
I had hopes that the basic premise of this site would provide a lot of great content on working from home, the coffee shop, or wherever. However, I’m only seeing a post or so a day, and these types of postings really aren’t the quality of content I was thinking this site would generate.
I just had my last day of my regular job, and on monday my own consulting company will open for business. I will be working from home at first, and I am a bit afraid that I will fall into the unhealthy snack pit.
I don’t like fruits and veggies that much, so my choices are a bit limited. I am a nut freak, but there is a lot of fat in them unfortunately.
I am not quite sure what I will do for lunch … but some kind of sandwitch soulds likely. Office workers here in Stockholm usually go out to lunch every day, to lunch restaurants, and that is a habit that will be hard to get rid of.
My drinking choices consist of free sparkling clean water from the tap and the never ending mountain of Pepsi Max in the fridge. So no calories there …
Looking forward to more time in my home office though 🙂
I would avoid dried fruits or carrots, since they are just pure sugar. I go for the soy products, mostly from Trader Joes. Soy pretzels are healthy, as are the frozen soy nuggets. In addition to being good for your body, you can only eat so much soy before you start choking on it. Try some of the nuts (wasabi peas are pretty good). I keep spinach (not lately) and grilled chicken around if I absolutely can’t get out for lunch, but I try to go out for lunch every day. It gives me a nice work break and let’s me see live humans instead of characters on the screen.
I used to do that snacking thing and it was a disaster. I met myself coming and going to the fridge. Now, I’ve put myself on an eating schedule, just like a baby. I don’t eat if it’s not the appointed time.
Gum helps curb the beat. Fruit is hard to beat (high fiber like Apples), also lots of water keeps the hunger down too.
Keep a truckload of V8 vegetable juice.
Also, get some celery salt or worcestershire sauce. Attempt to NOT add vodka.
I, too, work from home more often now, and I have also recently modified my diet to be more healthy, so I know exactly what you are facing!
Fruits and vegetables are great, but use dried fruits sparingly as they are usually loaded with sugar and other sweeteners.
For satiating the “crunch” need, I keep seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) around to eat once or twice a week. I also keep low-sodium pretzels, which do the trick most of the time.
I would also suggest chewing sugar-free gum. I found Stride lately and I love their spearmint flavor. And definitely keep water near you at all times – it will soon be a habit to drink the water constantly.
Good luck! We at-homers are all with you!
I used to hate salads until I got married and my wife made me good ones. Add things like beets (high in flavor and healthier than dressing), chicken, toasted almonds, and a little cheese and you can really have a great salad without adding a ton of fatty elements (hard cheeses are better than soft, stay away from bacon bits and fatty dressings and eggs).
For snacks, make sure you’re drinking tons of water. Every time I get hungry, I try and have a glass of water. If I’m still hungry 5 minutes later I’ll grab a snack. A lot of times I’m just thirsty or can get by with just water, which is sooo much better for you anyway.
Finally, get some good fruit (freshest you can find which might not be from safeway) and cut it up in the morning. Cut up a lot, and leave it near you or in tupperware in the fridge. If it’s cut up it’s much more tempting to eat since it seems like more of a snack. Plus, eating some fruit is tough to do at a computer, but I find having it sliced makes it perfect. And use a fork instead of your fingers, your keyboard will thank you.
I also like snacks. The trick is not to get rid of them, but to replace them with healthier snacks. Substitute almonds and chips for boiled edimame (soy beans) with salt sprinkled on top, buy more wholesome veggie chips, eat more often but in smaller amounts, and pick what you eat with great prejudice.
celery and peanut butter is an old standby…I also tend to have random broccoli cravings, go figure.
I agree with the commenters who said their diet was better working at home. Mine too.
1. I eat a good breakfast every day. Seriously cuts down on the urge to snack. Always fresh fruit.
2. The same breakfast and lunch almost every day. No thinking, get efficient at making it. Lunch differs only by season: lotsa vegetables, what’s fresh from the farmer’s market and garden in the summer, stir-fry in the winter.
3. Whatever my family eats at night, but eat light.
When I’m on the road, I gain weight and feel less healthy.
I find that I don’t eat right unless I am also exercising.
The only thing that keeps you eating right is seeing & feeling the results from doing so. The more results you see the better you eat. A new excitement comes from it which encourages you to do it more. Not to mention the extra glances from the ladies… which is a hell of a motivator might I add.
Maybe it’s time to hit the gym Om.
Om, You know we’ve been working from home for four years now and snacking was an issue initially. We still slip up sometimes, but the following stuff has helped.
Salad tip. Vary the dressings. Balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil with some salt and pepper is awesome for a couple days. Then substitute lemon juice for the Balsamic and added toasted sesame seeds mid week. Funk it up any which way. Add a little dried red pepper, on occasion a few pieces of boiled egg, etc.
Also eat proteins. Like chick peas, seasoned with chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, green chilis, salt and extra virgin olive oil and make a whole batch. Its delish! Similarly make a batch of couscous. I’d avoid too much of one thing and have varying snacks like the above in the fridge at all times.
I find that when you eat something you’ve actually made it’s a lot more satisfying and one tends to eat less and of course ‘you’ control what goes into it. And it doesn’t take long at all. You’ll find that whipping up the above every two evenings or so is a great de-stresser, especially if you sip a nice crisp Chenin Blanc while cooking! Right, I’ll shut up now!
You won’t win this fight with food tips. I’ve worked from home for four years, and during the first couple I was blimping out–food was always available, comforting, and a terrific way to beat boredom. Hey–a run to the fridge beats thinking too hard. Give it up! I’m back down to a great weight (for over two years) and I’ve left the fridge stuffed with food. I just clean up fastidiously after every meal. I hate cleaning and it’s easier to skip the food than to clean every nit-picking crumb and put the dishes away after washing and drying. It’s not glamorous, and I keep the coffee pot or sun-tea pot full for the oral thing, BUT IT WORKS. Make that melted cheese sandwich and stuff yourself. But scrub, scrub, scrub.
A way to avoid snacking and eating crap is to drink lots of water. Like a smoker quitting keeping carrot sticks around, drinking water satisfies the oral snacking impulse. If you get flavored waters, it can satisfy the need for something sweet. Best of all, its really good to keep yourself hydrated.
To make myself drink more water, I got myself a little wine cooler, which would probably hold 8 bottles of wine (costing ~$60), and installed it within arms reach of my desk. No more running upstairs to get water, or other beverages for that matter. I took the top wire rack out of it, and it holds redbull’s upright quite nicely. It runs very quietly, doesn’t use as much electricity as a dorm fridge, and keeps my beverages at a nice 44 degrees (according to the digital display).
I’ve been working from home for about 6 years all told. I have been blessed with a partner that loves cooking and food in general, so I make no claims that I solved this problem , because their is always plenty of healthy food to eat.
But, here’s an idea that works for me. Eat normally. Live normally.
Get up and have a good breakfast, then break when you would at work. 30 years of conditioning won’t just walk away from you ! Go to the gym at the same time eeryday as much as possible, and leave work in the dressing room, listen to music not podcasts.
When you work from home it is up to you to invest in the structures that keep you on the straight and narrow.
Get a trainer
Avoid carbohydrates as much as possible – you don’t need large amounts of slow burning energy when your body is mostly immobile. Your grey matter is doing all the work, so plenty of fish and seafood, and fast burning energy like fructose from fruit juice and stuff.
In other words, eat normal healthy meals, but without the bread/pasta/potatoes etc. Rice is ok, not as much starch as wheat.
Don’t eat snacks between meals.
Go for a walk after lunch.
This is all theoretical advice – I live on instant noodles personally.
Keep a bag of salad (boring, I know, but also light and easy). Add Bacos and cheese and something called “Salad Toppin’s”. Your mouth parts will thank you.
I drink a lot of water. Fruit-2-O the flavored water is pretty tasty. If your drinking something, then you’re not eating something.