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The hour-long leisurely lunch-break has all but become a thing of the past. Nowadays, office workers are busier than ever, which usually means they eat food and snacks on the go. But that’s not how to eat healthy when you’re busy!

Unfortunately, most snacks that can be grabbed and eaten quickly tend not to be healthy. Even sandwiches that appear healthy are usually loaded with calorific mayo and other dressings. Couple the unhealthy eating with a largely sedentary desk-job and you’ve got a recipe for weight gain and health risks.

So how does the busy office worker ensure they’re eating healthily without slowing down their day? The good news is that by making little changes, you can have a big impact on your diet.

If you’re finding it difficult to reach for healthy options when working, have a look at these tips to find out how to eat healthy when you’re busy at work.


Eat Breakfast


Breakfast is an easy meal to forego for an extra few minutes in bed. However, by the time lunchtime rolls around, you’re usually ravenous and end up reaching for foods that are loaded with carbs and sugar to fill you up.

It’s a myth that breakfast should be eaten first thing in the morning. The reality is that many individuals struggle to eat anything on waking. If you’re someone who can’t eat first thing, it’s okay to eat your first meal later in the day.

How about preparing a breakfast food such as overnight oats or granola the night before and then taking it into the office with you? That way, you’ve got something healthy and nutritious to eat when you finally feel ready for food.


Stock up on Healthy Snacks


The problem with most snacks is that they’re usually loaded with sugar. This is great if you want a quick energy boost, but it’s nearly always insufficient to last you throughout the afternoon. What inevitably follows is the “sugar crash,” which makes you feel tired and sluggish. 

The key is to reach for snacks that provide slow-release energy, keeping you on-form for the whole day. If there’s nothing healthy available in your office, prepare snack-packs at home and bring them in. If you really want to learn how to eat healthy when you’re busy, you’ll spend a little extra time preparing. During the weekend, prepare five identical packs, so all you need to do is grab one each morning before you leave for work.

Great options for snack-packs are:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Sugar-free yogurts
  • Mixed nuts and seeds
  • Kale chips
  • Berries
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Rice cakes with hummus
  • Hard-boiled eggs

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Choose Your Hydration Wisely


It can be easy to forget hydration when you’re hard at work, but this is the fastest route to fatigue and making unhealthy food choices. Thirst is easily confused for hunger, so many people reach for the snacks when they really should be grabbing a glass of water.

Keep an eye on your fluid intake by using a water bottle and make sure you’re consuming enough of it a day. Most people should be drinking at least 2 liters of water (or about 8 glasses) per day.

Limit the number of sugary drinks and fruit juice you have. They’re not very hydrating and contain lots of unhealthy ingredients. Fruit juice is okay in very small quantities, but too much can be fructose overload.

Coffee and black tea are always the far better option over energy drinks. And they are hydrating, despite caffeine being a diuretic. Fruit and herbal teas are not only hydrating, but they can also have other health benefits, so these are a great option, too.


Smoothies for Lunch on the Go


Smoothies are a fabulous option if you need to eat lunch on the go. Packed with fruit, veggies, and other healthy options, a smoothie can often contain several of your daily recommended portions of fruit and veg. Easy to transport and always delicious, make the humble smoothie your new best friend!

Experiment with new ingredients to keep it interesting. You may even hold competitions at work to see who can make the most delicious smoothie. And with so many great-tasting ingredients, they can be perfect vehicles for smuggling in super-healthy foods that you wouldn’t normally eat.

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Don’t Enter a Meeting Hungry


Meetings are synonymous with office life, and, if we’re honest with ourselves, they tend not to provide the most interesting way to pass time. Boredom has us reaching for the plates of cookies, donuts, and other sweet treats that are usually provided. The temptation is worse if we’ve gone to the meeting with an empty stomach.

Instead of walking out of your meeting, feeling like you’ve consumed the contents of a donut factory, limit the temptation by having a healthy filling snack beforehand.


Hold Lunchtime Meetings


Another way to combat uncontrolled snacks during meetings is to arrange it over lunchtime. What better excuse to visit that new healthy café down the road than to hold a meeting there?

As long as you choose somewhere that has healthy eating options, you’re onto a winner. Your meeting attendees will also thank you for making their meeting more exciting!


Bring Your Leftovers


Eating lunch at your desk may be the only option for you if you’re super busy. Popping out for something to-go usually results in a fast-food option or unhealthy sandwich. To avoid this situation, why not bring your lunch in?

When you cook dinner for the evening, make a little extra or put aside a portion for you to bring in to work the next day. That way, you know exactly what you’re eating, plus it’ll save you money as you won’t be spending cash on takeaways every day. It’s a win-win!


Learn to Say No


In a busy office, there’s always something to celebrate. Whether it’s a colleague’s birthday, anniversary, or celebrating a promotion. The business could have reached a milestone or exceeded its sales goals. Whatever the reason, these celebrations are usually accompanied by lots of cake and other treats.

The only option here if you want to eat healthily is to say no. It can be tough to say, especially if you feel like you might offend the person offering. A good way to circumvent this problem is to say you’ve just eaten and that you’ll partake later. They won’t be offended and will more than likely forget to offer it to you again.


Switch to Virgin Drinks


If drinking is part of your office culture or if business meetings take place after hours, then the alcohol will almost certainly start to take its toll on your body as well as making you feel awful in the mornings. If you want to cut down, the best way is to make your drinks virgin. 

No one will notice if there’s no gin in your G&T or if there’s no vodka with your mixer. If someone is ordering the drinks for you or if alcohol is unavoidable, choose the least calorific option. 


Staying healthy when you work in a busy office can be hard, but with a little adjustment and change of routine, you’ll be reaching for the right options and saying a life-affirming “no” to the rest.

Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.