By Annie Ferland, Nutritionist, PharmD
Lockdowns and remote work have significantly changed our lives; our work schedule is different, we sometimes need to “manage” our children while we work, and preparing their lunch boxes has suddenly become a thing of the past (which is a great relief to some of us!).
Nevertheless, it is essential for our physical and mental well-being to establish some healthy-eating habits that are similar to the ones we had before the lockdown. As a first step, it’s important to identify what our needs are. If eating three meals a day plus snacks is important to you, these need to be incorporated into your new schedule.
However, be careful not to go extremes by trying to control every aspect of your diet. Guilting yourself and banning certain foods isn’t the way to go. Here are a few tips to help you develop good eating habits when working from home.
1. Set up a comfortable workspace (away from the kitchen)
With remote work, it is important to choose a specific spot and set it up properly for work. If you can, avoid setting up your workspace in or in view of the kitchen. Your surroundings can influence your eating behaviors. Indeed, if you are stressed or bored, it’s much easier to grab a snack when the fridge is close by, especially if you aren’t actually hungry.
2. Enjoy a meal with others, virtually
For some, eating alone or always with the same people can be a strain psychologically. All the more reason to set up a virtual lunch date with co-workers or friends. Make it a special occasion: plan what to eat ahead of time, or you could all order the same meal from a favourite restaurant.
3. Plan your meals and snacks wisely
During lockdown, it is a good idea to plan your meals and snacks at least a day in advance. If there is more than one person working remotely from home, meal planning shouldn’t be the job of just one person as too much responsibility can add to their mental load. You could even prepare a lunch box in the morning with snacks, which has the added benefit of returning a bit of normalcy to the situation. Logistically, meal plans help reduce the number of trips to the grocery store and can be reassuring, especially for young children.
Most importantly, remember to go easy on yourself. We don’t all experience stress in the same way and teleworking requires a certain level of adjustment. We just need to continue taking in high-quality nutrition that provides a healthy source of energy to our brain.