Clean Eating At the Office

Image Courtesy: http://www.westchestermagazine.com/2012/914INC/Q3_2012/Downtime/Eating-at-desk.jpg

Like many people in the workforce, I find that I spend more and more time behind a desk. I am fortunate that I get out and do physical training on occasion and have some flexibility in my schedule to make it to the gym during work hours most days, but for the most part my day is spent in a chair and behind a monitor.

I believe in planning meals and limiting eating out as the cornerstones for creating a healthy lifestyle. With that said, I’m not one to turn down an impromptu lunch invite from an old friend or celebrate a special occasion just because I have a Tupperware that needs heating and eating.

The best meal planning in the world can go awry when you leave it in the fridge in the mad dash to make it out on time. I have been known on occasion to do this. Also with most of my cooking happening on Sundays, if Sunday gets busy my meal planning suffers. With these in mind I have been able to do a few things to assist me in my planning and staying on track. Here are some of the things that have helped me stay the course when it comes to clean eating.

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Pictured from left to right: Protein Powder in shaker bottles, Coconut Oil, Nutty Bars, Tuna, Soups, Instant Coffee, Green Tea

As you can see the upper cabinet area of my desk has pretty much been converted to a small pantry. There are a few staples of mine that help me out when I’m forgetful or do a poor job planning.

Protein Powder
I keep a couple extra shakers filled with a serving of protein powder for when I need a light snack but need to be somewhere quick.

-Green Tea

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I have been drinking YamaMotoYama Genmai-Cha green tea for a long time. Sometimes green tea can be light on flavor and tastes more like hot water. This tea is made with roasted brown rice and has a nice brothy flavor to it. It seems that every few months we are learning about a new health benefit to green tea. One huge benefit is the antioxidants that it provides.

For more info on health benefits check

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/health-benefits-of-green-tea

-Tuna Fish

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Tuna is packed with protein and omega 3 fatty acids. I stick with Tuna in water as personal preference. I’m not partial to brand and I pick these up whenever they are on sale. I stick with the pouches for the office as they are more convenient and easy to eat out of when I need a quick snack between meals. One caution about tuna is that they are ocean predators and as such one must be cautious of the mercury content. White and albacore are the most popular types of tuna sold in grocery stores and also happen to be the highest in mercury content. I wouldn’t suggest eating multiple packets a day but as an occasional snack I think the health benefits far outweigh the risks.

–Soups

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I’ll be the first to admit that processed canned soup is not the best, but when you are in an office environment and cooking from a microwave a nice hearty soup can be a meal replacement. Especially if you combine it with tuna for the protein content. I prefer Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tomato & Sweet Basil for the taste and surprisingly of the Campbells Chunky varieties, Chicken and Dumplings has one of the most favorable protein-carb ratios. Again this is not something I suggest eating at every lunch but for those hectic mornings you forget to pack something, this could be the alternative to running out for some fast food.

-Instant Coffee

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We have a drip coffee pot in the office. The coffee that is usually made in it is close in taste and appearance to motor oil. I jokingly refer to it as “army coffee” because it tastes like something that was brewed in a helmet while sitting in a foxhole. A few years ago I was turned onto Vietnamese coffee houses. I prefer my coffee black but I really enjoy the flavor from the Vietnamese coffee. I keep a bag or two of instant Vietnamese coffee to avoid the coffee pot and also to avoid having to dilute my coffee with spoon after spoon of sugar and creamer to make it palatable.

There are numerous benefits to drinking coffee but many of these benefits can be ruined by over consuming sugar and creamer. These instant packets only require hot water.

Here are some interesting benefits to reguarly drinking coffee http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/coffee-health-benefits_n_4102133.html

-Coconut Oil

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I am a big believer in coconut oil. I have seen my grandmother’s mental state deteriorate due to Alzheimer’s disease and when researching the disease I continually stumbled upon the benefits of coconut oil. Based on my family history and the researched health benefits I try to include coconut oil in my daily life. I use coconut oil to replace vegetable oils when cooking and trying recipes and I try to supplement with coconut oil pills when I can. Currently there isn’t any hard scientific evidence that links coconut oil with Alzheimer’s prevention but preliminary studies are promising. There are numerous studies that show how unhealthy vegetable oil so I can at least feel good about swapping to a healthier oil.

Here is an interesting read on coconut oil
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/coconut-oil-health-benefits/#axzz3eTvj2IER

-Protein Bars

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In addition to protein powder I try to keep a few protein bars handy. Taste is a huge sticking point for me. If it doesn’t taste good, I don’t care how many grams of protein it has, I won’t eat it. I’ve found that these power crunch bars have a very good flavor to them and right now are my favorite protein bars. There are other bars out there with less carbs and more protein but I can’t eat a protein bar that tastes like chalk.

-Cheat Snacks

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Ever have a day where you just want to attack the vending machine? I have a terrible sweet tooth and instead of going on the hunt to satisfy it, I try to keep some cheat snacks around to keep the vending machine from eating all my spare change. I know myself and I know that the more I try to deprive myself the worse my cheat session will be when I have it…and I will have it. I like nutty bars because they are delicious and one package (2 bars) is 330 calories which is not going to kill my entire day. Obviously this is not an everyday item and this box should last me a long time.

I’m always looking out for other options to keep around so I’m not hunting for food when it gets to be that time. If anyone out there has any tips or wants to share what they do to keep themselves in check when planning or circumstances fail I’d be interested to know.

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