Millions of people wake up in the morning and head to work. They spend hours in commute, grab a coffee, arrive at the office, perform their tasks, drink Coke and eat chips, get pizza for lunch, do more work, eat more chips, spend more hours in commute. Five days a week, the same unhealthy routine.
Are you one of these people? Then this post is for you.
Is there a way to make small adjustments and change the old ways to healthy habits for the workplace that also can save money? What can be improved in the ways we eat, drink, commute and dress at work?
I believe it’s possible to find healthier options that also cost less. There is no need to stay hungry or thirsty in order to avoid fatty food and drinks full of sugar and artificial colors. It’s just a matter of planning ahead and your willingness to do what’s good for your body.
In this post, I want to share 5 healthy tips for office workers that I use myself to stay healthy and fit.
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How To Get Healthy Snacks And Pay Less
Do you have these moments of cravings to chew something between the calls, meetings and other everyday tasks? Maybe you are really hungry, or maybe you just want to get a short break from work.
I like snacking between the meals. Several times a day a feel like I have to get something small to eat. Knowing it, I come to the office prepared. Fruits are my favorite snacks: the 11 am’s clementines, the 12 pm’s banana, the 4 pm’s apple. Same fruits every day. There are days when it’s still not enough and I want some more snacks to satisfy my craving to chew.
What do my coworkers do? Go to a vending machine in the pantry and get a small pack of potato chips, M&Ms or a chocolate bar. Most of these are not really healthy options and they are pricey! Like $1.5-$2.5 for a tiny pack.
I never ever buy anything from that machine. My preference is to stock up with large packs of snacks that are healthier and cheaper: raw almonds, nuts mix, quinoa and black bean chips, dried fruit. Trader Joe’s stores have many healthy, tasty and reasonably priced options. You can find great snacks at BJ’s and other wholesale clubs as well.
The problem, in this case, is with the amount I can eat at once. These Honey Roasted Peanuts from Trader Joe’s are so addictive, I can finish the bag without noticing! How to restrict myself to a small amount every time I want to munch on something? There are two options:
#1. Bring the whole big pack to the office. At the snack time, measure out the reasonable amount, like ½ cup of chips into a plastic cup, seal the bag and put it away (better if it’s in the locker located far away from my desk).
#2. Open a bag at home and divide the snack into small portions in the sandwich-size Ziploc bags. Every day, take one or two to the office. Don’t forget to reuse the bags.
This way you control what and how much you eat for snack and can lower the costs by buying in bulk.
And don’t forget to bring some fruit or pre-cut vegetables as well. Fresh produce is the best snack, full of vitamins and fiber.
Just a quick disclosure note: the prices of my favorite snacks on Amazon are usually much higher than at Trader Joe’s or wholesale clubs. If you like something, compare the prices to find the best offer in your area.
Water And Tea – Healthy And Cheap Drinks
I guess you know that most of the canned and bottled drinks are not healthy as they have huge amounts of sugar, artificial colors, and flavorings in them. Stopping to buy them is a great healthy choice that will save you a lot of money.
Water is the best drinking option. At most workspaces, filtered water coolers are provided by the employer. Want to make it a bit more fun? Get a fancy water bottle that keeps it cold for a long time.
If you are totally bored by plain water, you can opt for an infused water. At home, you can use lemon, mint, cucumber or different types of fruit to add a splash of taste to the water in the pitcher. Bring some lemon slices to the office and add them to your water to make it taste similar to lemonade.
Another great option is to make a tea using flavorful herbal tea variety. Ice tea in summer, hot tea in winter – great healthy and cheap options, compared to the drinks from that vending machine.
Personally, I like the Celestial Tea brand with their wonderful flavors like Raspberry Zinger, Wild Berry, Country Peach Passion and more. Just bring a box to the office and you are all set.
Homemade Lunch – Healthy Food Choice
Going out for lunch is an everyday habit for many people. I agree, there is an important social aspect to it, as it’s easier to chat and build stronger team bonds over a meal than in the official environment.
However, in many cases, the food itself is not really healthy. It’s hard to know what the quality of the ingredients in your dish is. If you are not going to a self-service buffet, you also have less control over the amount of food served to you. It’s too easy to eat more than you really need. The cost is also higher than the meal from home.
Think about it. If you pay $10 for lunch, 20 days a month, it’s $200 monthly expense. It can easily be a half of a grocery budget for a family of 4!
In our household, we are so into homemade food that we pack lunches every day, for both kids and adults. My husband goes out for lunch with his team only once a week.
We cook large amounts once a week and make small adjustments during the week. Our typical lunch has 3 components: meat or fish, grains and roasted vegetables. Every time I eat my lunch, I think that it’s much tastier than what my colleges bring from the cafeteria.
Try to bring your own lunch at least for a couple of days each week. Encourage your peers to do the same. More than that, you can agree on “potluck” Mondays, when everyone brings something to share. It can become even deeper bonding experience than just going out for lunch, as homemade food is a fun conversation starter. You will know each other better from talking about unique family food traditions.
If you are out for lunch, try to stick to healthy options like salads and control the amount of food on your plate. Avoid fried food served in huge portions.
Don’t Spend On Fancy Clothes For The Office
You may think that clothes choice is only about money and has nothing to do with the health. Not exactly. Wearing comfortable clothes makes it easier to keep the right posture and be more productive.
I work at the office with a lenient dress code that allows professional looking jeans and T-shirts, as we are not a client facing unit. The air conditioning is set to a low temperature, so most of the time I’m freezing and need to add layers. It might be just my subjective feeling but looks like it’s shared at least by other females around me.
In my opinion, the best way to dress for the office is to keep the clothes simple, comfortable and neat. If you are not a highly ranked executive who meets with important clients or other top managers, there is no need to invest in expensive brands.
Wearing high-end clothes and fancy accessories every day may position you as a person who likes to brag and puts too much effort into showing off. Don’t be surprised if your peers might prefer to keep some distance from you.
For females, the easiest way to be comfortably clad is to wear dress pants with a buttoned shirt or a plain sweater. My “to go” brand for the office pants, jeans and buttoned shirts is Express. Their products fit me perfectly and look great at any season. Join their mailing list to be notified about sales, when clearance items get additional 40%-50% discount.
For classic looking and comfortable cotton sweaters and shirts I shop for Karen Scott brand at Macy’s, especially during holiday sales. For example, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday the prices reflect up to 75%-80% discount and are really affordable for these good quality tops.
My last finding for a winter season is a fleece lined jeans. They look exactly like regular jeans, but are so cozy and warm! Finally, I can survive in the office without freezing. The Camii Mia pair I found on Amazon is of great quality, not bulky and really pleasant to touch.
Turn Your Daily Commute To An Exercise
Not everyone has a choice about the commute. Millions of people have to spend hours in traffic, trains or metro to get to the office.
If you are lucky and the distance between your house and the office is relatively short, consider walking instead of taking a bus, Uber or a car. It will not only save you money, but 20-30 min brisk walk is a great everyday cardio exercise that helps burn fat and lose weight. Win-win!
Another option can be using a bike or a scooter. I was surprised to find out how lightweight and not expensive are some of the folding bikes!
If you don’t have any choice, at least try to use your commute time wisely. Read a good book or listen to an audiobook or a podcast. Learn something new, invest in yourself.
To change your daily habits at the workplace to healthier and cheaper options, follow these:
- Bring lunch from home several times a week
- Drink water or herbal tea
- Bring healthy snacks from home
- Wear simple comfortable clothes
- Walk or bike to the office
P.S. Check out my FREE Grocery Shopping guide to learn how to buy only what you need and pay less.