It can be a challenge to eat healthy foods at work.

Many convenient foods are high in sugar, salt, or fat, and it can be hard to plan healthy meals and snacks around busy schedules and meetings.


Here are some tips to stay on track during the work day:

Keep healthy snacks at your desk

but store them in a drawer or bag out of sight so you won't be tempted to snack if you're not hungry

Schedule your snack times

if you tend to lose track of time or get overly hungry throughout the day

Keep water at your desk

and avoid sweetened beverages

Cut back on cream and sugar in your coffee

If you can't cut them out completely, limit yourself to one cup a day

Keep sugar free gum handy

to chew if you get bored or tired, instead of reaching for a snack

Plan ahead for special events

and decide what treats you will eat and which ones you will skip;  For example, maybe only eat homemade treats, or only chocolate cake, no other sweets

Label and date all food

to be kept in community spaces 

Always leave time in your schedule for lunch;

Avoid eating in front of your computer, even if you only step away for a short time



If you don't have access to a refrigerator at work, there are plenty of healthy snacks to get you through the work day.  Skip refined or processed snacks and choose whole foods that don't need to be refrigerated.  Remember you can always bring a cooler to keep fresh foods chilled and safe outside the fridge. To keep you satisfied and help maintain your focus, pair a carbohydrate with a protein, like dried fruit with nuts, or yogurt with fruit.


Consider these healthy whole food snacks at work:

Whole fresh fruits

like apples, pears, oranges, berries, or bananas which can be kept at room temperature

Sliced fresh fruit or vegetables

Once fruits or vegetables have been cut make sure they stay refrigerated

Unsalted nuts or seeds

like almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas, or walnuts;  Pre-measure portions to help control calories and avoid salted nuts, or those made with artificial flavors or sweeteners

Cottage cheese

in individual portions 

Dried fruits

like apricots, raisins, dates, or figs;  Limit your portion size to 1/4 cup or less to control calories


plain is best, and  Greek yogurt is higher in protein which may keep you full longer; Skip artificially flavored or sweetened yogurts and add your own fruit, nuts, or spices

Portioned apple sauce

or other fruit sauce, choose varieties with no-added sugar when possible

Instant oatmeal

Look for low sugar options, or make your own mix at home

Hummus and pita chips

or vegetables

Individually portioned cheeses

such as Mini Baby Bell, Laughing Cow, or cheese sticks

Avoid processed sweets

like cookies or candy, and fried snacks like potato chips, corn chips or puffed cheese snacks.  Those foods are typically high in sugar and fat, and may not keep you full through the day.  If you must purchase something from the vending machine,  trail mix, pretzels, or peanut butter crackers are usually a healthier option. 


Workplace Lunches

Packing your lunch for work is typically more economical and usually healthier than purchasing a pre-made meal.  It takes a little bit of planning to start, but with practice, packing a healthy lunch becomes quick and easy.  Always try to include at least one serving of non-starchy vegetables, a lean protein, and a healthy carbohydrate.  Keep in mind that your lunch might need to keep you full for several hours, so choose foods that are high in fiber to help you stave off hunger.  Check out the lists below for some suggestions.


Non-Starchy Vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Pepper
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli

Lean Proteins

  • Turkey or Chicken Breast
  • Canned Tuna or Salmon
  • Hardboiled Egg
  • Tofu or Tempeh
  • Greek Yogurt, plain
  • Almonds                                                            

Healthy Carbohydrates

  • Fruit, fresh or dried
  • Beans
  • Whole Grains
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Quinoa 


Here are some tips to keep in mind when packing your lunch for work:

If you make a salad, add some protein

like beans, hardboiled egg, legumes, or grilled meat so you feel satisfied and stay full;  Pack dressings on the side so your salad stays crisp and you can control your portions

Whole grain salads

made from quinoa, farro, barley, or bulgar travel well to work;  Check out some recipes from the Whole Grains Council here. 

Tuna and salmon in pouches

travel well and can be a quick lunch with some crackers and fresh veggies

Leftovers from dinner

make great lunches for work;  Store them in the refrigerator, clearly labeled with your name and the date

If you don't have a way to heat your food

packing soups, stews, or chili in a thermos will keep them hot until it's time to eat. 

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