There’s nothing wrong with loving your job. But if you spend most of your time at the office, chances are your health will get short shrift. Researchers at Kansas State University looked at workaholics who logged 50-plus hours a week at work and found that they skipped more meals, had worse diets and more mood problems than people who worked less. If cutting back your hours isn’t an option (or you simply don’t want to), try these 10 ways to eat and live healthfully, no matter how time-crunched you are.
1. Keep healthy foods at arms’ reach.
Instead of a dish of candy on your desk, try a basket of apples or trail mix: When people were seated at tables with a bowl of apple slices or carrots, they were much more likely to munch on the fruits and vegetables than if the snacks were 6 feet away, according to research from St. Bonaventure University. In fact, research author Gregory Privitera, Ph.D., did a follow-up study and found that people even chose produce over salty, crunchy popcorn if the fruit and veggies were closer. Some of the best snacks to have on hand during the workday are a mix of protein plus produce or whole grains, says nutritionist Elisa Zied, author of the upcoming book, “Younger Next Week.” “This combination of protein and fiber is filling, helps steady blood sugar and provides many other key nutrients to help your body and brain perform optimally.” Some of her favorite picks: dried fruit mixed with nuts and whole grain cereal (1 tablespoon each), 10 to 15 whole grain chips with hummus or fresh fruit and yogurt.
2. Drink lots of water.
Sure, the hydration will do you good, but for those of us with office jobs, the best thing about guzzling H2O is that it forces you to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom several times a day. The truth is, sitting for too long can kill you. “When you’re inactive, your metabolism glacierizes,” says Pamela Peeke, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of “Body for Life for Women.” “You cool down, important enzyme systems slow down significantly, and this leaves you with an inability to efficiently process blood glucose and cholesterol. Thus, blood sugar and lipids rise.” In fact, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who sat for 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die in the next three years compared to those who were on their tush for less than four hours. Obviously, finding every excuse you can to stand up and move is worth it.