Working from home has its advantages—I work in my pajamas all the time, I can simultaneously do my laundry while working (which is a real boon when you live in New York and are at the mercy of your laundromat’s hours), and I don’t have to leave my apartment on rainy, snowy, or otherwise gross days—but it has a few dangers as well. Luckily I’m not easily distracted, so having access to all the comforts of home isn’t a problem for me; however, it’s very, VERY easy for your eating habits to get all out of whack. I often find myself drifting back and forth towards two extremes: I either get caught up in what I’m working on and forget to eat lunch, so by the time dinner rolls around, I’m ravenous; or, I kind of snack straight through the day. Neither extreme is good, so this year on my birthday, I decided to take charge.
Since March, I’ve been trying an experiment geared towards a couple of things: 1) Regulating my eating habits and schedule, and 2) Getting more veggies into and fewer carbs out of my diet. I’ve overhauled my typical breakfast, made a point of making sure I eat a healthy lunch, and trying to make a LOT less pasta for dinner. I’ve also been building some healthy snacking into my food schedule so that I’m less likely to eat anything not nailed down by the time dinner comes around. The biggest changes have undoubtedly been how I’m handling snacks and lunch.
For snacking, I’ve been trying to stay away from crackers (they’re waaaaaaaaaaaaay to easy to eat by the handful)—and instead I’ve been trying out something new: Newtons Fruit Thins. Unlike regular Newtons, they’re crispy and crunchy—just what I’m looking for in an afternoon snack. Made of good-for-you ingredients like whole grains and real fruit, these delicious little treats also have a drizzle of dark fudge to satisfy your sweet tooth. Even better? With a mere 50 calories per crisp, they’re guilt-free (they’ve even got 8g of whole grains per 31g serving). Go crazy—have three. You still won’t be consuming more than 150 calories. Love it!
I’ve been alternating my way through two varieties of cookies, both of which are brand-new flavors: Fruit Thins Banana Drizzled with Dark Fudge and Fruit Thins Coconut Drizzled with Dark Fudge. Although I’m a huge banana-chocolate fan, the coconut ones are definitely winning out in my book; this probably has something to do with the fact that they taste kind of like another of my favorite cookies minus the chewy caramel bit. But the banana ones have their merits, too—you can actually taste the banana bits in them, for example—so really, you win either way. There are boatloads of other flavors to choose from, by the way, so head on over to newstonscookies.com to check ‘em out and get access to some great tips for healthy eating and living.
Next: Lunch. I’ve always liked to cook and I love Asian food, so I started reading up on how to make Japanese bento boxes for lunch. Bentos, which can be made in advance (I make mine the night before) usually consist of a protein, a grain, and a veggie. Because of the compartmentalized nature of bento boxes, it’s easy to portion out exactly what you need—no more, no less. I also usually put a little fruit in mine—usually berries, but it varies based on what I’ve got in my fridge. Just because bento is traditionally Japanese, by the way, doesn’t mean you have to fill your bento box only with Japanese foods, so anything goes. Also, it’s absolutely delightful to have a little box full of awesome edibles waiting for you. I’ve never looked forward to lunchtime so much before.
So how’s this whole healthy diet overhaul going? Excellent, so far! Food-wise, a typical day for me used to look something like this:
7:15am – Start work.
10am – Quick break for breakfast: A toasted bagel with strawberry cream cheese and coffee.
2pm – If I remember, quick break for lunch: Usually some sort of sandwich with some fruit on the side. If I don’t remember: Second cup of coffee.
Somewhere between 4pm and 5pm – Finish work. If I didn’t remember to have lunch, I am attacked by MASSIVE HUNGER PANGS.
5:30pm – Dinner: If I’m feeling lazy, pasta with pesto, green peas, and parmesan. If I’m feeling more dedicated, something like chicken stir-fry.
7pm – Sweet tooth craving. Hunt around for something sweet. Consume if found.
Now, it’s more like this:
7:15am – Start work. 9:30 or 10am: Breakfast: Usually cereal with some fruit thrown in and coffee, though if I’ve got a few minutes to spare, I might make something like this breakfast quinoa.
1pm – Lunch: Bento. The one shown here has sukiyaki beef over rice, veggies stir-fried with a little bit of garlic, and fruit:
3:30pm – If I’m getting peckish: Teatime! A Newtons Fruit Thin or two with a cup of tea (decaf, hopefully—I’m also trying to cut down on my caffeine consumption).
Somewhere between 4pm and 5pm – Finish work.
6pm – Dinner. Often I’ll make something in large quantities and then use the leftovers for a couple of bentos. Here, I’ve got some pan-fried chicken nuggets (I know, I know, breaded things are bad for you, but hey, one step at a time, right?) with a little bit of ketchup mixed with sriracha to dip them in, and some sliced raw veggies (pepper strips, cucumber rounds, cherry tomatoes, and carrot rounds):
7pm – If I didn’t snack at 3:30, dessert! Three Newtons Fruit Thins make for a delightful end to the day.
With a new meal schedule, go-to foods, and healthy snacking, I’m staying on the lower end of my range of Weights I Feel Good Being At, as opposed to at the higher end (which is where I was with all the pasta I was eating. Whoops). And definitely check out those Newtons Fruit Thins; they’re healthy and decadent at the same time, and absolutely perfect for the gal on the go—even if you work from home!
Don’t forget to visit newtonscookies.com to take a look at all of their new Fruit Flavors and also get access to great tips. Be sure to visit the Newtons brand page on BlogHer.com to read other bloggers’ posts!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.