If you’re a freelancer who works from home often, you may find that you’re constantly struggling to keep your hand out of the cookie jar. Literally. While working out of your home can be convenient, it can also be filled with snacking temptations. Being self-employed can also sometimes mean that life is busy. Setting aside time to cook healthy meals while running your own business is super difficult.
So what's the best way to stick to healthy eating when you're self-employed?
This is an especially pertinent question if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution that involves a diet or special eating plan. Working from home means temptation lies around every corner. It’s so easy to grab for chips or a candy bar when your stomach starts grumbling, but that’s a fast way to unhealthy eating patterns (and falling off your diet plan).
Good news! Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice eating right. You can still get on board with smarter, healthier eating. Here are our top tips to eating right in 2020.
Eating well is only as easy as you make it. That means that if you only have junk food around the house, you will likely only eat junk food. Eliminate that scenario by stocking your pantry and fridge with health foods and snacks each week. Pick a day to do your grocery shopping (so it becomes a habit) and make a list of healthful things that you can consume throughout the week.
Think about all the meals for the week and how you might be able to prepare them ahead of time so they’re easy to grab when you get hungry. This might involve cooking, preparing, and portioning out meals ahead of time into tupperware containers or zip-top bags. Just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean it has to taste bad, either. Choose foods that you like and that are also good for you!
Just because you make your own schedule doesn’t mean you should fly by the seat of your pants. You probably don’t operate that way with your work, so don’t operate that way with your meals! Instead, set aside time each day to eat. While that may seem silly, the truth is that working in an office provides many different cues about eating. Those cues don’t exist when you work from home or by yourself. There’s no one to tap you on the shoulder and ask you if you want to grab a sandwich down the street at noon.
Rather than forgetting to eat or finding yourself smashing potato chips into your mouth when you’re ravaged, add some reminders to snack and eat throughout the day. This helps you pay attention to when you eat, which can make it easier to avoid mindless snacking or skipping food altogether. Set an alarm to remind yourself that it’s time for lunch, then step away from work while you eat. Eating in front of a monitor or while multitasking can make it easier to overeat because you’re missing hunger signals.
Set alarms for snacks (maybe one in the morning and one in the afternoon) so that you can establish more structured eating habits. You don’t have to eat when those alarms go off if you’re not feeling it, but they can help create signals that remind you to check on yourself and your hunger levels throughout the day. This can also avoid skipping meals and binge eating later in the evening.
Preparing meals doesn’t have to be like competing on Top Chef. No one expects you to create four-course meals for yourself (unless that's your thing!). In fact, we realize you’re probably often strapped for time. Instead, create meals and snacks that are easy and optimal for eating on-the-go. It’s a common trap to think that proximity to your kitchen will make you more likely to prepare something healthy. The fact of the matter is that you’ll likely grab for something that is packed with unhealthy calories. Instead, think about having a mix of healthy options on hand, like fruits, nuts, vegetables, and smoothies. Not only are these healthy, but they’re fairly easy to grab in a pinch.
Being self-employed doesn’t have to complicate meal times. Whether you have a new diet you’d like to stick to in the new year, or you’re just looking for ways to be a little more mindful about food in 2020, these ideas can work for you. Don’t forget—just because your self-employed doesn’t mean you have to eat alone every day either. Text another freelancer friend or someone else who works in the area and make plans to grab lunch. It can be good to stay connected and share a meal with a friend.
Pro tip: Speaking with your doctor is a great way to set yourself up for success. Great news! When you have a Decent plan, you get free, same- or next-day appointments with your primary care physician. Not a Decent member yet? Get your free quote today.