6 Healthier Choices You Can Make When You Work at a Startup

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What my desk might look like on a “healthy” day.

There are so many incredible perks to working for startup companies–health benefits, flexible schedules, company happy hours and offsites, the list can go on and on. However, one of the very best perks is the food! Startups love to take care of their employees by providing them with plenty of meals, snacks, and drinks to energize and nourish them as they bust throughout the day. However, startups can be perilous territory in this sense. When you sit at a desk all day, you’re going to need to walk around sometimes. When you walk around, you might find yourself in the kitchen. When you find yourself in the kitchen, snacking happens. You see where this is going?

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Believe me, I am most guilty of being a champion office fridge and pantry raider. Give me string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, bagels, Red Bull, and chocolate and I’m all set for the day! There’s absolutely no judgment in eating all the food, but I’m familiar with the guilt, plus the drive to be healthier.

We don’t have to completely abandon all of our favorite snacks and meals at work, but if we’re lucky enough to have so many choices available, we can make healthier choices for our bodies and minds. Eating healthier won’t happen overnight, but you can take some small steps in avoiding an office version of the Freshman 15.

Here are six tips to consider for the next trip to the office kitchen!

Eat fruit and/or yogurt for a sweet fix.

If your sweet tooth is aching for something, try going for some fruit. You can even get a little creative  and add some of your favorite sweet condiments. A couple of my favorites are sliced apples with almond butter and sliced bananas on top of Nutella on whole wheat toast. Yogurt is also an excellent healthy sweet treat. If you have plain yogurt at the office, add some fruit and granola for top taste and nutrition. Chobani Greek yogurt (Black cherry flavor!) is my personal favorite. The fruit is already at the bottom, so you just have to stir up and enjoy! Though they are delicious, try to steer away from already-flavored yogurt and opt for varieties with higher calcium and protein content, such as any Greek yogurt or Siggi’s.

Choose a non-traditional method of hydration.

Drinking water doesn’t have to be basic. Shake your palate up with coconut water, sparkling water, or infused water. Our office loves Hint water, which comes in still and sparkling varieties in essences like cherry, strawberry kiwi, and watermelon. Best yet, you can simply infuse your own water by adding fresh lemons, berries, or mint to regular water. I received the Define Bottle in my POPSUGAR Fit New Year box and I’m crazy about it. You put your fruit in the bottom container, attach a strainer, attach a top part, and fill up. So easy, fun, and healthy (Not to mention yummy)!

Select a healthy lunch and/or dinner option when you can.

At work, we use two different delivery services for our lunches and dinners for an array of meal options. I definitely have my go-to dishes, and they can be heavy. But sometimes I’ll sacrifice the burgers, burritos, and garlic noodles and opt for a salad and soup or a wrap instead. Or I’ll order one of those boxes containing a juice smoothie, yogurt, nuts, and eggs. It’s all about starting small. Even if you just do one day a week where you order something more green than you normally would eat, it’s worth a self-pat on the back.

Bring your own lunch and snacks.

When I tried one of the Tone It Up challenges earlier this year, I brought my own lunch and snacks to work for several weeks, even though I knew so much food was already available to me. You don’t have to go on some meal plan to do that, but looking into them and taking select recipes from them can help you eat healthier at the office. You’ll feel good knowing where your food came from, and putting together your own meals and snacks will make you feel accomplished. Look at some of the health/fitness sites on my Link Love page, your favorite health magazines, and Pinterest for recipe ideas. Hint: You may be able to expense a lunch you bring from home. Ask your office manager if you can do so.

Request healthier snack/drink options from your office manager.

Most office managers are open to accommodating any requests, depending on their food budgets. If there are healthy snacks or drinks you like and think others might like as well, speak with your office manager about stocking the pantry and/or fridge with those items. Or if you notice that there aren’t a lot of healthy options available in general, speak up [kindly] anyway. The person in charge will likely appreciate the initiative and make something happen.

Choose that, not that.

There is always a healthier alternative to what you’re craving. When it comes to bagels, I’ll usually eat a plain white one over a whole-wheat one. When it comes to drinks, I’ll usually have a regular Coke, but I’ll always have sparkling water available to me. When it comes to protein, I’ll usually have chicken or fish over beef. I can make a choice to eat a whole-wheat bagel and drink sparkling water, and you can make a choice to eat chicken or fish (Or even healthier, tofu). If it won’t kill you on the outside (It’s okay if it kills you on the inside—we are all human!), just weigh all your options and go with a healthier choice every now and then.

In addition to all of this, don’t forget to integrate healthy eating habits outside of work, exercise regularly, drink lots of water any way, and get plenty of rest. ❤

(FEATURED IMAGE: Tom Eversley / ISO Republic)

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