I was so excited when Xerox and their small business blog reached out to me via Twitter to find out a little bit more about how I personally manage healthy a busy business schedule and eating right. I still learn more each day, but I definitely have most of this healthy (on a budget) stuff down.


You’ve been in a zone the entire morning, efficiently plugging away at your to-do list at work. Around 12:30, some fatigue sets in and your stomach starts grumbling. It’s time for a break.

A really quick break. For many employees, increasing demands in the office have resulted in their lunch hour dwindling to a lunch quarter-hour. A recent poll found that half of workers take just 15 minutes to eat during the workday. That often means running to a fast-food joint or grabbing a sandwich and chips from a nearby deli.

The result: A super-sized toll on your body and wallet.

“When you’re eating out, it’s easy to make worse choices instead of better choices, — if those choices even exist,” says fitness guru Daffnee Cohen. “A lot of times it’s just very unhealthy food, and it gets expensive really quickly.”

Real Business asked Cohen for tips on how to create a game plan for eating well at work. Get in this routine and you could save $2,500 a year.

1. Change Your Mindset. We often get so caught up in our busy lifestyles that healthy eating gets pushed way down on the priority list. The first step is make a point to focus on your diet. “That means planning — having the healthy food in your house, whether it’s already prepared ahead of time or having the ingredients to make breakfast and lunch,” says Cohen. “It’s really about getting in a state where you’re allocating time to planning your meals.”

2. Go Green. We all know about the old healthy standby: The salad. But many of us cringe at the thought of eating romaine lettuce with chicken breast on top every day. It doesn’t have to be that way, says Cohen. She recommends using arugula or spinach, and then adding ingredients that aren’t in common salads, like garbanzo beans, beets, olives, sunflower seeds, and nuts. You can also vary your protein with a chopped turkey burger or salmon in addition to chicken breast.

The one thing to watch out for is salad dressing. “Ninety-nine percent of dressings are not good for you,” says Cohen. “They have a lot of preservatives and a ton of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.”

The good news is, it’s really easy to make your own healthy dressing. Top your salad with a little olive oil or half a lemon and some mustard or balsamic vinegar. You can also add ground pepper, dill, rosemary or thyme. “It’s a fun form of creativity,” says Cohen. “Once you start doing it, you’ll get more motivated.”

3. Enjoy a Sunday Cookout. It’s a good idea to prepare your meals in advance of your workweek, because once Monday hits, the office can drain your energy and time. Cohen recommends putting aside 45-60 minutes on Sunday evening to prepare a couple of vegetable and meat dishes, a pot of brown rice or quinoa, and a big bowl of soup. Don’t make them one by one — start cooking the grain, and then work on the other dishes while that’s on the stove.

After that, you’ll be set for a few days. Mix and match those foods throughout the week, and then change your menu the following Sunday so you won’t get bored.

4. Invest in Tupperware. “It’s a godsend when it comes to bringing food to work and eating on the go,” says Cohen.

After a grocery run, take a few minutes to chop up produce and meats and keep them in plastic containers. That way, you won’t have to spend time doing that when preparing your meals. “It’s just a matter of taking out five containers, picking out a little bit of each, and then you have your lunch complete already,” says Cohen. “If you do it all beforehand, it’s a super, super time-saver.”

5. Taste Success. Be patient — it may take a few weeks to get into a groove. But it will happen, and you’ll save money, be healthier, and also be more productive in the office.

“If people would substitute their unhealthy foods with these options for a few days in a row, they would notice that they won’t get that 2:30pm ‘I’m exhausted and I need a nap’ feeling,” says Cohen. “When you’re hungry in the middle of your workday, you need food that’s going to revitalize you, not bring you down and make you tired.”

You can read this on Real Business as well!

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