With many of us now staying at home due to coronavirus restrictions it’s important to focus on working well during lockdown. As we all find ourselves spending more hours than we could ever have imagined in the sanctuary of our own homes, this is the perfect time to focus on good food to nourish our bodies, minds and souls.
Working from home has its challenges – not least trying to stay out of the fridge when you know there are some tasty treats in there, but with a little bit of planning and some creative ideas, this could be the ideal opportunity to make some positive changes.
This is not a time for dieting, cutting back or food restrictions. Instead, with more time on our hands, this new routine of social distancing and self-isolation can provide us with a unique opportunity to eat more healthily and keep ourselves well-nourished.
Your working day
Set a healthy new daily routine to help keep you focussed as you work from home.
- Get up at your usual time. Try replacing your daily commute with a new habit of morning exercise. Stretching, yoga or a walk are a great way to start the day so by the time you get to your desk your head will be clear and you will feel ready to start your working day.
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Take the time to make something nourishing to set yourself up well for the day. Porridge with nuts, seeds and berries, eggs on wholemeal toast with tomatoes, or a low sugar granola with natural yoghurt are good choices. This will help maintain and sustain your energy and mood throughout the morning.
- Don’t stay in your PJs all day! After your morning exercise, get showered and dressed.
- Make a list of what you need to do. Some people like to do this the night before, for others it works better first thing in the morning.
- Get away from your desk regularly. Work in 30minute blocks. Research has also found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.
- Set yourself time for a mid-morning tea break, lunch and afternoon break. Get away from your desk, phone a friend or colleague, or go and make yourself a cup of tea.
- Make your snacks count – you can really up the ante with your nutritional intake by choosing some healthy snacks. A healthy snack mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon can give you a wee hit of healthy nutrition to help fuel your energy levels and keep you motivated.
Here are some ideas to help you work well from home during lockdown:
- 2 oatcakes with sugar-free nut butter
- A handful of nuts
- Yoghurt & fruit
- Carrot sticks & houmous
- Chopped apple with sugar-free peanut butter
- 70-85% cocoa chocolate with a few brazil nuts
- If you drink coffee, less is more. Too much caffeine can leave us feeling stressed, anxious and jittery. Stick to one or two cups of good quality coffee a day, sit back, relax and enjoy it.
- Get outside. Fresh air will help clear your head and can help to reduce fatigue and stress.
- Keep your fridge packed with quick and handy lunch items to keep you well fuelled and nourished for your afternoon. Filled wholemeal pitta pockets with houmous and salad, homemade soup with oatcakes and cheese, or ‘Fridge Raid Omelette’ can make a healthy lunch.
‘Fridge raid’ omelette
- Whatever you can find in the fridge (maybe half a pepper, some leftover potatoes, some onion, a couple of mushrooms, some spinach or broccoli, the end of a block of cheddar or some goat’s cheese)
- 3 eggs
- Herbs – fresh or dried and any combination of what’s available (parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dried mixed herbs)
- Some olive oil
- Chop all the vegetables you have found.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the potatoes and onion if you have them and cook for a few minutes until they start to turn golden brown.
- Add the other vegetables and cook for 1-2minutes to soften.
- Stir in the herbs.
- Pour the egg mixture over the top and allow to cook until the egg starts to set.
- Add the cheese and finish off under the grill.
- Serve with a salad if you have it, or on its own.
This blog first appeared as my column in The Irish News on Saturday 4 April 2020.