National Brown Bag It Day and Eating Well at Work

May 25th is National Brown Bag It Day! As a health coach, I recommend that my clients bring their lunch to work (and on the road, running errands, etc.), because it is a great way to eat healthy and reduce the non-nutritious temptations at many restaurants. You’ll find that brown-bagging can help you lose or maintain a healthy weight, perform better at work and save money! Studies from the Health Enhancement Research Organization found that people who eat healthy and exercise regularly are more productive, accomplish their work better and take fewer sick days. Try these tips:

• Clean out your stash! Toss all your junk food, processed foods, snacks, and sodas from your desk drawers, purse/briefcase, gym bag, glove compartment, and any hidden places.

• “Crowd it out.” This is one of my favorite tips for healthy eating at work or on the road. Replace your stashes with an assortment of raw nuts (try almonds for protein, walnuts for heart-healthy Omega-3s). Remind yourself how much better these are for you than sugar-loaded peanut M&Ms!) Pack a cooler (or stock your frig at work) with single-serving sizes of hummus or guacamole and mini-peppers, carrots and sliced cucumbers. Try almond butter on sliced apples. Eat the fruit in season (strawberries in the Spring, blueberries in the summer!) Reach for these instead of visiting the vending machine and “crowd out” those chips and candy bars!

• Cook once, eat twice! Cook an extra serving or two of dinner, using healthy choices such as brown rice, chicken or fish, quinoa, vegetables, soup—and bring leftovers! You’ll have a healthy dinner and a health “brown bag.” Eating healthy leftovers can save you $30 to $50 a week! Make sure you stock up on glass containers that are easy to take with you and seal well for no leaks and easy clean-up. My favorites are at Bed, Bath and Beyond — free shipping!

• Brown bag your breakfast, too! Don’t be tempted by the donuts – bring your own oatmeal with fresh fruit or sliced almonds. Or try my Quinoa Porridge. Also, trade in your morning Jo for a cup of green tea; make it the night before and drink it throughout the day for immune-boosting antioxidants!

• BYOB. Bring Your Own Bottle of WATER, that is! You’ll save money and calories drinking water that you bring from home instead of soda, juice or sweet tea/coffee. I recommend bringing it in a BPA-free container. You should drink half of your weight in ounces of water every day. It will help you feel full, keep you hydrated, and it helps with the release of toxins and “regularity.”

When you eat well at work, you’ll not only have more energy throughout the day (say goodbye to the 3 p.m. slump!) you’ll also be feeding your body healthy proteins and cancer-fighting antioxidants – all in your own “brown bag.”