Working From Home? Try These Dietitian-Approved Meal Ideas

If you’re currently working remotely, you know all too well how difficult it can be to stick to a healthy diet when you have access to your kitchen 24/7. No longer do you have to meal-prep your lunches for a week or make on-the-go breakfasts - the lines between your meals are blurred, it’s easier to snack all day and takeaway is always an option for those days when you really can’t be bothered cooking. Even as a dietitian, I sometimes find it difficult to stay on track.

So, what does a perfect day on a plate look like while working from home?

The ‘perfect’ day on a plate will look different for everyone and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition. Everyone has unique requirements, health considerations, levels of physical activity, and food preferences. However, there certainly are some key criteria I would generally recommend for the average person. These recommendations are:

1. Include the five elements of a balanced meal

Colour (from fruit and vegetables), protein, quality carbohydrates, nourishing fats and something tasty like a bit of cheese, hummus, guacamole, sun-dried tomatoes or pickles.

2. Consider your portions

A typical healthy plate should include: 1⁄2 a plate of colour, 1⁄4 of a plate of protein, 1⁄4 of a plate of quality carbohydrates, a sprinkle of healthy fats, and a sprinkle of your ‘something tasty’.

While working from home, what ‘perfect’ looks like for me as a dietitian is making sure I get in a good variety of foods. It’s easy for cooking to become monotonous when stuck at home but I try to keep things interesting (and simple) by using a weekly meal plan. Variety ensures I’m getting in a broad spectrum of micronutrients through my diet (aka vitamins and minerals). It also means fuelling my body and brain for a productive day in my home office. I want to ensure I’ve got sustained energy levels and stable blood sugar levels.

I also make an effort to get 30 different plant foods into my menu across the week. This includes fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes and extra virgin olive oil. I do this to mix up flavours and nutrients, but also because 30 plant foods is the number research suggests will promote a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is important for numerous aspects of our health, including our immune system and our mental health. So, without further ado, here’s what my ‘perfect’ WFH day on a plate looks like.

A 'perfect' day on a plate while working from home

Breakfast

  • Poached eggs

  • Wholegrain toast

  • Sautéed tomato, mushrooms and spinach

  • Sliced avocado

  • A piece of grilled haloumi

Lunch

  • Mixed salad leaves, beetroot, carrot, cucumber and sprouts

  • Brown rice

  • Chicken breast (marinated in lemon and oregano)

  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

  • A spoon of hummus on top

Afternoon snack

  • Greek yoghurt

  • Small handful of rolled oats thrown in

  • Spoon of almond butter

  • Mixed frozen berries

Dinner

  • Salmon fillet

  • Oven baked potato, pumpkin, broccoli and green beans

  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon

  • Sprinkle of mixed seeds

Dessert

  • Sleepy time tea

  • Piece of fruit

  • A couple squares of dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter

Hydration

Hydration is an often-neglected element of good health. Staying well-hydrated not only not only helps concentration levels remain high, but also aids in appetite regulation. A general guide is to aim for 35-45ml per kg of body weight, per day.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor, dietitian or other qualified health professional prior to starting a new eating plan. 

Explore more content like this in our series, Ask a Dietitian

Health & Performance Collective is the brainchild of Sydney Dietitians Jessica Spendlove and Chloe McLeod. They use their 20 years of combined knowledge and skills as dietitians to work with motivated people to live and perform at their best.

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