At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans faced significant challenges when it came to healthy eating. Not only were most consumers hesitant to be in public places, but stock levels were depleted for many food items. Amid initial concerns over how coronavirus germs could spread, some people even avoided fresh produce in fears of eating items other people had touched. Naturally, this led to nutritional gaps while shelter in place orders were in effect.
Fortunately, these orders have been lifted across the U.S., leading to a gradual return to normalcy. With that said, many employees are still working from home. If you’re seeking ways to maintain healthy eating with a nontraditional workday, here’s a quick easy guide to healthy eating and how you can stay on track.
It’s still more important than ever to maintain a healthy immune system, and one way to do that is having a week’s worth of healthy meals planned in advance. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a busy schedule is one of the most common reasons people choose takeout, which is often high in calories and poor in nutrition. 
If your schedule is chaotic, aim to set aside some time to prep meals on the weekends. You might make a weeks’ worth of lunches on Sunday, or prepare proteins that can be easily reheated with fresh vegetables. For breakfast, consider making a batch of protein-rich egg skillets, or portion out and freeze your smoothie ingredients.
When you’re pressed for time, elaborate meals won’t always be a priority. You don’t have to sacrifice healthy eating, however—just aim for simpler dishes. Build straightforward meals by pairing a protein and produce. Protein helps to power every cell in the body, and its amino acids are essential to promoting good health.  Some options are lean chicken with a side of steamed broccoli, grilled fish over a bed of greens, or ground turkey with roasted root vegetables. Use different seasonings and homemade marinades to switch up the flavors from one night to the next.
Between work and family responsibilities, your energy may decrease by the end of the day. In addition to making meal prep simple, consider making cleanup hassle-free as well. Look for sheet pan meals and one-pot recipes, such as chilis and stews, to avoid piling dishes up in the sink. For lunches at home, prep salads or single-serving portions in glass containers, which promote easy cleanup.
People were snacking more even before stay-at-home orders, but being close to the pantry has made eating between meals more convenient than ever, with more than a quarter of people saying they snack regularly between meals.  It’s important to differentiate physical hunger from emotional hunger. If you’re feeling stressed or bored, chances are it’s an emotional craving and not actual hunger.  Going for a quick walk or even doing some stretches in your home office could help. Have a workout routine you can reference and incorporate it throughout the day. If you are truly hungry, practice nutritious snacking by keeping your fridge and pantry well-stocked with healthy foods to eat. Avoid processed snacks. Boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, and nuts are all good options because they have protein, which can control hunger and prevent subsequent snacking. 
Healthy eating is important regardless of whether you’re in the office or working from home. Allow Cenegenics to help you make the best nutritional choices for your unique needs—schedule a free consultation with our expert medical team now.
Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized ﬁtness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.