As we all adjust to working from home, it has become clear that maintaining healthy eating habits can be a challenge. Whether your team is dealing with back-to-back Zoom calls or managing kids’ remote learning schedules on top of an already packed workday, it’s all too common for employees to skip meals, grab the quickest (and often least healthy) option, or spend all day mindlessly snacking.
Research has shown that nutrition plays a significant role in work performance and productivity. In fact, according to a recent study that looked at workplace eating habits, better nutrition can raise employee productivity by up to 20%.
Here at DoorDash, we’re always evaluating food trends and meal solutions that can help your team members bring their best selves to work, whether that’s in the office or at home. One trend we’ve had our eye on is intuitive eating.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is an evidence-based, mind-body health approach that focuses on recognizing the body’s hunger and fullness cues. Developed by two dietitians in the mid 90s, it relies on 10 principles that emphasize gentle nutrition and mindfulness as the path to good health.
Research has linked intuitive eating to healthier psychological attitudes and improved eating behaviors. Other evidence-based benefits of intuitive eating include improved cholesterol levels, lower risk for obesity and disordered eating, higher self-esteem, and reduced stress levels.
If you think your team might be interested in learning more about intuitive eating, share the tips below to help them feel their best while working remotely:
1. Ditch the diet mentality
Studies have shown that traditional dieting follows a predictable trajectory of rapid initial weight loss, plateau, and progressive regain. For most people, diets are ineffective at best; however, they can also lead to feelings of failure, low self-esteem, and a chronic cycle of deprivation and binge eating that has a negative impact on overall health.
Intuitive eating is not a diet - there are no “good” or “bad” foods, calorie counting, or strict portion control. Rather, it is about understanding the relationship between what you eat and how you feel both physically and mentally. So forget the idea of dieting and focus on eating foods that you enjoy and give you the energy you need to power through your day.
2. Listen to your body
If you skip breakfast, binge at lunch, and then collapse on the couch for a post-meal siesta, you may not be paying attention to your body’s hunger and satiety cues. One of the central tenets of intuitive eating is to honor your hunger - basically, learn to recognize when you are hungry, eat before it’s a dire situation, and stop before you’re Thanksgiving full. The theory behind this is that once you are excessively hungry, it’s almost impossible to eat mindfully.
It can be helpful to think about hunger and fullness on a scale of 1-10 (one being completely famished, ten being so full you feel ill). In an ideal world, you would eat when your hunger was around a three, take the time to check in with yourself throughout the meal to assess your fullness level, and stop when you reach about a seven. Non-stop meetings can certainly make this mindful approach more difficult while working from home (or even in an office), which leads to the next tip...
3. Have a plan
It bears repeating: it’s hard to eat mindfully when you’re hangry. If you start to feel your stomach growling and have a meeting coming up in 15 minutes, don’t just try to power through it.
There are many ways to make sure you have the food you want on hand when you need it. If meal-prepping is your style, spend a few hours on Sunday filling your fridge (or freezer) with your go-to lunches. Stock up on ready to eat salads, frozen favorites, and pantry staples you love next time you’re at the store so that you can make the meal you want in a pinch. Prefer to make a game-time decision? Order from DoorDash before starting your meeting so that it’s on your doorstep when you’re ready.
4. Step away from your computer
For many, working from home means you’re almost always working. It’s hard to step away when there’s no “leaving the office” to signal a break or an end to the workday. But to make intuitive eating work for you, it’s critical to step away and focus on your food. Close your laptop, change up your space (even if it’s just switching seats at the kitchen table!), and enjoy the meal in front of you. Setting aside time to eat prevents you from mindlessly inhaling your food and allows you to focus on your body’s fullness cues.
5. Move mindfully
Like taking the time to eat your meal, carving out time from your day to move is an important component of intuitive eating because it allows you to better assess how you feel and determine what your body needs. It is all too easy, whether working from home or in an office, to spend all day at your desk. Take a few minutes out of your day to take a walk outside or do some simple stretching. You may just find that what you thought was hunger is actually thirst, restlessness, or fatigue.
Want to help your employees eat mindfully and feel their best? DoorDash for Work products can fit seamlessly into an intuitive eating approach. Our thousands of partner restaurants and team of in-house dietitians will ensure that your team has access to a variety of delicious and nutritious options, whatever they’re craving. Contact us today to see how we can help.