Hi all, figured I’d tap into the collective wisdom here since I know a lot of us in the US and probably the UK are likely having this experience right now.
My company has called all of us back into the office full time starting next month. I knew it was going to happen since despite being a tech company and having full WFH capabilities, they have said through the whole pandemic that we’ll be back ASAP. That’s a frustration for a different thread.
Is anyone else kind of worried about fueling/nutrition in the office? Despite what I’m reading online about a lot of people struggling with nutrition from home mine has improved a ton. I just stand up, quickly sautee some veggies with black beans (maybe throw some brown rice in the rice cooker an hour before if I’m extra hungry/have time) and boom, super healthy lunch (I’m a vegetarian, not vegan, so maybe some cheddar grated on there sometimes too ).
Though my office has a microwave, obviously this isn’t going to work there. I also have a young family and fit 12-16 hour training weeks in around job/family, so not a ton of extra time (I tend to do late-night workouts). I wasn’t really cycling as much before lockdown, but I still tried to eat healthy food. I’d do a bunch of black beans over a sweet potato, which I’m planning on continuting. Just going to be harder to eat the leafy greens/cruciferous veggies. There is an amazing vegan cafe with plenty of options right near my office, but unless I want to budget $15+ for lunch that’s not working
Just wondering what others might be planning as they navigate this!
edit: I am writing this while I eat lunch (US EST)
Bring your own food. That’s the simple recipe.
Longer version: we eat mostly home-cooked food. We prepare meals with leftovers planned in the quantities - it does not take longer to do 6 portions than 4. We do larger batches and freeze to cover those evenings where time is limited. I eat food from home probably 95% of the time in the office.
Yeah makes sense. I see weekend prep in my future.
You can get a microwave steamer for the veggies that might help? Microwaved sweet potato with black beans and steamed veg is a pretty good option then. I’m also pretty fond of having tinned fish on a potato, can get cheap tins of things like tuna, mackerel or sardines in tomato sauce that adds a good bit of flavour and some healthy fish oils. Though that stuff can be pretty stinky so probably only works if you can eat it well away from your working space and colleagues!
I used to have a lot of healthy snacking stuff in the office like carrots, cherry tomatoes, and healthy dips like hummus or maybe peanut butter in the office. Those little pots of instant porridge where you just add hot water are good for breakfasts as well.
Yeah thanks! Hadn’t thought of the microwave steamer, that’s a great idea. Pair that with a big bag of frozen veggies and that sounds good (we’re lucky to have a freezer). The tuna, well let’s just say we had a guy who always brought tuna and drained it in the sink and people said not so nice things. It’s a small space with no door to the kitchen area
I just ate an 8 layer veggie burrito from Del Taco, if that answers your question on how I am handling it
I hate going out to lunch, it kills my work-day flow and my commute already sucks enough so I happily have prepared my own lunch daily for years. You’ll get in a routine with it, I typically make mine right after breakfast and I’m good to go. I’m lucky to have a full kitchen at work so I take advantage of stove top and oven, I can saute veggies and bake my sweet potato fries easily. My go-to lately has been frozen brown rice mix and a nice sandwich of some persuasion. If I’m really dialed I’ll have a bunch of pre-cooked rice that I keep on hand, and that makes very quick meal ideas especially useful for lunch. I also try to keep baked and seasoned sweet potatoes on hand whenever possible, they’re easily my favorite pre-ride fuel.
Take the money you’ll save on going out to lunch and buy a set of wheels.
meal-planning and meal-prep are the main ways. Even if you have the ability to “cook” it at the office, you still need to do both of those things. I would roast some veggies, roast some sweet potatoes, cook some rice or other grain, maybe cook a couple chicken breasts, and then portion those into “bowls” maybe with some kind of dressing for flavor. Pop that in the microwave at the office and there you go.
Echoing what has been said above: bring your own food. I have sort of a three-tier strategy, depending on how much I have my life together that week. I hate relying on microwaves, so I usually do cold options.
- Weekend prep (the ideal): A big kale salad with legumes, vegetables, potatoes, etc. to bring throughout the week. Make iced coffee and yogurt parfaits for breakfast.
- Leftovers: Make extra dinner and throw it over greens for the next day.
- Last minute: Random stuff from the pantry/fridge that requires 5 minutes of prep, such as:
- Carrots + hummus + fruit + crackers
- Pre-washed spinach with canned chickpeas, nuts, dried fruit, other vegetables
- PB+J and carrots
In the pre-COVID times, I would keep a stash of healthy, non-perishable snacks in my desk drawer.
Meal-planning and meal-prep. I bring my own food. Usually just leftovers from dinner. I typically make one dinner a week of cubed sweet potato, quinoa, black bean, and arugula bowls. I make enough to have each day of the week for lunch.
Electric wok - cook in the kitchenette? In Episode 6 (13 April 2021) of the Coach Cast podcast (by TrainingPeaks) “Race Week Nutrition Strategy with Dina Griffin” the host mentions travelling around with an electric wok during his racing years to cook all of his own food wherever he was. Not sure how you’ll account for the time on your time card though …
Haha probably going to skip that one, I already hand grind coffee for pour overs sometimes. That might be enough