A plant-based diet is easy pea-sy when you have time to luxuriate in the kitchen, but when you throw in a busy working routine, it can sometimes feel difficult to balance this with the rest of your life. Maintaining a healthy vegan lifestyle is achievable but it helps to be organised…
- Always bring snacks
I find the most testing time of the working day is when the niggling mid-afternoon hunger pangs start to creep in. It’s 3pm and your body is telling you to want something to tide you over, a message that, if ignored, can make you feel sluggish and grumpy. Beat the post lunch-time slump by always making sure you have something in your desk drawer to reach for. Cereal bars, fruit (dried or fresh) or dark chocolate are great if you have a sweet tooth, or consider crisps, an avocado or oat cakes with marmite or nut butter if you prefer savoury. Either way, make sure you have something on hand to see you through the afternoon and your body (and workmates) will thank you for it.
- Let them eat cake
Brace yourself, if you work in an office-based environment there will be birthdays, holiday treats brought back from faraway lands, retirement dos, Halloween sweets, Christmas snacks…essentially any sniff of even the vaguest cause for celebration and there will be cake. This is where your aforementioned snacks can come in very useful for overcoming temptation. Feeling left out? As a pre-emptive strike, bring ‘accidentally vegan’ biscuits to delight your unsuspecting colleagues: Oreos, ginger nuts, bourbons, Jammie Dodgers. They never have to know!
- Make a meal plan
Planning out your meals in advance not only helps to ensure you’re getting a balanced plant-based diet and making the most out of your weekly shop, but it can also take the stress out of cooking after a long day at work. It also means you can make sure you never get caught short! Make larger portions at dinner time the night before and then package up leftovers for lunch. If you’ve got a commute, it’s definitely worth investing in some sturdy Tupperware! See Veganuary’s vegan meal plans.
- Don’t assume people will judge you
In my experience, a lot of work socialising and bonding revolves around food. It’s fair enough if you want to keep your veganism to yourself, but I’ve always found that if you work in any kind of close-knit team, the likelihood is that your dietary requirements will come up eventually. Sometimes it’s better to take address this and ‘come out’ to your colleagues. This doesn’t mean you have to bring your ethics into it. In this day and age with a growing awareness and acceptance of food allergies (think the gluten-free revolution), just simply explaining to people what you can and chose not to eat can make the world of difference. People often don’t realise a lot of foods they eat all the time are suitable for vegans, even the odd “hummus is ok” can go a long way!
Contributed by Liz Shakespeare