Healthy eating strategies for heading back to the office


When we first started working from home, the luxury of more time back into our day from not sitting in traffic was amazing. It allowed us the option of heading to the kitchen on our lunch break to prepare something, or maybe get dinner started while finishing up a meeting. However, many of us quickly realized being home all day, every day, with unlimited access to the kitchen wasn’t working out as well as we may have initially envisioned.

You may or may not be excited about the thought of going back to the office, but either way it will require a shift in routines, again. Heading back to the office will require some planning and maybe some meal prepping as well to help ensure you continue to get healthy meals on a consistent basis. Use these tips to help smooth the transition back to the office.

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Meal Planning

Start thinking about dinner ideas before you head back to the office. Focus on quick and easy meals, or maybe ones you can prep ahead of time. Plan a list of dinners for about 2-3 weeks and then pick from the list each week. This way you won’t feel like you constantly have to find new recipes. Make sure to plan in leftovers as well so you don’t have to actually cook every night.

There are templates, apps and resources that can help you meal plan. Check out these blogs for more ideas and recipes to get you started!

Eating Healthy on Campus

If you are coming into SAS Headquarters in Cary, then you have some café options. Currently there are three cafes open on campus. While it’s a little hard to state specifically what to get at each café since the menus change all the time, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are trying to decide if an entrée is healthy or not.

First, re-think your plate and aim to:

  1. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, preferably a few different colorful ones.
  2. Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein.
  3. Fill the other quarter of your plate with nutrient dense carbohydrates like whole intact grains or sweet potatoes.

Then of course you want to avoid or limit fried foods, heavy sauces, excessive cheese, too much added sugar, and processed carbohydrates (white rice, white pasta, white bread, etc.).

Guide to Soups

When it comes to soups, the broth based (versus cream based) will likely be the healthier option. Choose one that is loaded with vegetables and not noodles. Have a side salad along with it and throw in a little extra protein if the soup doesn’t have much.

Guide to Sandwiches

Sandwiches are hard. Most of the time when we get a sandwich, the portions are just too big. Most bread slices are twice the size they used to be. This might be fine if you are really active, but if you are trying to lose weight or manage blood sugar, be careful with sandwiches. To build a better sandwich, choose 100% whole grain bread, make sure you have adequate protein and load it up with veggies. Then, instead of pairing it with chips, have a side salad.

Check out How To Build A Meal for more details.


And don’t forget about the on-site health care center at SAS world headquarters in Cary, NC. We are here to make it easy to tap into comprehensive health care services. The HCC is a full-service family practice offering a wide range of services to individuals from newborns through adulthood. The best part? It’s free to SAS employees and family members covered by the SAS Medical Plan! If you reside in the Cary, NC area and are covered by the SAS Medical Plan, consider making the HCC your primary care home.

Heading back to the gym? Check out these tips from the RFC to make your comeback a success!


Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Makes 4 servings
Recipe Adapted from My Recipes

My favorite quick dinner!


2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground red pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Pre-heat broiler and combine all the spices in a large bowl.
  2. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.
  3. Place chicken on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
  4. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  5. While chicken is broiling combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.
  6. Remove chicken from oven; brush ½ the honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.


To make this meal even quicker, have the spice mixture already put together, then sprinkle/rub the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken thighs on the sheet pan.

To have this full meal on the table in about 15 minutes: Use pre-washed greens or a salad kit (toss the dressing packet), drizzle with olive oil and your favorite vinegar and top with chicken. On this night, I happened to have some fresh corn from the farmers market, so I placed it in the microwave (with the shuck still on) for about 4 minutes. All this was done while the chicken was cooking.


About Author

Kelly Gehle, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Kelly is a Nutritionist at the HCC at SAS Institute Inc. in Cary NC. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Arizona State University and her Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. Her areas of expertise include functional nutrition, health and wellness education, prenatal nutrition, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition.

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