By: Mandy Mitchell
It’s January, so that means a lot of people are trying to develop healthier habits. While I am not a fan of the New Year’s resolution, I did think it was an appropriate time to address the issue of healthy eating while working in this business.
This is really geared at those just getting in. We’ve all heard of the “freshman 15” in college. I was on the verge of the “first job 15” during my first few months in Myrtle Beach. We are always on the run and that makes it super easy to fall into bad habits.
I also can’t remember a day in any newsroom I have worked in when a doughnut wasn’t available. Usually that doughnut is right there in an open box near the assignment desk.
You’ve had a long day. You dealt with an angry viewer e-mail. You skipped lunch. You really DESERVE the doughnut.
And while nothing is wrong with one doughnut, the problem is when this becomes a habit. It is a doughnut on Monday, the “one” cookie on Tuesday, the free ice cream on Wednesday. You work in a newsroom…you know!
I have worked pretty hard over the years to avoid this trap, so I wanted to share a few tips with you.
1- Keep a stash of healthy snacks at your desk. Some of my co-workers have laughed at me for this. I am always snacking on pretzels or almonds or an apple with peanut butter. Why? Because there is a doughnut somewhere and I don’t want to be hungry when I see it. So prepare for that. Bring snacks. Keep a bag of pretzels around. Treat the newsroom as a grocery store and don’t go in there hungry!
2- Bring your lunch/dinner. You will see this on all healthy eating lists. It is WAY easier for reporters/photogs to swing by a drive-thru. It is MUCH more convenient for producers/anchors to order out and let someone go pick up the meal. This is fine every now and then, but it is extremely hard to stick to any kind of good habit when you are eating out every night.
If you are in the field, invest in a nice lunch box/cooler and pack it with fruit, veggies, a sandwich (PB&J is a solid choice!), pretzels, baked chips, crackers. I actually got a fun Bento box lunch box (yes I am a huge dork) that encourages variety. It works really well on busy days.
Anchors/producers can get more creative. You may even want to cook for yourself! (a foreign concept for many) Even making your own pizza is better for you than ordering Papa John’s with the nightside crew. Make an effort to brown bag it a couple of times a week. It saves money too!
3- Bring a water bottle. Soda drinking is also an easy habit to fall into when you work in this business. It’s a good idea to cut back on that and try to fill the bottle up a few times a day instead. Coffee and tea are good substitutes for the caffeine!
We’ve all seen the news car with 5 days worth of fast food bags in the backseat. Let’s not be that person!