Do you always keep healthy office snacks in your desk drawer?
Are the candies in the vending machine and the colleagues’ birthday cakes too tempting, instead?
With a few small changes in your daily routine, you can improve your diet.
Hands up who has been here: It’s 11 am, and because you didn’t have much for breakfast, you’re already hungry but lunch break is at least an hour away. You go to the vending machine and the options are mainly chocolate, crisps, white toast bread sandwiches, string cheese which means lots of calories and a sluggish feeling afterwards.
Or even worse, you’re in a meeting and those chocolate chip cookies are right there in front of you, and it’s so hard to ignore them. Around 3-4 pm, again, you feel kind of hungry and need a break time, because you had a salad for lunch to compensate that chocolate bar at 11. Your concentration is not at its best anymore and you need something to make it through the last hours of the working day before you go home, hit the gym or meet your friends for an after-work drink or meal.
Think Before You Snack
Diet can affect your work performance, mood and of course health and wellbeing. Many people tend to choose high-fat and high-sugar desk snacks that make them feel sleepy and lower down their energy levels. There are different reasons for bad eating decisions.
London based Registered Nutritional Therapist Alex Gear advises to “before you reach for a snack, ask yourself: am I…
- really hungry? It is common to confuse hunger with thirst. So, have a glass of water first and then see if you are still hungry.
- bored? Many people eat out of boredom.
- stressed? People turn to food for comfort.
Only eat when you are hungry. Snacking can be a time when people overeat on sugary, carbs heavy, energy-dense foods such as biscuits and crisps. Therefore, what you choose to snack on is what is important. Also, don’t allow yourself to become ravenously hungry. This can lead to poor food choices later on.”
Small changes can make a big difference
Eating healthy office snacks just takes a few small changes in your daily habits you can definitely improve the quality of your food intake and reduce some calories.
Talk to your employer. A lot of offices invest in snacks for their staff. If that’s the case, ask your employer if they would stock the vending machine with some healthy munchies instead of candies; or keep a bowl of fruit in the office kitchen. That would be a great 11 o’clock snack when you’re craving something sweet. Why not replace the biscuits in the meeting rooms with some dried fruits? Eating an apple or a banana while giving a presentation may be not that appropriate but some dried apricots, dates or raisins are healthy office snacks since they are small and easier to eat and share.
If the office kitchen is not big enough to prepare a meal there, keep a greek yoghurt in the fridge. Add some low-sugar (or no sugar) granola or fruit and you will get a great snack. Keep a bag of nuts in your desk drawer. We recommend activated nuts because their nutrients are better absorbed by the body and they are easier to digest than raw ones. Just a handful (ca. 30g) of nuts a day is recommended for a healthy nutrition. These snacks are high in fibre, contain healthy fats and will keep you feeling full and energised until dinner, with a reasonable intake of around 150-200 calories.
Fizzy drinks a lot of vending machines offer, are a high-sugar trap. Grab a smoothie on the way back from your lunch break, in best case one that contains more vegetables.
Hidden Sugar Traps
Alex recommends “when buying so-called energy/protein bars, read the label and the list of ingredients carefully. They are heavily marketed to make them not only look good but taste delicious. Unfortunately, though, they are often very high in sugar, contain very little protein and are devoid of nutrients. The high sugar content will cause large spikes in blood sugar. Also, don’t get tricked into thinking that all cereal and fruit bars are a healthy snack. They might sound healthy and are marketed as such but they are not. They are often high in added sugar and vegetable oil.”
To make it easier, don’t think of healthy eating as a restriction but as an opportunity. It’s not about what you shouldn’t eat but about what goodness you can add to your diet. Is there any chance you can increase your protein and fibre intake? Whatever you snack on, it should be tasty and enjoyable for you.