Constant snacking at work can be a struggle. And it’s easy to make unhealthy choices, if you’re not prepared. But why is it that we snack so much whilst working?
There are multiple reasons for this. Even though we may not be physically moving around a lot our brains are usually working overtime. Talking on the phone, writing reports, creating content, the list goes on. And our body and mind require fuel to work effectively.
During a standard workday, it is sometimes not possible to take a long extended break during the day. Science has shown that the best solution in these instances is to take what are called micro-breaks - which are a series of tiny breaks scattered throughout the day with the purpose to ease your body and mind from stress, anxiety and tiredness.
And sometimes we snack because we are bored. We may be completing a repetitive, or ‘mindless’ task in which our brain is not fully stimulated. And then, we snack. So what then, stops us from snacking well?
Sometimes preparing healthy snack-able meals seems like it will take too much prep time. So we’ll just eat whatever sugary snacks our colleagues will inevitably bring in that day. Or that piece of birthday cake for your colleague - because, you don’t want to be rude… right?
To snack well we need it to be convenient. And ideally grab and go. Many of us live busy lives and taking the time to stop and prepare a healthy snack is not always on the cards. And if we’re at the office or on the go, we don’t always have a fridge. So we need ready to eat options.
And finally, if you’re working from home, the sheer proximity of the fridge and pantry can be a blessing, or it can be a disaster. If we fill our kitchens with unhealthy, easy to grab options we will eat them. It’s a fact!
Here are the 5 best healthy snacks, to take control of those hunger pangs at work.
Something with good fats
Eating good fats daily is shown to improve your overall health - source.
But when you’re at work, it’s not always convenient to stop work and cut up fresh foods like an avocado, etc. What’s easy to have at your desk though, are some ready to eat organic raw nuts. Yep, a handful of raw nuts is a great way to get some good fats into your day - without the snacking guilt. You can keep them for weeks, just make sure you keep them in an airtight container once opened. And if you can get activated nuts, even better nutrition-wise!
If you want an easy grab and go option for the desk drawer or handbag, stock up on nutbars.There are so many options here and they’re delicious! These are also especially good if you’re following a stricter diet like Paleo.
And in the instances where you do have a bit more time and want a quick walk, head to the kitchen and grab a healthy nut spread, and lather it onto your favorite crackers.
Do you find yourself snacking but never feeling satiated? Your problem could be a lack of protein. If you choose a protein-packed snack in those moments your snack-time session will leave you feeling more full, and your body will be re-fueled with the healthy proteins it needs. Rather than a bunch of heavy starchy carbs that may make you feel sluggish. Or a simple piece of fruit that while a great snack, can sometimes leave you still hungry 20 minutes later. A protein-punch will help curb these snack issues.
For ease, we again love the ready to grab options. They store well and travel well in a drawer or in your bag. Protein bars in particular are great to curb that sluggish feeling. And there are so many flavor options to keep things interesting… macadamia coconut protein bars, hazelnut chocolate protein keto bars. There’s even dupes of popular candy bar snacks like Cherry Ripe - where you can get the same sugary taste but healthier - try a berry ripe protein bar instead!
Something salty & crunchy
We all have snacking moods. Sometimes we want savory and other times we want sweet. The best way to master snacking is to ensure you have a stash in your cupboard or drawer, filled with a variety of healthy options.
When you’re craving a salty, crunchy thing - ditch the deep-fried potato chips. Go for something more wholesome like roasted seaweed snacks (for all you sushi lovers). Or a vege-packed capsicum cracker. Or the classic rice or corn cake, plain or with your topping of choice.
If you have a sweet tooth, you are more likely to crave a sweet snack over a savory one. But reaching for that block of chocolate, piece of cake or glazed donut is not the answer. The good news though, is that you can fulfill your sweet needs, in a healthy way. And it’s easy to keep those in your desk drawer too. That way you can grab it quickly between meetings or toss it in your bag to snack on when you head out for an afternoon walk or jump in the car. Avoiding the quick stop into the convenience store…
And we’re not talking boring sweet snacks. Snacking should never be boring or bland. We love some sweet plantain chips on those salty craving days. Or a twist on the rice cake, with a bit of chocolate added. Or if you like something sweet and spicy, some healthy sweet chilli puffs are a delicious option to treat yourself, and boost that energy.
Something to hydrate
In some cases, you can indeed mistake hunger for thirst. They can feel the same, but if you do want to stop over-snacking during the day it may be worth investing in a stock of healthy hydration opens you can reach for at 3 pm instead. Fresh, filtered still water is an ideal way to refresh the body. But if you want to spice it up a bit (because let’s face it, plain water can be a bit dull sometimes) why not try some alternatives.
For added sweetness and quick hydration, we love coconut water. For a bit of carbonation minus the nasties, you could reach for a glass of sparkling water. And if you want to really invest in your health when you hydrate, consider replacing your filtered tap water with bottled alkaline water.
Basically, snacking is not all bad. If you stock up your work drawer with healthy, read to eat snacks that are good for you - you'll curb those unhealthy 3 pm slump cravings once and for all... minus the guilt.