5 tips to help you manage snacking at work
Today Munchies reported that snacking is on the wane in Britain - great news! People are starting to think about what they're eating and have realised cutting their snacks is one of the best ways to cut down on calories. That's handy, because not only is it World Health Day today, we've also been helping out one of our clients with their health and wellness week, and have been thinking loads about how to help our customers eat well.
The first thing to say about snacking is that it's not always bad. Lots of people feel that eating little and often is better for them than three big meals, and a quick bite of something can really help a lot of people on a long work day or trying to break through a difficult project. Meanwhile people on a fitness regime and trying to increase strength might need to eat steadily through the day to stop their body burning energy that could be used to build muscle.
So rather than advising people to cut out snacking all together, we thought we'd offer up a few tips for getting a handle on those cravings and managing your snack habit so it works better for you.
Think about sugar
Image source - Oregon State University
The first thing to focus on in managing snacking is cutting back sugar, not fat. So, for example, nuts are quite high in healthy fats and full of important nutrition that will keep you ticking over. Fizzy drinks, on the other hand, are pretty terrible.
White toast isn't great either, because bread is a carbohydrate and will also fill you up with sugar, which will make your energy slump again - you'd be better off with a couple of slices of cheese, which is nice and high in protein.
But sugar isn't always bad
For many people, a quick jolt of sugar can get them refocussed on a task and push them over that writer's block. If you want to get some sugar into your system, though, we recommend eating fruit. This isn't because fruit sugar is better for you - it really makes no difference. It's because fruit contains fibre, which will fill you up for longer.
Eat a sweet, though, and you'll feel exactly as hungry as you did before. Fruit juice is also too concentrated in sugar to be all that good for you. We recommend raspberries and mangoes, which are especially high in fibre.
Use a kitchen safe
Constantly trying to resist a snack craving while concentrating on work is a recipe for disaster. We all have only so much brain energy in a day. That's where the kitchen safe comes in. Put your snacks inside, set a timer, and then there's no way to get to them before the time runs out (unless you have a hammer handy).
That allows you to forget about the snacks until you've given yourself permission to eat them, and get on with other things. Then you only have to use your willpower for a few minutes to make sure you don't eat more than a few bites before you put the timer back on. Trust us, it's a huge weight off your mind.
Keep snacks out of eyeshot
This might require a bit of moral support from your work colleagues - having tempting treats out on desks is just asking for broken willpower. Make sure yours are hidden away in a drawer, and ask others (really really nicely) to put theirs away too.
We're also doing our bit by putting the healthy snacks at eye level on our sites and hiding the naughtier stuff way down around people's knees. Out of sight, out of mind.
Eat the really bad stuff for a reason
We're not crazy enough to tell you never to eat chocolate again. But give yourself a better reason than "because I really really want it right this minute and I can't wait any longer".
Find events that happen rarely enough that you won't be indulging your vices every single day - say, a weekly report that you always struggle to meet the deadline on. Reward yourself with your favourite snack when you get it in on time. Or if you only find yourself working late every couple of weeks, tell yourself you can have a full fat milky coffee on those evenings.