When Office Snacks Attack. . .
By: Tara DelloIacono Thies
Between birthday celebrations, vending machines stocked with sodas and chips, and the guy who insists on leaving donuts in the break room every Friday (c’mon, dude!), the office can be tough on our waistlines. Resisting chocolate cake is hard enough. Even more so when it’s three o’clock in the afternoon and you need one more burst of energy to get through your expense reports—and it’s right there, tempting you with its buttery, double-fudge icing every time you walk by on your way to the copy machine.
Rather than circulate a “no birthday cake” policy and become known as the no-fun coworker, guard yourself against the office snack trap with these smart, easy, and delicious defenses.
- Eat Breakfast. Those donuts will look especially good when you have an empty stomach, so step one is to start the day right with a healthy, filling breakfast. Together, fiber-rich carbs and protein have staying power. Before you head out the door, try steel-cut oats with nonfat milk, high-fiber cereal and berries, or quinoa and scrambled eggs, and you’ll be less tempted to nibble on whatever’s offered at the conference table. No time to eat at home? Whiz up a to-go smoothie with frozen fruit, greens, Greek yogurt, wheat germ, and nonfat milk or 100% orange juice.
- Snack Smart. Your best defense is a good offense. Engaging in positive snacking helps you avoid situations that lead to mindless, empty-calorie munching. What do we mean by that? Snacking in and of itself isn’t a bad thing—in fact, snacks are a good way to stay energized and get more nutrition into your day. Positive snacking simply means that you plan ahead with healthier fare that offers an alternative to the vending machine. Delicious and nutritious options include hummus with raw vegetables, nuts and dried fruits, a LUNA® bar, or apple slices and peanut butter.
- Don’t Skip Lunch! We all have those really busy days at work. But lunch is a great opportunity to reenergize your body and brain, so it’s important to take the time to slow down and enjoy your food. Whether you are eating out or in, be sure to include lean protein, fiber-filled carbs, and some healthy fats in your meal. Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be a chore. Try tomato, mozzarella, and basil with a splash of balsamic vinegar on a whole grain English muffin; peanut or almond butter and sliced bananas on whole wheat bread; or a salad made with fresh greens, fruits, and a splash of vinegar dressing topped with beans.
- Stay Hydrated. It’s easy to mistake hunger for thirst. If you just ate and find yourself wanting more, try drinking a glass of water or unsweetened iced tea instead. Not only is water great for you, but cool beverages are refreshing and reenergizing, providing a calorie-free pick-me-up. Bored with plain H20? Jazz it up with some citrus slices or cucumber and mint.
- Get Up and Move! Sitting for long periods of time is sometimes boring as heck, and will make your muscles stiff. Instead of addressing boredom with a sweet or salty treat, go for a walk, take advantage of your company’s gym, or better yet, go outside and get some fresh air. Even little activities make a difference—print your documents at the printer furthest from you or head over to speak to a coworker instead of emailing (imagine that!). Research shows that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, helping you to be more productive and focused.
Snacking smart at work is not hard, it just takes a little more thought and planning. If you arm yourself with healthier habits and good choices when hunger strikes, you won’t feel helpless when the chocolate cake is calling.
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