Sleepy, Bloated, and Confused: The Do’s and Don’ts of Office Snacking

While all of us at ChooseWhat take pride in being healthy (we’ve taken part in 5K races together and our fridge is always stocked with low-fat yogurts and fruit), we’re not saints. It is always hard to remain stringent in your diet, and it’s only harder if your office is jam-packed with chips and candy. ChooseWhat’s Project Management Associate Nick Middleton advocates promoting your employees’ health by providing them with healthy snacks. But, how do you overcome the slippery (and salty) slope of office snacking? Read below.

Why Provide Healthy Snacks?

While it’s not necessarily the boss’s job to provide their workers snacks, it’s fairly painless to promote a healthy lifestyle. And if you’re already providing snacks, it’s incredibly easy to switch to purchasing healthy snacks in order to keep your workers happy, healthy, and productive.

“Healthy eating promotes a high metabolism, and a high metabolism produces higher energy levels, leading to higher productivity,” Middleton explains.

According to a study earlier this year by The British Journal of Psychiatry, eating junk food can lead to depression.  Conversely, if your employees are committed to eating healthier in the office, they will probably transfer this diet to their personal lives.  And if employees are choosing a healthy lifestyle, they will probably be less likely to get sick. Also, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, your company could possibly receive grants from the government for having wellness programs.

Additionally, while some people might balk at the expenses incurred by more nutritious foods, buying more expensive, healthy foods, instead of lower cost, unhealthy foods, might save you trips to the doctor later.

Note How You’re Snacking and Why

The average American eats four snacks a day. Although eating smaller portions more frequently is generally healthier for you, too much grazing can really add up the calories. Do you know how much you’re consuming? You may not even realize how many potato chips you eat throughout the day.  A great way to keep track is through websites such as Calorie Count or with an iPhone app.

Another thing to consider is that you may just be snacking out of habit, not because you’re actually hungry.

“You might not even realize you’re snacking that much,” Middleton says. “Sometimes you’re just bored, and you’ll end up snacking. A walk around the block is better than a walk to the kitchen.”

If you think you might be snacking merely to break up the day, try drinking more water or taking a 5-10 minute walk around the block like Middleton suggests. And if you are going to snack, check out healthier options below.

Substitute for Healthy Foods

It may be incredibly easy to grab sodas and chips, but it can also take very little thought to simply substitute for healthier options.

  • If you’re craving soda: try iced tea instead. “Sodas are terrible for you!” Middleton says. Plus teas have antioxidants in them and will give you the same boost in caffeine and sweetness you crave.
  • If you’re craving coffee: cut back on the sugar and cream! Middleton still suggests you cut back on high-caffeinated drinks in general, as they can ruin your sleep pattern. But, if you really do need your coffee pick-me-up, try cutting out all the sugar. And a cuppa Joe with some low-fat milk at the office is way better for you than any frappe-mocha-latte-chino would be.
  • If you’re craving sweets: try yogurt, preferably Greek, with a bit of honey. Middleton also suggests picking sweeter fruits, such as cantaloupe or watermelon, which are also incredibly cheap.
  • If you’re craving chips: substitute for apples and peanut butter. Not only will you get the saltiness you crave, you will also get a little protein boost.
  • If you’re craving a sports drink: swap for a coconut water instead. These contain more electrolytes than a Gatorade, have less sugar, and are hydrating.
  • If you’re craving a little bit fat: go ahead and have a little bit of Ranch dressing or cheese, but at least have that dressing with some carrot sticks or celery.

Middleton acknowledges that it’s impossible to eat healthily all the time. The ChooseWhat team is obsessed with a certain taco stand, and we eat there at least twice a month. But we all take the six block trek there to do so—and in the Texas heat, it’s no small task! So, if you are going to cheat, at least walk or bike there.

Happy snacking!

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