The clock ticks to 3 pm on a Monday, and your office’s vending machine calls out for you to sabotage your healthy habits with an oh-so-tempting Reese’s candy or a Doritos bag of chips – and what do you do? Even if you have no problem turning down fatty foods throughout the day, many people, while at work may have trouble winning the healthy food fight when surrounded by unhealthy options all week.
BRAKE FOR BREAKFAST – Even though mornings may leave you sprinting for the door, taking time to eat breakfast has been shown to decrease unhealthy snacking and overeating later in the day. If you try to get as much sleep as you can, therefore creating the habit of “I don’t have time to eat breakfast”, why not keep some healthy items in the office? Foods like oatmeal and walnuts, natural peanut butter on whole wheat toast, or low fat cottage cheese and fruit are easy to prepare and store. If you go to work hungry you may be surrounded by unhealthy options, which increases the chance you will eat those unhealthy options. On another note, if you are one to say “I’m never hungry in the mornings” – the only reason for this would be if you overate the evening before. It is in your own best interest to trust the research about the benefits of breaking your nighttime fast and beginning your day with ‘food fuel’ for your brain!
PLAN AHEAD – Preparation is the key to healthy workplace munching and integral to helping you make successful food choices for both mealtime and snack-time. You know you are going to be hungry, so plan for it. Instead of running to the fast-food outlet across the street or relying on the junk foods brought in by coworkers, make a plan to have healthy foods available for your meals and snacks. It is too easy to get into trouble when we wait to look for something to eat when we are already hungry.
If you think you are too busy to pack snacks daily, pack once, eat for five days. In other words, pack up a bag of snacks for the week to take to work with you on Monday. Most offices have a refrigerator and a toaster oven or microwave, so use them.
HEALTHY DESK DRAWER SNACK IDEAS
Whole wheat fig bars
Individual servings of fruit
Raw almonds, walnuts, peanuts – ¼ cup
Dried fruit and nuts – limit to ¼ cup each
Instant soup cups – low salt variety
Plain granola bars (no mix-ins/candy)
Fresh, crisp vegetables in a baggie
Natural peanut butter on WW crackers
Whole wheat crackers and hummus
Nonfat yogurt with ground flaxseed
High-protein, high-fiber snack bars
Apple and low-fat string cheese
Oatmeal in a baggie (not instant)
Hard boiled egg and fresh fruit
Whole grain pretzels
Healthy, homemade muffins
Baked potato and tortilla chips
Single-serving pouches of tuna
Snacking should be purposeful. Snack to avoid overeating at meals and to keep your metabolism working along with you during the day. Appropriate and strategic snacking can help bridge the hunger gap between meals and keep you better focused, more productive and help with health and weight goals.
Brooke Douglas is a registered dietitian who contributes an article to this health blog on the first of every month. Have you had a ‘Nutrition Checkup’? You know who your doctor is. But who is your Registered Dietitian (RD)? If you would like to meet with a registered dietitian and schedule your ‘nutrition check-up’, contact Brooke Douglas, RD by logging on to her website at www.NutritionAuthority.com or call Brooke at 253.227.8284.
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