Stay Healthy at Work
The office can be one of the hardest places to maintain a healthy diet. There are frequent colleague birthdays, which undoubtedly means cake, cake and more cake. Or you may find yourself short of time and end up grabbing something quick from the canteen, which normally is a lifeless looking sandwich which doesn’t quite fill the gap leaving you to reach for a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate afterwards.
Well luckily, I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve which can help you make healthier and more informed choices when at work.
1. Drink more water This seems very simple and, it is. Drinking more water will stop you from aimlessly snacking. Sometimes dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. Next time you feel hungry, try drinking a large glass of water then see how you feel. My top tip is to buy yourself a water bottle, so you have a constant reminder in front of you that you need to drink. Some like to mark the times of day on their bottle. This will prompt you to drink a certain amount of water by a certain time. If we drink more water, then we will feel fuller and are less likely to mindlessly snack or binge. If you are not a fan of water, try adding fresh fruit in the form of lemon, mint or cucumber to add natural flavour. Tea is also another great option, especially fruit tea’s as these can put a halt to your sweet cravings.
Caffeine is also a hunger suppressant, so having a black coffee (try avoid lashings of milk, sweetness etc which add more calories) might just keep those hunger cravings away for a little while.
2. Work Together
All of us are each other's worse enemy when it comes to healthy eating in the office. A lot of the time we are dumping our birthday cake, holiday treats and biscuits onto each other because we don’t want to have to eat them ourselves. Try to support each other and work to create a healthier snack environment. How about having a healthy snack drawer or cupboard.? You can add healthier or lower calorie options such as rice cakes, fruit, mini popcorn packets, oat cakes and carrot sticks etc. to this draw.
Another tip, if you don’t buy it you won’t eat it.
3. The 3 o’clock slump We all get it. Lunchtime has been and gone and 5 o’clock seems SO far away. We are tired, hungry and longing for the day to end. I call this the 3 o’clock slump. If you get this slump, it could be down to what you are eating at lunchtime. The most common lunch for most office workers is a sandwich or baguette, they are cheap, quick to grab, easy to eat and always accessible. However, this isn’t a great option if you are wanting to avoid that slump. Try finding a lunch that is high in protein. Protein is the macronutrient which will keep us full for the longest amount of time. Common sources of protein are found in lean meats like chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, chickpeas, beans and lentils. You can then add some carbs in the form of potatoes, rice, pasta to boost your energy levels.
Bulk your lunch out with fibre rich vegetables, especially dark leafy greens which are high in vitamins and minerals. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to prep it yourself. There may even be some great options close by. If your canteen has a salad bar, this is a great place to start. Have a base of greens and veg, maybe some rice or new potatoes, then ask for a little extra when it comes to your protein source. M&S also do some great healthy options in their ready-made/lunch section, so take a look here.
4. Snack Healthy Instead of reaching for biscuits, cakes, crisps or chocolate bars. Try choosing a healthier snack, which will make you feel better, fuller and less ‘guilty.’
My best snacks are: Rice Cakes – low calorie, come in lots of different flavours, easy to snack on. Fruit – A great low-calorie options, which are full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Popcorn – you can now buy individual packs which are smaller than the traditional cinema bags and crucially contain less junk. They are low calorie and excellent at keeping that sugar craving at bay. Nuts – nuts are another great option too, as fat can help with suppressing our hunger. However, with these I suggest having a small palm sized serving, rather than the whole packet. The calories can add up very quickly without realising as nuts are extremely calorific. Banana Oat Cookies – this is my own recipe. You can whip these up, they are delicious, homemade and full of natural ingredients. Healthy cookies? Yes, please!
2 Bananas 140g Oats 1 Tsp Peanut Butter 40g Chocolate Chips or Raisins 1/4 Tsp Salt 1 Tsp Cinnamon
Mash the banana; add the rest of the ingredients and mix together to create a cookie ‘batter.’ Make into 6-8 cookies, and bake for around 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees, until brown and crisp. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Approx. 80 kcal per cookie. 5. Take a moment.
When you are starting to feel that hunger or urge to grab a biscuit, take a moment. Step back and work out whether it is just boredom, stress, thirst or tiredness.
- If it is boredom, stand up and take a walk around to reset your mind. - If you are stressed, take a few moments to breathe. Do a 4-second breath in and 4-second breath out a few times. This will help you to feel a sense of calm. If you notice you are thirsty, then make sure to drink a big glass of water. - And finally, if you are tired. Open a window for some fresh air, grab a tea or coffee then see how you feel in fifteen minutes time.
If after all of this you are still hungry, then you know you need something to eat instead of just aimlessly grabbing at the nearest something out of habit.