SMART SNACKING CHOICES FOR BETTER PRODUCTIVITY
Earlier this year we looked at ways to improve your energy and mental output through physical activity during the workday, and nothing is more synonymous with a fitness routine than making healthy food choices. This can be especially challenging for people who work in professional office settings thanks to the long hours of being seated, not always having access to quick, healthy options during lunchtime, and the abundance of freebie snacks always creeping their way into the break room. (Stay away, doughnut tray!)
One way to make better choices is to ensure that you always have fast, easy access to a healthy option. Stock a small bin at your desk with nonperishable snacks like assorted nuts, all natural jerky, and trail mix so that any “mindless eating” was actually pre-planned after all. Instead of stashing a bowl of candy or sugary treats nearby, keep emergency craving options on hand, such as dark chocolate, dried or fresh fruit, and protein bars. Having more than a few choices will ensure that you won’t be tempted with the package of cookies that’s been singing from inside the pricey snack machine.
If you have access to a refrigerator throughout the day, options like yogurt, string cheese, and raw veggies will provide the boost you need without crushing energy levels. Heavy foods or highly processed snacks might offer immediate satisfaction and a sudden jolt (hello, sugar rush) but they won’t do much to aid in avoiding that afternoon crash… and definitely won’t do any favors to your waistline. Along with your healthy snacks, pre-pack a high protein lunch that will keep your belly fuller and your demeanor happier much longer than empty calories like fast food will.
Coffee is a staple in just about any office setting (we know that better than anyone!) and a few cups throughout the day aren’t a huge deal. But if you are someone who tosses in several packets of sugar or double-digit pumps of syrup, slowly replace them with a natural milk creamer and a sugar substitute. Even a soda pop here and there isn’t going to sabotage your healthy eating efforts, but come prepared with your own carbonated water (comes in a variety of flavors these days and has zero calories and zero sugar) or a probiotic beverage such as kombucha. Then there is always good old-fashioned water that can easily be spruced up with a few squeezes of your favorite fresh fruit.
No matter your level of self-control, it’s not easy for anyone to “just say no” to the cupcakes your co-worker left in the break room or a quick solution from the snack machine. But if you plan ahead and are prepared for when hunger strikes, you’ll be cutting out sneaky calories and consuming better brain-boosting foods in no time.