Why it's Time to Rethink the Quality of Your Work Snacks
Snacking is a part of our daily routine. Some people tend to graze while others are more structured in their snacking routine.
This is especially true at work whether it be from snacking on the run, during down time, or during a workplace party.
Since snacking is commonplace in the office to keep our energy up and as a part of interacting with our coworkers it is best to find a way to snack healthy. Most snack foods are made of refined carbohydrates and are loaded with sugar. These ingredients may cause inflammation and gut dysbiosis, both of which lead to health issues.*
Tips for Snacking Healthy
The best approach to snacking healthy in the office is to be proactive rather than reactive. This process looks different for everyone, but there are a few ways to make it easier to eat healthy while at work.
- Provide the Workplace Snacks – If your office is stocked with snack foods or certain people provide the weekly snacks, you can volunteer to bring a few. If it’s your turn to bring the office snacks, you can use the opportunity to stock up on nutrient-dense options.
- Snack-Prep – Along the same lines as meal prep, but snack focused. Choose a time each week where you purchase or prepare your nutrient-dense snacks. Bring your prepared snacks to work to keep on hand when temptations for when temptations occur.
- Change-up Unhealthy Favorites – If you’re provided a dish for an office party you can make simple changes to those calories-loaded favorites. A quick Pinterest or Google search will likely offer you plenty of fun ideas.
Results of Calorie-Dense Snacking
Some major ways nutrient-poor snacking adds up include some of the following:
- Mental Decline – This area of poor snacking is quite broad and can range from long-term cognitive conditions and short-term issues. The short-term issues can impact our work performance through symptoms like brain fog and poor concentration. This issue is primarily a result of the chronic inflammation that takes place in our bodies due to snacking on process convenience foods.
- Chronic Fatigue – From the sugar crashes to the chronic inflammation both conditions brought on by processed foods and refined carbohydrate consumption will leave you feeling fatigue.
- Decreased Immunity – An inflammatory diet can also lead to gastrointestinal issues from gut dysbiosis. The gut houses the immune system and may be the key to our overall wellness. As we snack on foods that feed the bad bacteria in the gut, like sugar, and decrease the good our immune system takes a hit. This can lead to increased sickness and more days either calling in sick or performing at less than 100-percent.
Here is a tip! Always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator during your work day.
Benefits of Healthy Snacking
The health benefits of balanced nutrition are well-known, but often what we snack on throughout the day goes overlooked. What we eat on as we graze during the workday quickly adds up to either good nutrition or poor. These foods we choose or mindlessly eat during these times can impact not just our health, but our work performance.
The benefits of snacking on nutrient-dense foods are essentially the opposite of calorie-dense snacking; improved cognition, increased energy, and better immunity. However, the short and long-term benefits of implementing healthy snacks into your routine may go far beyond just these three.
Refined carbohydrates from convenient snack foods can burn quickly and leave you hungry within a short period. This may lea to over-eating and indulging on unhealthy foods. More nutrient-dense and protein packed snacks can help prevent overeating by keeping you full and increase your likelihood of weight loss.*
Healthy Snack Ideas
Okay, so you get why to snack healthy and ways to make changes, but what you’re really needing is healthy snack ideas. Packing the same foods day after day and week after week can get old fast and leave you right where you started, poor snacking.
Some nutrient-dense snacks to keep you satisfied and avoid burnout include:
- Whole fruits and vegetables – The beauty of this snack idea is the variety available giving you tons of options. Blueberries, bananas, apples, carrots and strawberries are all easy-travel snack foods that are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
- Yogurt – This is a great way to get in some dairy, probiotics, and protein. With this snack you’ll want to keep an eye on sugar content. Anything over 10 grams, especially if it includes added sugar, isn’t ideal.
- Hummus – This snack can be added with your veggie option or whole grain crackers as a quick protein food that can help boost your mood and energy. You can make your own for fun or purchase from the wide variety of premade options.
- Nuts & Seeds – What healthy snacking day is complete without trail mix. The nuts and seeds in these mixes, either store-bought or homemade, are high in the essential fatty acids which can help provide your brain with good fats that may improve overall cognition as well.*
It’s totally doable to burn some calories in your seat if you are not lucky enough to sneak away for a lunch break. You just need a little creativity to make it worthwhile!
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,Whether you want to completely overhaul your snack habits at work or would like to just make a few changes, every step towards more nutrient-dense foods is helpful. Taking baby-steps early on may be more sustainable for you while others prefer going cold turkey with cutting out unhealthy snacks. Either way, you won’t regret making small changes like this to help improve your health.