We’ve all been there. Someone makes cookies and brings them to the office to share. Or, it’s someone’s birthday and there’s cake on the conference table. Or, you remember that bag of snack mix you have in your desk drawer and 10 minutes later realize you mindlessly polished off the whole bag. Office snacking can wreak havoc on a diet or healthy lifestyle, but with a little planning, you can avoid harmful cubicle munching.
Eat a Good Breakfast
You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? First, eating a healthy, filling breakfast will help start your day off right. Not only will an egg white omelet, oatmeal and fresh fruit fill you up, but it will also kick start your metabolism. Eating a healthy breakfast will also set a positive tone for your day first thing in the morning. If you’ve gotten up early enough to take care of your body in the morning, chances are, you’ll be more likely to eat healthy for the rest of the day. Not only will it set you on a positive path until dinner, but eating regular meals, starting with breakfast, will keep you from feeling hungry and unnecessarily snacking throughout the day.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is good for you – that’s not a surprise. But drinking plenty of cool water throughout the day can help keep a healthy diet on track, burn calories, help you keep a glowing complexion and keep you from snacking. Because water keeps you full, it helps you abstain from snacking. Try bringing at least 64 ounces of water with you to work every day and pay attention to how often you drink. At first, it may seem difficult to drink that much, but after a while, your body will crave it. The water will keep you full, keep you hydrated and reduce your need for unnecessary, mindless snacking throughout your work day. You’ll feel satisfied, more alert and healthier – try it for a few weeks and see for yourself!
Eat a Good Lunch and Bring Healthy Snacks
We often leave the office looking for healthy lunch options and realize once we’re out that the most convenient choices involve a burger, a high-calorie drink and a drive-through. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take a lunch break – taking a break in the middle of the day from work will help you refocus, relax and recharge. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack a lunch and snacks for your day before you leave your house.
Try healthy lunches and snacks that pack a vegetable and protein punch. Grilled chicken salad with low-fat vinaigrette dressing, herbed cheese and tomato salads, tuna wraps with low-fat mayonnaise and lean meats are all great lunch ideas.
For snacks, raw veggies and hummus, healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans or fruits are healthy options. Vegetables, which are full of good vitamins and minerals, will help fill you up and keep you from feeling those hunger pangs throughout the day, while lean meats and nuts contain lots of protein, which your body needs to function properly.
This week, when you’re at home packing your lunch for the next day, take a little extra time to think about healthy snacks, protein-packed food and water intake. I think you’ll be surprised at how much your daytime snacking will drop. Happy eating!
Ronda Elsenbrook is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Nutritional Services at Kelsey-Seybold. She’s an essential part of her patients’ medical team providing medical nutrition therapy, counseling and education as needed.