The environment we work in can have a large impact on our food choices and overall relationship with food. If you have your routine down pat at home but feel your working day puts you off track, here are 5 quick tips to stop mindless grazing at work!
- Start the day right
If regulating appetite at work is a goal, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Research has shown those who start the day with a protein rich breakfast are less likely to snack and graze during the day. Aim for approx. 20-30g protein at breakfast time, which may include a mix of, eggs, cottage cheese, salmon, scrambled tofu, yoghurt, milk, chia seeds, nut/seeds and/or plant-based protein powder.
When I ask clients how many glasses of water they drink during the day, a common response is 1 or 2! This is most definitely not enough, especially if sitting in air-conditioning and sipping coffee all day. Dehydration can cause a sensation of hunger and also low energy. We often mistake both of these signs as a need for food, when in fact its water we require. If you struggle to drink enough water during the working day, purchase a water bottle, sit it on your desk and aim to drink an entire bottle twice over. If necessary, set an alarm every 30mins as a reminder to drink.
- Pack a balanced lunch
If breakfast is well balanced, this will prevent the need to graze up until lunch. The same rings true for packing a balanced lunch. A satisfying lunch will keep energy levels stable throughout the afternoon. Aim to include a source of each of the following at lunchtime:
- Protein: lean meat, eggs, cheese, nuts/seeds, tofu, fish or legumes
- Fat: avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds or tahini paste
- Complex carbs: rice, quinoa, buckwheat pasta, ancient grains, sweet potato or wholegrain wrap/bread/crackers or low-GI fruit
- Low-starch vegetables: zucchini, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, cabbage etc
Some examples include:
- Leftover roasted chicken tossed with buckwheat pasta, roasted vegetables and an extra virgin olive oil based pesto
- Vegetable rich salad tossed with chickpeas, avocado and sweet potato
- Vegetable, rice and ricotta frittata with salad
- Left-over stir-fried vegetables with salmon and ancient grains
- Protein rich work snacks
If you feel like a snack between meals, have some protein rich snacks handy. A protein rich snack will help satisfy appetite and regulate blood sugar levels. Some quick options include:
- Raw nuts/seeds
- Small chia porridge
- Small can of chickpeas
- Natural yoghurt with fruit
- Hummus with seed crackers
- Can of wild salmon
- Go for a walk
When energy levels drop and lack of concentration kicks in, instead of reaching for food, try going for a brisk walk outdoors. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost energy levels and reduce stress. In fact, a walk as short as 10-15mins can offer many benefits and help reset your focus for the rest of the day.