Almost half of UK employees keep their work place snack habits a secret from their partners and a fifth lie about their snack and meal choices at work, according to new research by Ironmongery Direct.
If you’re in need of some healthy tweaks to your workplace diet, so you don’t feel the need to shy away from what you’ve consumed our experts are on hand.
1. Enjoy what you’re eating
“Take time to enjoy your lunch. Eating when you’re on the go, and especially if you’re stressed can result in you mindlessly eating. When you eat slowly you are less likely to overeat. Once you start eating it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. So if you eat slowly you will end up eating less food because your brain will tell you that you have had enough. If you eat quickly, you can consume a lot more food than you actually need before your brain realises,” explains Nutritionist & Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.
2. Be mindful when it comes to sugar
“People who are pre-diabetic, diabetic, overweight and obese in particular need to be mindful of their sugar intake. The regular gym user or Sunday jogger do not automatically need more sugars in their diet.Go for snacks that satisfy your sweet tooth but with some fibres, so that you can slow down its absorption and it doesn’t get stored as fat. A full-fat yogurt with fresh berries or unsalted nuts, a few dried apricots or figs and popcorn can satisfy your sugar cravings,” suggests Francesca Cappozzo, Nutritionist at the new holistic wellness boutique, Maître of Thyme.
3. Don’t ‘save yourself’ before a meal out
“Don’t miss meals leading up to eating out, for example don’t miss lunch thinking that it is going to be helpful in avoiding extra calories because you are eating out that evening. If you miss meals, your body will think there is a shortage of food, slow down your metabolism and hold on tight to your fat stores. And there is nothing more guaranteed to rev up your appetite so that you end up eating more at the meal,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
4. Don’t ignore Type-2 Diabetes
If indulging in the work biscuit tin is the only thing that you feel will get you through the mountain of emails you need to read you may want to re-think, especially for those with Type-2 Diabetes. Everyone needs a snack now and then, but if you have Type-2 Diabetes in particular opt for something that is low in fat and sugar and won’t have a negative impact on your blood glucose levels. Cassandra suggests, “During the day focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods: plenty of vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils and natural dairy foods as this will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced and your energy levels stable through out the day.”
5. Opt out of emotional eating
If you’re feeling a bit low, are you more inclined to add extra cheese and have a few extra biscuits? “When you do get a craving, stop and think, are you really hungry or want to eat because you are feeling certain emotions? Recognising the difference is half the battle and if you are eating because you are lonely or angry then think of other ways to change that feeling rather than food, maybe a walk in the park or phoning a friend,” says Marilyn.
6. Help avoid calorific foods by staying hydrated
“Not only can drinking plenty of water make you feel more energised and alert, but staying hydrated throughout the day can also help deter you from mindless snacking. Often we can feel hungry, when actually it may be that we are dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water in between meals may help reduce snacking, as it has a mild effect on quietening down our hunger hormone Ghrelin,” suggests Cassandra.
7. Have a healthy start to the day
“Always remember that just as important as having breakfast itself, it’s also vital to choose healthy breakfast options such as wholegrain cereals like porridge, organic ‘live’ natural dairy products like yogurt, organic eggs and fruit. Sugar-laden cereals will cause your blood sugar to rise sharply and drop quite quickly, making you feel more hungry quickly – you need something that will sustain you and keep you feeling fuller longer,” adds Marilyn.