When you sit at your desk all day (the way I do), it’s easy to fall into bad eating habits. To aliveate stress and break up boredom, I often snack: chips, crackers, nuts, and candy get consumed pretty regularly (which is one reason why I work out!).
In this guest blog post, Marci Anderson, Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, gives tips for healthy snacking when you’re crunched for time. Take it away, Marci!
As a nutrition therapist I get to talk about one of my very favorite subjects A LOT — food. But for most of you, food is the last thing on your mind when you’re slammed and a deadline is fast approaching.
Let me assure you that feeding your body and your brain is an essential component for increasing productivity, enhancing your mood, and improving your health. And after counseling hundreds of people, I’ve discovered one nutrition principle that is either friend or foe — snacking.
Here are the four most common pitfalls busy professionals make when it comes to snacking, as well as four simple solutions to break the bad habit cycle.
Pitfall #1: Going too long without eating.
When work is busy its easy to push eating to the back burner. I recommend eating every 4-5 hours. This becomes much more manageable when your snack is pre-planned and convenient (see next tip).
Pitfall #2: Falling victim to the nearest vending machine or candy jar.
When ravenous hunger strikes and you don’t have a nutritious snack handy, anything (and everything) will do. Before going to sleep at night, pre-plan a snack or two to bring to work with you and keep it easily accessible.
Pitfall #3: Snacking on carbohydrates solo (i.e. candy, crackers, fruit).
No, carbs are not evil. But they are metabolized very quickly, supplying your body with instant energy. If you feel hungry 30 minutes after eating an apple, now you know why. A snack should reflect a mini-meal with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Carbohydrates supply quick energy and are good for the brain, protein supplies longer lasting energy keeping you fuller longer, and fats trigger hormones which elicit feelings of satiety and satisfaction.
Pitfall #4: Munching to procrastinate.
Yes, eating is a very effective way to avoid a project or assignment. But the consequences are often less than desirable. If you need a distraction try a few jumping jacks, push-ups, or lunges. Taking 60 seconds to increase your heart rate will clear your mind and reduce your levels of stress and anxiety.
Here are 4 super simple snacking solutions that are well-balanced, affordable, and tasty.
1. Cottage cheese with fruit. Do not buy fat-free. I go for Hood Cottage Cheese with pineapple.
2. Whole grain crackers with peanut butter or almond butter. I make mini-sandwiches (PB smeared between two crackers) ahead of time and keep them stored in a zip-loc.
3. Yogurt with slivered almonds. Again, I avoid fat-free yogurt. The 6 oz. Activia yogurt is tasty and just the right size.
4. Larabars. If you like convenience food, this is a MUST. These bars are made with dried fruit, nuts, and spices, minimally processed, and filled with healthy fats and fiber. You can find them at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, and even Amazon.
For more nutritious tips, check out Marci’s blog at http://www.marcird.com/_blog/blog. You can learn more about Marci by visiting her website — she’s based in Massachusetts and helps people find healthy balance through daily exercise and proper nutrition.