Snacking tips for work
Have you got a lot on your plate at work, and really want to crack down? What can make you more productive today? There has been a lot of contradicting research over whether eating snacks in-between meals is good for your work, or has negative side-effects for your health.
Here we look at the different types of snacking and find out whether any of them will help you in your working day. So first of all, why do we snack?
Sometimes we snack because we have cravings – often due to negative emotions like stress or sadness.
In short, stress makes us crave fatty and sugary foods. This is because stress makes our bodies produce Cortisol (the ‘fight or flight’ hormone), which in turn leads us to think we’re going to need high-energy foods. However, we’re sitting in the office so we’re not going to burn the energy we create by eating these fatty/sugary foods, leading to weight gain.
Because we’re hungry
You might want to eat a snack simply because you’re hungry.
Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. What we eat is converted to glucose, which provides the energy for our brains to stay alert. Therefore, we have an attention lull if we’re running low on glucose. This is why snacking can be a good thing: to keep your attention in-between meals – which is especially important whilst trying to stay productive for the whole work day.
Research says most people need to eat at least once every 3 to 4 hours for the body to run optimally. And so if you’re feeling hungry and want to be productive, having a mid-morning snack and/or an afternoon snack, in-between meals, at work would probably help.
So, it’s clear snacking on high fat/sugar foods due to stress is bad, as we don’t need the food we’re eating. A good snack, on the other hand, is helpful through increasing our productivity and keeping us sustained.
So what snacks should we be eating at work?
So now you know that snacking can be useful and needed, what sort of snacks should you be having to satisfy those hunger grumbles/energy lulls?
Don’t go to the Vending Machine
Snacks from the traditional vending machine may be what you first reach for when your attention is lulling during the day – They’re cheapish snacks and probably closest to your desk. But, high-sugar snacks that you usually get from these machines just give you a quick jolt of energy, followed by a crash that’ll make you lose concentration and leave you hungry again.
Research says that spikes and drops in blood sugar like this are bad for your productivity and brain. You may feel like you’re being productive right after you’ve eaten the snack, but soon after this you’ll have a sugar low and begin to lose concentration again.
So, what is better for you – what can sustain your energy when you’re having a lull without crashing later on in the day?
Fruit is a great snack to have. Research says that eating fruit and vegetables increases creativity and engagement levels during the day.
And we all know that eating fruit is better for your health than an alternative snack. For example, Google’s New York office switched a glass jar of M&Ms with a jar of dried fruit, for employees to snack on. After the switch, Google’s 2000 employees there consumed 3.1 million fewer calories over a seven-week period.
- What would happen if you put an Office Pantry fruit box in your office?
If you do want something more than just a piece of fruit, that’s fine – not all snacks are bad for your productivity. Just make sure the snacks you do eat roughly follow this guide to make sure the snack will help you. Having high-fibre snacks makes sure your energy is sustained, and the protein makes sure you feel full. This then ensures you don’t go on eating more and more snacks.
If you don’t mind taking time out to make something, why not try out making some of these snacks for work? Or if you want to pick up a ready-made healthy snack without taking lots of time out to buy it from your closest shop, why not get an Office Pantry snack pack for your office? It could be one of the best things you could do to help your staff with their health and wellbeing and at the same time could increase your productivity. Downfalls? I can’t think of any.
My final tips
I hope I’ve at least convinced you to steer clear of unhealthy snacks if you’re losing attention at work. And if I can leave you with any final tips, it’s the following:
- If you’re stressed, you can snack, just make sure it’s not on overly fatty or sugary foods. It won’t help with your productivity, yet alone your health.
- The right snacks help your productivity! You just need to make sure the snacks you’re eating have fibre and protein so you don’t crash.
What time do you typically reach for that snack?