Nutrition Tips with Sarah Keogh - Smart Snacking at Work

Thursday, 22 March 2018

How many times do you snack during the day? What do you choose? Is your snacking a chance to really nourish your body with something wonderful or a desperate need to boost sugar and concentration mid-afternoon? In short, is your snacking helping or hindering your working day? We take a look at the when, what and why of snacking at work.

When?
When should I snack? The really simple answer to this one is: snack when you are hungry. If you are not hungry then why are you eating? Although we do need to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks are only needed if we actually get hungry in between meals. Try not to snack just because food is there or because everyone else is snacking. Get into the habit of asking “Am I hungry” and see how often you really need to snack.

What?
If you are going to snack, then use it as an opportunity to give some nutrition to your body. While the occasional bar of chocolate or couple of biscuits is not the end of the world, snacking can be a great way to add some extra vitamins, iron or fibre. Great snacks are nuts and seeds, preferably not the dry-roasted-and-salted-to-death variety. Almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are packed with minerals and fibre and make a great snack. Just remember: only a handful or this healthy snack can add some hefty weight. Snacking is a great time to add fruit or yoghurt and if you’re really desperate, then some dark chocolate can be a great choice. Not only is it lower sugar but dark chocolate is a good source of iron and may help to lower your blood pressure.

Why are you snacking?
If you find you are nibbling throughout the day, stop and ask “why?” If you are training a lot, then you may be genuinely hungry but if it is not hunger, then what’s going on? Most people eat good, nutritious foods at lunch but fill up on sugary snacks and empty calories in between. If this goes on all day, then both your teeth and your waistline can suffer. Keep a food diary for a few days and, when you snack, write it down along with why you ate. Were you hungry? Bored? Stressed? Just taking a break? Is there anything you can do instead? Is a 10 minute walk possible? Would a coffee, tea or herbal tea do instead? What about chewing gum?

Taking a look at when and why you snack and planning ahead with what you choose can help you to make smarter snacking decisions that can benefit you and your body at work.