How To Avoid Office Snack Weight Gain
Still struggling to shift those post-Christmas pounds? Your job could be the culprit, according to a new survey.
The study of 1,947 women found the average female office worker consumes a third of her recommended daily calorie allowance on snacks alone.
Over half (51%) of the women questioned confessed to eating between 650 and 750 calories worth of snacks each day with as many as 87% regularly squirrelling treats away at their desk.
The poll by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk revealed that chocolate was the top choice for 41% of women followed by the healthier option of fruit at 36% while 31% preferred to munch on crisps.
But as the average office worker spends most of her day sitting at a desk expending little energy, it is not surprising to learn that it is boredom, not hunger pangs, driving this voracious appetite.
Almost half (49%) of the women said it was simply boredom driving them to eat while 11% said it was to be sociable.
Mark Pearson, chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, said: "In an office environment, it can be very easy give in to snacking on the treats available and resisting them can be very difficult."
Chris Jones, Head of Physiology at Nuffield Health, suggests the following strategies to resist 'boredom cravings' without losing your head:
1. Eat breakfast. This will help stabilise blood sugar levels and set you up for the day.
2. Take regular breaks for five minutes every hour, but take yourself away from your desk to avoid snacking - go for a walk to chat to a colleague rather than send them an e-mail.
3. Snacking is not bad in itself. Always carry healthy snacks with you to avoid the biscuits and cake that are readily available in most offices. Fruit, nuts, crudités, hummus, cheese, oat/rice cakes and yoghurts all make great snacks, but you'll need to plan and portion them.
4. Break the boredom habit. Keep a food diary and monitor the patterns in your eating. If 3pm marks a 'danger zone' schedule a workout or meeting to take you mind off snacking.
5. Occupy your hands with other things. Keep a stress ball handy or another desk game.
6. Remove food from your environment. Make sure colleagues understand you would rather the biscuits weren't kept at the end of your desk.
If all else fails stock up on these tasty, low-calorie snack options and indulge your cravings without the guilt...
Tasty, Low-Calorie Snack Ideas
<strong>Calorie-count: </strong>55 calories per cupful of plain home-made popcorn with one teaspoon of oil If you don't have a microwave handy to pop your own, most fast food chains now stock low-calorie packs in a variety of flavours, including salt or sugar and salt. The modern pre-packed varieties will bump up your calorie count to approximately 125 calories. But steer clear of the old-school sticky toffee varieties as these are laden with sugar and calories.
<strong>Calorie count:</strong> 130 calories for 2 slices There are times when only cake will do - like 4pm when the sugar slump strikes. Satisfy your sweet cravings with the next best thing - cinnamon raisin toast. Top with low-fat spread or a drizzle of honey.
<strong>Calorie count:</strong> 100 calories per 85g tin of tuna (in water) Spread a small can of tuna on a rye crispbread for a mid-morning snack that will keep you full until lunchtime. Tuna is a great source of low-fat protein and is packed with Omega-3 fatty acid, renowned for its brain-boosting and mood-enhancing properties.
<strong>Calorie count:</strong> 104 calories for one cup If your idea of the perfect afternoon snack is a bag of Haribo, try sucking on frozen grapes instead. Rich in vitamins A, C, B6 and folate as well as the powerful antioxidants, flavanoids, grapes have been widely used to treat constipation, indigestion, fatigue, kidney disorders, asthma, heart disease and migraines.
<strong>Calorie count:</strong> 165 calories per ounce Sunflower seeds are a low-fat alternative to crisps when you need that crunchy, savoury hit. They are packed with vitamins such as vitamin B1 and B5, vitamin E and folate and also provide a healthy dose of minerals including copper, magnesium, selenium and phosphorous-important minerals.
<strong>Calorie count:</strong> 183 calories per one ounce Scientists claim eating just seven walnuts a day could help ward off disease and fight cholesterol. The antioxidants found in raw walnuts were found to be 15 times as powerful as Vitamin E, which can protect the body against damaging natural chemicals.
<strong>Calorie-count:</strong> 47 calories per handful Olives are rich in Vitamin E, which helps maintain healthy skin and gut. They are also a good source of antioxidants, essential for a strong immune system.