One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when trying to maintain a healthy diet is the work place temptations.
I don't know about you, but my previous offices were constantly filled with sweets, chocolates, donuts, cupcakes....all those things you don't want to be consuming on a regular basis!
Although it's very easy to start the day well and feel smug that you are enjoying your morning porridge whilst your work colleagues are chowing down on their second croissant, it's hard to maintain the same level of will power later in the day when you start to get hungry or things at work begin to get a little stressful.
The key to avoiding these temptations is to be prepared, ensuring you have a few snacks at hand will stop you giving into temptation.
These are my workstation essentials that I would always have stocked up in my desk drawer if ever a hunger pang or energy slump hit
1. Travelling Toppings
It's not really feasible to keep a huge range of nuts, seeds and superfoods on your desk...sadly you have to have enough room to work! So my favourite way of overcoming this is to fill an airtight jar with all my favourite nibbles and then take this to work instead.
I use it to top my porridge or yogurt in the morning and also as a mid afternoon snack pot. I love to fill mine with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cacao nibs, goji berries and chia seeds.
If you know you have a sweet tooth and find it hard to not succumb to afternoon sweet treats, add in some cinnamon as well which will add a sweetness to your mix and also help regulate your blood sugar levels to stop those mid morning/afternoon sugar cravings.
2. Nut Butter
The king of afternoon snacking has to be the nut butter! They provide the most amazing burst of healthy fats, filling you up quickly and ensuring a slow energy release for the rest of the day.
There is such a breadth of nut butters out there now and the best bit is you can find them in most supermarkets. I would favour almond or cashew butter over peanut butter as they offer a much broader range of additional nutrients, but experiment with different flavours to find which feels best for you. You can also buy a range of seed butters, which are just as delicious and nutritious if you want to avoid nuts. The only thing to look out for when choosing your spread is that they don't include any unnatural additives, there's no reason for the ingredients to include anything other then nuts and seeds!
Whichever you choose, you can add it to your breakfast or just enjoy as a snack throughout the day. They taste great slathered on apple slices, with dates or just eaten with a teaspoon (sounds decadent I know!)
3 . Plain Rice Cakes
Sometimes you need something a bit more substantial then a handful of your traveling toppings, so this is where your rice cakes come into play.
Not the most exciting food to be eaten alone, but when you team it with your other work station essential, nut butter, you have yourself a perfect snack! I also love to top mine with half a banana or cacao nibs to give it a bit more oomph.
Look for Brown Rice Cakes and always make sure you check the back of the pack and made sure they don't contain any unnecessary additives.
3. Olive Oil
Not really a 'snack' but most definitely the most useful thing to keep at your desk!
As you probably already know, a lot of hidden sugars can be found in shop brought dressings. Those little pots found in your pre made salad are literally laden with them and can make what you thought was a healthy lunch option, a sugar laden meal (not really what you would expect from your chicken salad!).
So here is when your olive oil comes into play! No one likes an undressed salad and on top of it your body actually needs healthy fats to help absorb all the nutrients from your salad, so instead of adding that sugary dressing, you can use your lovely olive oil that you keep on your desk. Try infusing it with different herbs and spices to give it a bit of a kick.
This is just as handy when you are making a packed lunch as you no longer have to dress it in the morning and then settle for a slightly limp salad by lunchtime.
4. Herbal Tea
Now I like my morning coffee as much as the next person, literally nothing can beat a almond milk cappuccino as I walk to work, but I have learnt over the years that when it comes to caffeine, less really is more. That one coffee first thing in the morning, makes me feel great, but anymore than that can leave me feeling anxious, headachy and struggling to sleep at night.
However, it was the need for something warming and comforting which used to drag me to my second, third and then sometimes fourth cup of coffee, so I had to find an alternative.
Herbal teas may not sound the most exciting, and to be honest the mildly flavoured ones you often find in office blocks aren't, but that's why I decided to invest in a few more exciting flavours to have to hand when I craved something warm.
I love trying out new flavours, my favourite ones are Liquorice and Mint (great for curbing sugar cravings) and Fresh Mint. If it is an energy kick you're looking for then choose a ginger or green tea (tip- don't leave the tea bag in the cup as this is when it turns bitter).
So those are my go to work station essentials, without them I would have seriously struggled to maintain a healthy eating habit at work.
Lucie is a Health and Wellness Consultant who specialises in helping busy professionals lead a healthy life, for more tips and healthy recipes head to her website www.the9to5foodie.co.uk.