I'm sure I'm not the only one who's realised that the notion of a nine-to-five working day, with a lengthy break in the middle for lunch is no longer commonplace. More than ever before, I've noticed that the 'grab-and-go' phenomenon is on the rise, with many of us snacking throughout the day, eating whenever we can fit it in amongst our busy work schedules, meetings and deadlines.
In fact, new research by the Almond Board of California has pinpointed 10:07am as the time when UK workers reach inside their snack drawer for their first snack of the day. For me, this couldn't be more accurate. But surprisingly, the study also shows that almost a quarter (22%) of the employed have resorted to snacking in secret, even though more than a third (35%) feel encouraged by their colleagues to nibble. Delving a little deeper, popular locations for secret snacking include in the office toilets (27%), and even underneath desks (25%)!
Personally, I'm shocked to see the lengths that workers have gone to keep their snacks secret. I truly believe that we shouldn't feel guilty about it - snacks are an excellent way to tide us over, and can be a healthy, forward-thinking option to be proud of, not kept under wraps. Opting for a nutrient-rich snack such as a handful - about 28g - of almonds, is a really convenient way to make sure that you're satisfying your hunger pangs, and giving your body the nutrients it needs.
As this is a passion point of mine, I've analysed the snacking habits and working patterns of UK employees to identify three clear typologies of workplace snackers. This allows me to offer snacking advice to each of them, and show them how guilt-free almonds can be incorporated into their snacking habits.
30% of those surveyed admitted to encouraging their colleagues to nibble during the working day. Now, don't get me wrong, sharing is caring. However, if you're the office Influencer, you may find that colleagues who are watching their waistline will avoid your tempting treats. Don't fret; you needn't become a snacking pariah if you keep a healthy handful of snacking options up your sleeve, so that you're offering goodness and satisfaction. Almonds offer fibre and protein, nutrients which help to increase that 'fuller for longer' feeling - having a jar of these on your desk to delve out a handful to those most-in-need, will help ensure you're the most popular snacking supplier in the office.
63% of respondents rely on their snack drawer to offer them sustenance throughout the day. If you're a Hoarder, you'll likely ensure your snack drawer is well stocked to keep you going for those times in need, when breakfast is a distant memory and lunchtime is not on the agenda. Planning ahead is key to keeping on track with your snacks throughout the day. Be sure to keep a variety of different options in your snack drawer, delivering on all your needs. Almonds, for example, deliver on taste and crunch, and one handful also provides 60% of your daily Vitamin E requirement - making them a multi-tasking snack which provides 'bang for your buck' in snacking terms.
The Secret Snacker
22% of workers surveyed admitted to snacking in secret, slipping into the toilets, the stationary cupboard and even under their desks to guiltily scratch their snacking itch. If this behaviour sounds like you, then you'll likely feel ashamed of your snacking, believing it to be a bad habit. On the contrary, you should be proud of your nibbling! There is no need to be embarrassed of snacking, the key is balance. It is fine to snack on a variety of things, including sweet treats, but mix up your choices now and again and try to incorporate nutrient-rich elements. There is so much choice out there! A great combination is dark chocolate with almonds, which delivers on sweetness and indulgence, but packs a nutritional punch with almonds containing a whopping 15 essential nutrients (per 100g serving). Even better - almonds are a smart snack which won't impact on your weight. In a recent study, researchers used a method different than the traditional way to measure the calories in almonds and found that a 28g serving of whole natural almonds (about 23) contains 25% fewer calories; whole roasted almonds have 19% fewer calories; and chopped roasted almonds have 17% fewer calories than originally thought - great news!
Fancy knowing which snacking tribe you belong to? Take my quick and easy quiz to find out.
Photo Credit: The Almond Board of California
Lucy Jones is currently working with The Almond Board of California
 A survey of 2,013 Employed UK respondents, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of the Almond Board of California in October 2016
 Gebauer SK, Novotny JA, Bornhorst GM, Baer DJ. Food processing and structure impact the metabolizable energy of almonds. Food & Function. 2016; First published online September 28, 2016. doi:10.1039/c6fo01076h