It’s almost 4 pm, your work day is almost over and lunch seems to have been eons ago. Slowly your body starts craving a snack. A pint of rich chocolate ice cream, or maybe that bag of potato chips stashed away in a corner of your cubicle. Or even one of those calorie-rich, yummy delicacies the local deli promises to deliver in no time at all. Don’t worry; you’re not the only one with these end-of-day food cravings. Everyone gets a wee bit hungry at the workplace. And not surprisingly, it’s usually for a chocolate glazed doughnut, candy bars or even a juicy burger. After all, Jughead Jones doesn’t hold the copyright for hamburger cravings at any hour of the day! You have a report to finish or some urgent calls to make, but you’re distracted by the vending machine that stocks all your favourite goodies. So, how do you handle these cravings? Read on; this might help.
A BIG no-no
However strong the desire to bite into a slice of pizza or reach for a chocolate bar, unhealthy snacking is definitely a no-no. Not only does it add to your daily calorie count, it can also leave you feeling lethargic. A bag of candy can subdue the sudden sugar rush and even help bridge that long gap between lunch and dinner. Sugary foods usually give a burst of energy to the brain and make you feel good. But over time, these bad foods can become an unhealthy addiction. Apart from that, facing the bathroom scales in the morning will surely end in tears!
Is it all in the mind?
Cravings at work are frequently a result of boredom or stress. When anxiety levels rise, the first thing that pops into the head is “I need chocolate...NOW!!!” And off you head for comfort foods. Though there is a granola bar looking at you beseechingly, you’re more likely to pick up a bag of candies smothered in calories. Comforting? Yes. Healthy? No. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you! It may look like a mini cupcake or bite-sized candy, but they pack in a lot of bad fats and calories.
So, what is the solution? When you have this sudden urge for something sweet or fried, resist it. Bite the bullet and get back to the unfinished work on hand, which is sure to take your mind off snacking. If you feel like stepping away from your cubicle for a while, be sure not to walk in the direction of the vending machine or cafeteria. However strong willed you may be, a whiff of the snack might slip past your guard. Try it! It’s worth a shot.
Minimize those cravings
Before you raise your eyebrows and wonder if you’ve read it right, let me tell you it isn’t all that difficult to curb or cut down on those unhealthy food cravings at work. Rushed hours in the morning usually mean skipping on the most important meal. Missing breakfast is diet disaster numero uno! And though the morning meetings could suppress the hunger pangs, the body starts craving a snack in a couple of hours, after lunchtime. And very few people can claim that they desire fruits or veggies at this time. A satisfactory breakfast can do the trick. So, don’t leave home without it!
Quick-fix healthy tips
- Fresh fruits. Carry some fruit with you to work. Not only does it fit into your bag easily, but fruit doesn’t need special storage at your workplace. Snack on them when you feel low on energy. With a healthy combination of vitamins, minerals, fibre and water, your cravings will be well satisfied.
- Popcorn. The faithful movie time snack can be your best buddy at work too. Most workplaces have an area where you can pop some corn in a couple of minutes. Or, carry some along when you head out in the morning. This whole grain is loaded with fibre and also gives you the satisfaction of eating a lot. Just make sure you pick the unbuttered kind!
- Dry fruits. Keep a handful of dried fruits with you, like figs, raisins, prunes, apricots, raisins or dates. Rich in iron and fibre, dry fruits make you feel full and give you added vigour. So snack on some of these, finish your work and head home early!
If you didn’t manage to have a satisfactory lunch, or need to stay back a couple of extra hours at work, do not suppress those hunger pangs. But instead of visiting the nearest burger joint or calling for a double-cheese pizza, order yourself a nice whole wheat sandwich packed with extra veggies. Skip the mayo and ask for some low-cal dressings.
Having a craving between meals is common. But before your cravings draw your mind away from your work and get the better of you, reach for a healthy snack. Get into the habit of eating right while you’re in your cubicle; you’ll be more productive at work, and your body will thank you the rest of the day!