Do we eat junk food because we’re stressed, or are we stressed because we eat junk food?
It’s a little like asking what came first: the chicken or the egg? Or, perhaps, in this case, the salty deep-fried chicken or the Cadbury caramel egg.
In reality, the answer is “either” (or maybe even “both”). Because while non-food-related circumstances at work can certainly stress us out, so too can the snacks we consume throughout the day.
As part of wellbeing month in September, today in our Wellness Wednesday session we’re learning about the tricks of treats; how hyperpalatable foods such as fried, salty, processed, sugary and/or fatty snacks can supercharge our stress, hamper healthy working habits and, ultimately, derail our day – so much so that poor workplace eating habits could be considered a new form of occupational hazard.
Here are ten top tips we’re learning today to maintain healthier eating habits while at work:
- Value quality over quantity: Focus on whole foods or meals with minimal (and natural) ingredients.
- Find feel-good habits and stress-relievers that support your goals: Now that we know junk foods are ineffective short-term solutions, it’s time to look towards more active and enduring ways to wind down.
- Slow down and be curious: Take the time to try new foods instead of grabbing the first or cheapest thing on the shelf.
- Banish the candy jar and bring out a fruit bowl instead: You’ll find it’s actually often cheaper, too.
- Instead of cafes and takeaways for work catch-ups, aim for healthier alternatives: Think salad bars, smoothie shops or a walk to the park.
- Encourage your workplace to equip the kitchen as well as possible: Giving employees cooking and appliance options over and above the standard microwave-and-kettle combo will encourage staff to bring in their own (hopefully healthier) food from home.
- Similarly, encourage staff to plan weekly lunches and healthy snacks ahead of time, and bring in food from home.
- Drink lots of water during the day: Keeping hydrated while avoiding sugary, caffeinated beverages will keep you feeling better for longer (and best of all it’s free!)
- Don’t eat and work at the same time: Mindless eating often leads to overeating. Plus, you don’t want crumbs in the keyboard!
- Finally, at all costs, avoid the vending machine!
For more information on what we’re learning about nutrition in the office this September, see our previous post on Anxiety-Inducing Snack Traps and How to Avoid Them.