- According to the Harvard School of Public Health, snacking often leads to making poorer food choices, such as potato chips, candy, and cookies, causing unwanted weight gain from excess calories.
- Nevertheless, snacking throughout the workday can be profoundly beneficial to workers because it provides energy, curbs their appetite, and maintains their nutrition levels if their schedule doesn’t permit eating full meals at set times.
- The healthiest and best foods workers can eat to improve their work day — and overall work performance, focus, motivation, and creativity — are blueberries, protein bars, dark chocolate, eggs, and whole-grain oats.
Snacking at work is so common that many people could put it in their calendar as a recurring appointment.
The Harvard School of Public Health estimates that about a quarter of Americans snack multiple times daily, and “one-third snacked at least once daily.”
Harvard notes that the most popular choices for Americans are “fruit, cookies, chips, ice cream, candy, popcorn, soft drinks, cake, milk, nuts and seeds, tea, and yogurt.”
Apart from fruit, nuts and seeds, tea, and yogurt, these aren’t health-conscious food decisions. However, as Harvard notes, these foods are common choices because they are the most readily available options for most Americans during the work day.
Snacking on these popular choices, according to the journal Nutrients, is highly correlated with symptoms of cognitive fatigue — which according to the journal Frontiers in Psychology, “is an indicator of an unhealthy lifestyle…associated with [a] higher probability of illness and injury in the workplace,” and is directly associated with a reduction in worker performance on cognitive tasks.
Snacking doesn’t have to be an unhealthy lifestyle choice, however. The Harvard School of Public Health also points out that snacking on the right foods can improve energy levels and focus throughout the day, all while curbing hunger cravings without consuming excess calories.
But what are the snacks that will power your work day instead of sabotage it? Here are the five best office snacks to boost health, energy and focus at work.
Blueberries aren’t just healthy because they are fruits — blueberries are jam-packed with nutrients and properties that can give employees a performance edge at work.
In addition to being tasty, they are considered a superfood with powerful benefits. Blueberries contain an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, which improves immunity, memory, and mood and reduces DNA damage associated with diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disorder.
2. Protein Bars
According to pre-eminent protein specialist Dr. Donald Layman from the University of Illinois, most of us aren’t getting enough protein daily.
Protein is the macronutrient most responsible for keeping us full, so its short supply in our diets has led our bodies to overestimate how hungry we are.
Being hungry during the workday distracts us from our work, making us moody and less capable of completing tasks competently, according to the Journal of Health Psychology.
Having a protein bar is an easy way to reduce hunger pangs during the work day — after all, you probably can’t cook a steak in the office.
3. Dark Chocolate
Surprisingly, candy can be healthy and beneficial.
Of any candy available, dark chocolate is by far the healthiest option. Research shows eating dark chocolate is associated with improved blood flow and sight.
For workers, dark chocolate improves brain oxygenation, which according to the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, can directly lead to improved performance on cognitive tasks.
4. Whole Grain Oats
Whole grain oats come in various snacks such as oatmeal, granola, and crackers.
Whole grain oats reduce the likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders because they contain abundant levels of Vitamin E and have the crucial brain-boosting nutrient known as Avena sativa.
Avena sativa improves alertness and learning performance, reduces the adverse cognitive effects of multitasking, and boosts cognitive performance even in individuals with compromised cognitive capabilities.
Snacks like egg bites are satisfying, easy to make at home, and easy to bring to work.
As a work snack, eggs are especially beneficial because they are the best dietary source of the nutrient known as choline.
Choline is the precursor to the neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine which nerves use to communicate. Getting extra choline from eggs can help workers get more quality work hours out of their day by improving cognitive performance and power output.