Watch those cubicle cravings!
Ismat Tahseen Jun 4, 2012, 12.00AM IST
Those pizzas, burgers, chips and colas that you order in office can do you more harm than a rich meal with high calorie content. Get into the healthy eating habit.
Just in the mind?
Cravings can result due to boredom, stress, anxiety or pleasure. So, if you’re munching that chocolate just because you want to, without being really hungry, distract yourself with some activity, like walking, reading etc.
Everyone gets hungry on the job. More so, if you have a thing for fried chips or want to have a bite of the pizza slice that someone at work has ordered, be careful. If you make a habit of munching at the workplace, you are punishing your waistline. A recent study, based on the increase in sick days at work, showed that although office snacks boost morale and make people happy, they sabotage your health.
Fruit like apples, bananas, pears and oranges are easy to carry to work and don’t need a fridge for storage. Snack on them in between when your energy levels are low and you will not only instantly feel better but also get a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber to keep you satiated for long!
Nuts and seeds
They may be high in fat but when portioned controlled (about 16 almonds or 30 pistas or about two tablespoons of any seeds), they make for a filling, portable, fiber, vitamin and mineral rich snack. They have protein and can help regulate hunger and metabolism!
Dried fruits like dates, prunes, apricots, figs and raisins are also portable, filling, lower calorie options compared to chocolates and other sweet munchies. They are high in iron and other essential nutrients necessary for energy and a healthy metabolism. But make sure you don’t eat too much especially if you are trying to lose weight since they do contain more calories per serving than fresh fruit. But given that they contain all the fiber and fullness feelings, a few pieces go a long way!
Home made chivda mix
Mix one cup roasted murmura (puffed rice) with two tablespoons chana, plus one tablespoon raisins or three chopped cashews and spices and herbs such as jeera, salt, green chilli, haldi and roasted kadipatta.
Low fat yoghurt
Packed with protein and zinc, yoghurt makes a great substitute for ice cream when you want something creamy and cold. Mix in some fresh fruit or raisins for sweetness instead of white sugar, for a nice treat.
Home made popcorn
Made without oil or butter, popcorn is a volume and nutrient dense snack. It’s whole grain and filled with fibre to keep you full and give you the psychological satisfaction of eating a lot. Three handfuls give 100 calories!
Homemade dried fruit/nut snack mix
Mix three almonds plus five peanuts plus one tablespoon raisins plus 15 pistas, some jeera, salt and roasted kadipatta. Vary the mixtures by adding different nut, seed and dried fruit combinations. Limit portions to no more than 30 grams, (about four tablespoons).
When disaster is sweet…
Desserts such as cupcakes, sweet shakes, mithais and more can prove to be very harmful. In fact, the study says, ‘it has been shown just the sight or smell of candies, cookies, donuts and other sugary sweet concoctions triggers a desire to eat some’. Affirms nutritionist Priya Karkera, “We look at it like it’s just a mini cupcake or a small bar of chocolate, but eventually having these everyday can cause anxiety, listlessness or even moodiness, once the resulting sugar rush wears off. I would even say that sugar is a totally useless, destructive drug that is responsible for debilitating diseases like obesity, heart disease, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
These would be pizzas, for sure, says Karkera. “A pizza has very high fat content, with just a 5 gm serving of vegetables and no fibre at all. Also the base is made of maida so it is very high in calories – a single slice having 400 calories. Since it is high in fat content, it can leave you feeling lethargic. If at all you must have some, try having a pizza with low-fat cheese or paneer.”
Is your cubicle a calorie trap?
One is the ways to keep off the wrong kinds of food is to keep it out of sight! “Often, these fried, sweet, processed and refined foods you eat are easily accessible anytime. When you see them, you tend to reach for them and get caught in a vicious cycle of unhealthy over-eating,” explains nutritionist Naini Setalvad. To do this, keep the office drawers free of chips, etc and have nutrient-dense, low calorie snacks at hand.
If you have to order from outside, here are some healthy options
– Order a bhel or sev puri without sev or puri and extra murmura, onions and chutneys.
– Instead of white bread butter sandwiches, order a brown bread sandwich without butter.
– Instead of a bag of potato chips, snack on a small handful of roasted chana.
– Instead of samosa, order dhoklas or khandvi.