Office Nutrition: How to Avoid the Vending Machine
Unless you plan accordingly, you could be the victim of what is known as HANGER. You know, the mix of hunger and anger because you’re starving? The vending machine at work is one of your biggest nutritional traps during your 9-5 unless you properly plan out your own personal office nutrition. What do you do?
For most, the office vending machine turns into their best hope for settling down their growling stomach. Enter your money and out comes a bag of chips, a candy bar, some pretzels, cookies, or whatever else you’re in the mood for. Notice how I said, “in the mood for” and not “what you need nutritionally”?
Where we all become vulnerable is when we are limited by options. We are hungry, we know the options in the vending machine aren’t the best, BUT, it’s all we have to choose from because we’re stuck. The majority of everything in the vending machine is high in carbs, fats, sugars, or a combination of all of those. Very rarely do you see options that are high in protein or even fiber to help you feel satiated so you can go back to work and be productive.
When it comes to those sugary choices, you may be able to squeeze out some extra energy from the item but give it some time and you’ll feel your energy levels drop as if someone pulled the rug out from under you and you’re lying there on the floor wondering what the heck happened. You end up spending the rest of your day in a mental fog, with no energy, and your productivity resembles a jammed copy machine – as in not working at all.
If you sat down and planned out how to minimize these events from taking place, you could not only save yourself money but also your waistline and overall health.
Plan for Success
In order to stay on your health and fitness journey without getting derailed, it’s going to take some planning and self-control – especially when it comes to your office nutrition. As mentioned above, you are truly limited to what is in your office building or surrounding area if you are in a pinch and need food (especially if you forget your lunch at home). Generally, the places that are around your building will be fast food and quick grab-and-go options that allow you to get back to work before your lunch break is over.
However, there’s an easier way that can prevent future headaches from not having a healthy food option easily accessible. It’s called PLANNING.
Utilize Your Work Space
Now, not everyone will have the same setup that I’m about to mention but it should be pretty close. If you work in an office, you are probably sitting or standing at a desk all day. That desk has space on top as well as the drawers – yes? Perfect. Then you truly have no excuse to ever walk over to that vending machine ever again.
What I want you to do is to go buy items or bring them from home that you can store on or in your desk. These could be items such as nuts, granola bars, fruit (like bananas), natural peanut butter with whole grain crackers, nutrition bars like the Lean Body bars, trail mix, or something like beef jerky. If you want to step it up a notch and have the room, you could easily store a tub of protein on your desk or underneath (assuming you don’t have clients walking in your office often to keep it looking professional and without clutter).
Stock Your Refrigerator
If you work in an office that has a refrigerator or can afford to put a mini fridge in your office, you just hit the lotto. Assuming you don’t have vultures, who raid the office refrigerator and eat other people’s food, you will have no excuse to consume an unhealthy option when you have these kinds of accommodations.
You can put fruit such as apples (which are high in fiber) in the fridge, you can put vegetables in to eat with hummus, you can store various protein options like deli-style meat and cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, as well as one of the most convenient things on the list… RTD protein shakes.
The key is to find items that are high in protein as well as fiber while staying low in sugar. These items will fill you up quicker and will help you feel satiated longer throughout the day while helping to energize your mind and body. What’s nice about an RTD like the Lean Body shakes is that you can drink half of the bottle, put the lid back on and save it for later that day or the following day. You get a delicious high-protein treat that is low in sugar whenever you need it and one that doesn’t take that long to consume. In fact, it’s one of the fastest items on the list when it comes to consuming and the fact that there is no messy clean-up needed.
There is no room for excuses at this point. The simple strategies mentioned above are enough to provide you with the nutrition you need to make it through the day, keeping your energy levels and productivity high.
I know it might be hard saying goodbye to your old friend, Mr. Vending Machine, but at the end of the day, if you plan your office nutrition correctly, you will never need to drop coins in that glass-fronted junk box ever again – and that’s a good thing (for your wallet and your waistline).
Matt Weik is the Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 2,000 websites. Learn more or contact him at weikfitness.com