17 Jul Eating healthy at your desk.
The Health Drawer
Your biggest weapon against cravings, low energy and getting sick.
Just so we are clear, I definitely do not encourage you to eat at your desk. Get up and go somewhere else to eat mindfully. So keep this in mind as we talk about creating a drawer that you can fill with delectable, healthy foods. Just remember- good behavior design involves getting up and eating them away from your desk.
Everyone should be able to free up at least a half of a drawer to recreate their very own “health drawer”, with a little bit of cleaning and filing. This drawer is dedicated to you and your well-being, it should be filled with healthy snacks, non-toxic cleaning supplies, healthy condiments, water, teas, and medicine to keep you healthy when there is sickness going through the office. Dedicating one drawer to become your health drawer is a significant behavior design tool that can help you through those times when your willpower is low. When a craving strikes and you are hard at work, would you rather be at the mercy of what is left in the vending machine or have an entire drawer loaded with healthy and vital snacks ready to go? This is Behavior Design 101 when it comes to setting yourself up for success. No one has an endless supply of willpower, not even that guy on the front of that fitness magazine- they are just better at designing their daily behavior. A fully stocked health drawer is one way you can design your behavior for success. Let’s dig into the necessities to have a power-packed health drawer.
The 24 Best Items for Your Health Drawer
Almonds are a powerhouse of nutrition that will supply you with good, even energy levels. These nutrient superstars are jam-packed with healthy fats, good protein and fiber to keep you satiated. Each raw almond is about 7 calories, so, in order to your keep calorie amount down only eat one small handful (about 150-200 calories).
Nut butter Packets
These are nutrient powerhouses just like the almonds. The combination of healthy fats, protein and fiber pack a healthy punch. Nowadays, they come in single serving packets at most grocery stores, so they make a perfect snack for anyone’s health drawer. Please do not buy a jar of peanut butter and eat a spoonful here and there, because the calories can be killer.
Crackers are a staple in most offices, but there is a huge variance with how healthy they are across the board. But rather than get too technical, I will give you guidelines in choosing the right crackers for your health drawer. There are 3 major things you need to look for when choosing the right cracker. First, it needs to be 100% whole grain, not 7 grain, or anything else. Secondly, you should be able to read every ingredient on the label, and nothing the sounds like it came out of a machine like benzopropylenessigmalphasupercalifrajilisitic (you get the point). Lastly, look for as few ingredients as possible. If you can meet these guidelines your cracker is probably a nutrient packed snack with good fats, protein and fiber.
These are tasty snacks that are full of omega 3’s, almost 25 grams of protein and are about 200 calories. Contrary to popular belief, they do not smell fishy and they contain very low mercury amounts. If you are looking to save some calories, get the ones packed in water. Put them on a cracker and add a little mustard and you have yourself a fantastic mid afternoon snack.
There are 14 grams of protein in every quarter cup of this delectable snack. It has fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is a great crunchy alternative for any of you recovering chip addicts out there also.
Meal Replacement Bars
You always will need a few of these in your drawer for those times you need to work through lunch. The right meal replacement bars will sustain you through long stretches at work and provide you with optimal nutrition. To find the right meal replacement bar look for the shortest ingredient list. But, you also need to look at the amount of sugar and fiber. Aim for a bar with 10 grams of sugar or less, but if it has more than that make sure it has at least 4 grams of fiber to go with it.
Ready to Eat Meal Replacements (RTD’s)
A couple of Ready-to-Drink meal replacements can also do the trick on those long days. Follow the same guidelines as the bars.
Instant Oatmeal Packets
There is usually a place to get hot water in the office, so instant oatmeal packets make a healthy and quick snack to have in your Health Drawer. Just add a little fruit, nuts or a little protein powder to round out this nutritious meal.
Herbal teas are a great and tasty way to switch up from all the water you should be drinking throughout the day. They have a host of benefits like bringing mental alertness if you need to focus a little more at work. It is important to avoid premade bottles of tea because of added sugars. Instead, buy the tea bags and steep your own at your desk. Pick from green teas for their high antioxidant counts, black teas for their higher caffeine amounts, or try and find something that you enjoy. There is no real downside to tea and it is a great alternative to coffee.
If you steer clear of commercially distributed popcorn brands, especially the microwave kinds, popcorn can actually be healthy. My suggestion is to get organic popcorn kernels at the bulk section of your local grocery store and air pop it at home for maximum health benefits. Make a big batch and split it into single serving Ziploc bags each week to put in your snack drawer, so you don’t overdo it.
Dark Chocolate Squares
There is hesitation to have this on the list because it can be a “gateway drug” to having a sweet tooth. But, if you choose between 70-90% cacao content than you will limit the sugar content to an acceptable level and still get that little treat once in a while. Cacao in this range is somewhat bitter but is still tasty- but you definitely won’t mistake it for a Milky Way, that’s for sure.
If you drink regular water all day long (and you absolutely should be), sometimes you may crave something a little different. That’s where flavored mineral water can provide a nice change of pace. It has the carbonation of soda, but all the same ingredients as water – except for a small amount of sodium. Add some ice and a squeeze of lime and it can help substitute for a soda if you are cutting back in that department.
An easy way to store vegetables in your drawer and to keep them fresh is to cut them into sticks that fit into a mason jar. As long as your sealed mason jar can stand straight up you can fill it with a little water to keep the veggies from drying out. The best choices for your Health Drawer are carrots, celery, cucumbers and jicama.
Bring a couple of your favorite fruits each week to store in your drawer for snacking purposes. A great healthy habit is to cut a lemon in two pieces, place in a sealed container and bring to work to squeeze into your water or on a salad.
If you prefer your fruit sliced up, use this ninja trick to keep it from spoiling during the day. After you slice up fruit at home and put into a Ziploc bag or container, squeeze the juice of a half of lemon all over them. You’ll enjoy fresh, unspoiled fruit all day long!
Cleaning and Body Care
Part of staying healthy is to keep your desk area clean from dust, debris, and bacteria. The best way to keep your desk clean is disinfecting wipes. Look for wipes made from essential oils that can still kill up to 99.9% of viruses.
Natural Hand Sanitizer
Everyone knows that your hands are germ factories, so keep your hands clean. A natural hand sanitizer spray is an easy way to keep your hands free from germs and bacteria. There are many sprays to choose from, but look for the alcohol free version for optimum health.
You may not be able to brush your teeth after every snack, so a quick rinse with a natural mouthwash will keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy.
Chewing gum is a useful way to stave off food cravings that are related to stress. The taste of gum in your mouth will trick your body into being satisfied and hopefully the craving will pass. Choose gums with as few ingredients as you can and preferably sweetened with xylitol.
It helps keep your gums healthy and clean, and let’s be honest, your co-workers probably won’t tell you that you have kale stuck in your teeth- so use it regularly.
There is no better way to spread germs around your desk area than to sneeze into open air- so never be left without tissues.
If the office temperature is always warm your skin will dry out. Get a moisturizer you can use on your hands, body and face.
Eye Relief Drops
Your eyes can get red and worn out from staring at your computer all day, keep some eye drops handy to help moisturize your eyes when you need it.
Never be caught without bandages for those pesky little paper cuts.
Small Exercise Tools
Leave a little space in your drawer for a resistance band, a mini band and a tennis ball. So you can get some exercise in for a couple of minutes here and there with these workouts (link)
Start your own health drawer today and put your own unique touches on it. Your Health Drawer will provide you with the food, cleaning supplies and medicine you need to get through even the toughest of days at the office.