If you want to make it through your work day without falling asleep at your desk you will probably need to eat more than just lunch.
You will also need to eat healthy, balanced snacks that support stable, sustained energy levels, which will help to keep your mind sharp and focused all day long.
That doesn’t mean running out during your break to Starbuck’s or Tim Horton’s and grabbing the usual “double-double” and a donut or a muffin.
I have nothing against coffee. I love coffee, but what many people call coffee is basically a glorified dessert.
For example, if you ordered a typical specialty coffee from Starbucks (or McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s), this is what you’d get:
Nutritional analysis of a Starbuck’s Grande White Chocolate Mocha (without whipped cream) made with soy milk
Calories: 370 | Total fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat 5 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 | Sodium 220 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56 g | Fibre 1 g | Sugars 51 g [Source]
Did you notice that the Mocha was without whipped cream? Here is again, but this time with whipped cream added:
Calories: 440 | Total fat: 17 g | Saturated Fat 9.5 g | Trans Fat: 0.2 g | Cholesterol: 25 | Sodium 225 mg
Total Carbohydrates 58 g | Fibre 1 g | Sugars 53 g
The Caramel Macchiato, Caffè Mocha and similar drinks are not much different. I chose the soy milk instead of non-fat or 2% milk to make a point, i.e. soy milk is filled with sugar. In the example above you are drinking 10 (yes TEN) spoons of sugar! And why so much sodium?
Starbuck’s is smart (crafty is a better word) in their marketing. I had to manually pull the nutrition data from their PDF called, “Nutrition by the Cup. Enjoy a variety of tasty options to fit your lifestyle and your day.” That sounds like they must offer healthy drinks, right? No!
Your best option to minimize drinking a huge amount of sugar and too high a dose of saturated fat*, choose instead a plain coffee, an Americano or an espresso. Drink it black, with a dash of cream, or ½ a package of sugar (but NOT artificial sweetener please).
*Note that we need to have saturated fats in our diet, but we need a balance of all the types of fat.
So go ahead and grab a good old-fashioned plain coffee and choose one of these…
1) A piece of fruit with a small handful of nuts, e.g. an apple and 8-12 macadamia nuts.
3) Mix 1-cup of 2% or 4% plain cottage cheese with one serving of fruit (peach, cherries, banana, pineapple, mango, etc), and ¼ cup of almonds, or any other nut.
If you need to minimize carbs or fruit you could opt for healthy fats. Instead of the fruit add 1-2 tbsp. salsa and ¼ to ½ of an avocado. Your cottage cheese will now taste like sour cream and salsa dip!
4) Plain unsweetened yogurt (preferably organic, not made with skim milk, instead whole milk and non-homogenized) with one piece of fruit and ¼ cup of raw, unsalted nuts. You could also add ¼ cup of a healthy, unsweetened muesli like Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Muesli. They also sell a gluten-free version if you have sensitivities.
5) Celery sticks with all-natural (preferably organic) peanut or almond butter.
6) 1 to 2 hardboiled eggs (the whole egg — don’t discard the yolk) with cucumber, carrots or a fruit.
7) Plain humus dip with veggies like carrot sticks, cucumber or celery. Optional 1-2 small whole-wheat pitas or a couple of Ryvita crackers.
8) Half of a healthy sandwich with a side salad, some raw veggies or an apple (eat the other half in the afternoon or save it for the next day).
9) Mini-tuna salad pre-made at home. Here’s a quick recipe. Mix together:
For a “creamier” dressing, add 1 tbsp. olive oil mayonnaise or whole milk yogurt.
10) A prepared small salad with protein (chicken, fish, hard-boiled egg). If buying out, ask for plain olive oil and vinegar (or lemon juice). Avoid individually packaged ‘creamy’ dressings like ranch or caesar. They’re filled with the wrong fats, sugar and unnecessary chemicals.
Eat well to be well!