The hours after lunch and before the end of the work day seem long and hard to get through. That annoying drilling you hear sounds like the construction works on the other floor, but it feels much closer. Somewhere closer… like your tummy. Ok... It would not be a problem if you were working alone on the floor, but when in close quarters with your colleagues, those earthquake-sized tremors seem to bounce off the walls. If this is you and you are losing the fight against the urge to snack, a visit to the pantry seems to be on the cards.
If someone were to come up to you in the aisle of a supermarket and whisper into your ear about a no-calorie snack, turn the other way because that is the little devil trying to goad you into letting your guard down. The fact of the matter is that there is no such snack that contains zero calories, but there are indeed some foods out there that you can nibble on in the office without guilt-tripping you.
Snacking is Okay...
Without sounding too overly confident in our advice, yes, snacking is indeed okay with a few ‘terms and conditions’ to take note of. According to food nutritionists, those foods that are given the green light are in the categories of non-starchy fruits or vegetables. In simpler words, they are foods that are mostly low in fat.
If you are looking to stop the rumbling in the afternoons, the food items in our list are clearly the way to go. Serious about putting those snacking escapades to a halt? How about taking your lunch at a slower pace? When we scarf down our lunch, we are more likely to entertain the rumbling of our stomachs later in the day, as rushing through our meal actually affects the hormones in our gut that control appetite and tell us when we are full.
The brilliant part about celery is that it can be eaten in many different ways, but if staving off a calorie-heavy snack is your end goal, you should be eating it raw. Why celery is so favoured by ladies at their desk is because celery is extremely low in calories. In just one serving, expect to take in only six light calories. On top of celery being 95% water, be prepared to be wowed by the little nuggets of nutrients stored in each stick of celery — you will find yourself getting potassium, folate, fibre and plenty of vitamin K. A thing to watch out for is to avoid leaving your celery lying in the pantry for too long, since celery quickly loses its antioxidants in the five days after it has been taken out of the store.
One cannot forget those little button-like berries that seem to be oozing with antioxidants. When placed alongside any other fruit in the world, blueberries rank as king of them all, in terms of the amount of antioxidants, the good stuff that protects your body from free radicals by neutralising them before they damage your DNA. Just a handful of those would help you hold off the signs of aging. If you are in the office and craving for an easy pick-me-up, a cupful of blueberries would get you by without your having to work it off — they pack only 84 calories in them.
Did you know tomatoes are considered fruits? Little tidbit of the day aside, tomatoes are great as a light snack, since a medium-sized tomato contains somewhere around 25 calories. Whether you consider tomatoes as a fruit or a vegetable, the delicious and sweet treat is full of sweet juices and contains a load of lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties that help lower your cholesterol and destroy free radicals. If you don’t already know, the deeper and darker the colour of your tomato is, the higher the lycopene levels are within each bite.
The lovable strawberries have a reputation for being fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. Yet, whether your punnet of strawberries originates from the USA, Australia or New Zealand, they are all sweet to the core and chock-full of polyphenols, one of the many antioxidants that disrupts the work of free radicals. Since a cup of strawberries only sets you back by 50 calories, you will very likely see punnets of strawberries lining up in the pantry chiller.
As one of our go-to fruits when it comes to fulfilling our daily need for vitamin C, the tartness in the citrus fruit works just as well to perk up your afternoon, if you are enduring a slump at your office table. Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen, so an orange a day is expected to keep your skin looking soft and supple all the time. But here comes the important question… will having an orange every day be good as a snack while keeping the kilos away? You can rest assured, since an orange has around 80 calories. That compared to a two-finger Kit Kat bar, which has over 100 calories, it is easy to see which is the better snack of the two. At the same time, if you are eating oranges by the slices, don’t skip out on the pith — that is the white substance around the segments of juice vesicles — they actually contain a lot of fibre, which is good for keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels down.