Will Snackwize's Healthy Office Snacks Satisfy My Sweet Tooth?
If you’re someone who struggles to get through the day without a sweet treat, you might be wondering whether the snacks in our Snack Boxes will be good enough for you. Read on to find out why they absolutely are! We’ll also tell you why they make a far better alternative to your usual goodies.
Sugar has a bad reputation. It seems like we’re constantly being told that we eat too much of it, and we need to cut down - or cut it out altogether. The truth is, it’s ok to eat some sugar. Let’s take a look at the sugary snacks that the experts say are acceptable to eat, and why. We’ll also look at the role of sugar in our diets, tell you why you crave sugary foods, and show you what you can do about those cravings. Snackwize is here to show you that you can improve your diet in line with dietary recommendations!
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
When we eat sugary foods and drinks, the levels of dopamine in our brains increase. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone, so in effect, we are getting a hit or a high. In other words, sugar makes you feel good, temporarily. When you try to give your sugary treats a miss, you can experience symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms can range from mild cravings or difficulty concentrating, to feelings of irritability, headaches or stomach cramps.
Foods and drinks that are high in added sugars include:
Jams and marmalade
Sweets and chocolate
Sweetened sauces and dressings
Biscuits, cakes, muffins and doughnuts
Pies and crumbles
Ice cream and lollies
Energy and sports drinks
The problem is, when it comes to many packaged foods, sugar is also used as a sweetener, flavour enhancer, or preservative, even in savoury sauces. Manufacturers add it to thicken their recipes, or to help food keep for longer. As a result, we become used to its taste, and we expect that sweetness when we tuck into our food.
Bake Your Own Snacks
Cooking and baking your own snacks and meals at home will help you to reduce the amount of sugar you consume. You can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe, or choose healthier alternatives like no sugar added muffins. If you roast fruit and vegetables in the oven, it concentrates the sugar and makes them taste sweeter.
But time is short, we get that, and that’s why offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth choose to order Snack Boxes for direct delivery to their premises every fortnight or month. Our Snack Boxes contain a section of nutritious food items for all tastes, preferences and dietary requirements, so snack time is just one less thing to have to think about.
Are You Consuming Too Much Sugar?
The answer to that question is probably, yes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that an average adult should consume no more than 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day. In reality, Australians consume, on average, 14 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Over the course of a year, that’s nearly 22 kilos of added sugar. Male teenagers are among the worst culprits; they are consuming far more than the average as they are taking in between 22 and 38 teaspoons per day.
Eating too many foods high in added sugars can lead to weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk of non-communicable diseases including type-2 diabetes. Sugar also causes problems with tooth decay, leading to irreparable damage to your teeth and expensive dental bills.
So, how much sugar is ok? The WHO says that it is better for your health to keep your intake of free or added sugars below 10 per cent of your total energy intake, which equates to about 12 to 13 teaspoons. This sounds like quite a lot, but bear in mind that a tablespoon of tomato sauce contains about one teaspoon of sugar. A 600 ml bottle of Coca Cola contains a whopping 16 teaspoons of sugar. Fruit juice is also high in sugar and it's actually far better to eat whole fruit than it is to drink fruit juice.
How to Reduce the Amount of Refined Sugar You Consume
Before we tell you how you can reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, it’s important to distinguish between added and intrinsic sugars.
Intrinsic sugars are found in nutrient-rich foods such as milk, fruits and vegetables. It’s ok to eat these types of sugars as part of a healthy, balanced diet since you need the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they contain. Added sugars, on the other hand, are sugars that are added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer.
Here are some ideas to help you to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet:
Eat Foods That Fill You Up
Eating foods that have a low glycemic index (GI) can help you feel fuller for longer, making it less likely that you will reach for that doughnut mid-afternoon. A food’s GI refers to how quickly the carbohydrate you eat is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream to make glucose for energy. Low GI foods contain carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose into the bloodstream more gradually.
Examples of low GI foods include porridge, beans, milk, fruit, bananas, pasta, lentils and soy products. Experts advise you to eat low GI foods before exercise; these foods remain in your small intestine and release energy for a few hours after you have eaten them. People with type 2 diabetes need to eat foods with a low GI because they need the glucose in their diet to be absorbed slowly.
High GI foods enter the bloodstream more quickly than low GI foods, causing a greater increase in the level of blood glucose. Foods with a high GI are linked with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Examples of high GI foods include cornflakes, baked potatoes, white bread, and short grain rice. Experts recommend that you eat high GI foods during the first 24 hours after strenuous exercise to replenish glycogen. Glycogen is your body’s store of glucose.
Plan Snacks and Meals in Advance
We are all guilty of it. The mornings are a rush; we get to the office, start work and realise we’re hungry and the only things in our bag are the remains of yesterday’s sandwich and a squashed biscuit. So we reach for something that’s quick and easy, which is more often than not a sugary snack or drink. It does the trick and gives us a burst of energy, but that is short lived and soon we’re hungry all over again.
The trick is to plan ahead. Bring food and snacks to work with you, or order a Snackwize Snack Box in advance. Set up a stand of our healthy snacks in the office and when you and your colleagues start to feel those hunger pangs, there’s a snack within easy reach.
If you want to bring your own food and drinks to work, plan meals and snacks that contain energy-boosting complex carbohydrates and low GI, as well as protein and a little healthy fat. Here are some suggestions:
Hummus on crackers
Cereals such as oats, quinoa and buckwheat
Beans and chickpeas
Nuts and seeds for protein, vitamins and minerals, and 'good' fats
Freshly chopped vegetables
Break Bad Habits
Now for some tips for breaking those bad habits that so many of us are guilty of:
Change Your Mindset
You don’t have to finish a meal with something sweet. Choose a healthier alternative, like fresh fruit with Greek yoghurt, or, add a pinch of cinnamon and chopped or grated apple or pear to natural, unsweetened yoghurt for a delicious dessert.
Think About What You're Eating
Be mindful of why you’re eating. Ask yourself if you’re eating because you’re hungry, or is because you are bored or upset? If you’re eating to make yourself feel better, you need to find the root cause of the problem. Try to find another way of cheering yourself up or taking your mind off your negative feelings.
If your willpower is less than great, stop buying those sweet treats that you find difficult to resist. If the cake isn’t there, you can’t cheat and eat it! Have some alternatives in place, like the Organic Apricots and Figs in our Snack Boxes.
Make Water Your First Choice
Did you know that 15 per cent of the sugar in our diets comes from soft drinks, 11 per cent from alcohol, and 8 per cent from fruit juice? By drinking water or milk instead of fizzy drinks, alcohol and fruit juice, you’re already making a huge difference to your sugar intake. It’s also better to eat fruit whole than it is to drink it as juice.
Try popping a slice of lemon or fruit in still or sparkling water instead of buying your usual bottle of lemonade or fizzy drink.
Enjoy Healthy Eating
Although you should limit your intake of refined sugar, a moderate amount will not cause you any harm if you are eating a healthy, balanced diet. The danger is if you eat a lot of sugary food and drink at the expense of more nutritious food choices. You will be taking in empty calories, filling up on food that is of no nutritional value, and you could also be causing permanent damage to your teeth. It is, therefore, worth it to make an effort to consume less sugar.
By making a few changes to what you eat and drink, you’ll soon notice you’re not craving sugar so much, you’re trying new foods, and your health and energy levels overall are improving. Get rid of the cakes and biscuits you keep in the office for break time and replace them with healthier alternatives like the snacks in our Snack Boxes. Get in touch with us today to arrange your first delivery.