Snacking: The Friend Of Sedentary office Workers

Snacking will always be part of the human life and this is because the human body is designed to receive signals for the need to eat and some people respond to this signal by snacking (Hunter, Meredith and Mason 2010). Snacking is good but it depends on the type of snacks consumed. Numerous studies suggest that healthy snacking that includes proteins will reduce hunger and prevent overeating (Hark and Deen 2007). Randomised trial by Douglas et al. (2013:117) compared low protein, moderate protein and high protein snacks versus no snacking among 15 participants and they concluded that including high protein snacks reduces appetite and, prevents further snacking and overeating.

Although healthy snacking is good, most people consume unhealthy snacks such as biscuits, chocolate bars, crisps, sugary drinks and these unhealthy snacks lack adequate nutrients. This is because it mostly contains large amount of fats (especially saturated fats), sugar and salt (Hunter, Meredith and Mason 2010). Continues consumption of these unhealthy snacks will have negative effect on the human body, for example there is an association between excessive sugar intake and body weight (Hark and Deen 2007). Meta-analysis by Vatanian, Schwartz and Brownell (2007: 97) examined 88 studies about the effect of sugar-sweetened drinks on health found clear evidence that sugary drinks increased energy intake and body weight.

Unhealthy snacking is particularly common among sedentary office workers as a result of the nature of their job. Some of the reasons for snacking include boredom, stress, time limitation and office celebration.
Why do you snack? Ask yourself that what is the reason behind your snacking choices at the office.

Sedentary office workers are workers who spend less energy at their work place as a result of sitting for longer periods at their work place. Buckley et al (2015:2) commissioned by Public Health England reported that, office workers spend 65-75% of their working hours sitting. Some of the sedentary office workers include accountant, receptionist, bankers and they normally spend 8 hours or more per day at the work place (Hark and Deen 2007).

They spend most of their time sitting around their desk utilising less energy and they have less movement and most of them snack a lot with extra snacks in their drawers in which they can easily access it (Healey et al 2013). The effect of being sedentary increases the risk of back pains, slow metabolism, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (Healey et al 2013). Systematic review of longitudinal studies by Thorp et al. (2011:41) analysed 48 studies published between 1996 and 2011 about the relationship between sedentary behaviours and subsequent health outcomes, found significant evidence that high levels of sedentary behaviour increased the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular related diseases.

To reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular related diseases, Sedentary Office Workers should have a healthy friendship with snacking (healthy snacking). Start your healthy snacking by following these 7 steps:

Step 1

Make your mind up that you will be changing your behaviour towards snacking and start by reducing the amount of unhealthy snacking.

Step 2

List all the unhealthy snacks you having been eating and storing in your office drawer.

Step 3

Swap the unhealthy ones for healthy ones. For example swap chocolate bars for carrot sticks.

Step 4

Plan ahead for your healthy snacks by having snacking goals. That is you should know exactly what you will be snacking on at the office. Remember to go for smaller sizes or portions during office celebrations.
You can also pack your own snacks for office celebrations.

Step 5

Start reading food labels and avoid buying unhealthy snacks which contain high amount of sugar, salt and saturated fats. Only store nutritious healthy snacks in your drawer.

Step 6

Include lots of drinking water and moving your body such as using the stairs or going for a walk during lunch breaks as part of your healthy snacking goals.

Step 7

Avoid false claims about snacking by seeking information about healthy snacking ideas from reputable sources such as British Dietetics Association or the Nutrition Foundation website.
The following are examples of 7 healthy and nutritious snacking ideas:
Strawberries with low fat probiotic yogurt.
Avocado slices with plain rice cake.
Banana and low fat probiotic yogurt.
Papaya and pineapple smoothie made with semi-skimmed milk.
A handful of mixed nuts and raisins.
Apple and a handful of plain almonds.
Hard boiled egg salad.

Below is a video made to support this 7 healthy snacking ideas.

Every little change you make towards your healthy snacking goals will be beneficial to your health. Invest in your health by becoming friends with healthy snacking ideas and remember to be creative.


Buckley, J. P., Hedge, A., Yates, T., Copeland, R. J., Loosemore, M., Hamer, M., ,6 Bradley, G and Dunstan, D. W. (2015) The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. Consensus Statement [online] 0:1-6 available from <> [26 March 2015]

Douglas, M. S., Ortinau, C. L., Hoertel, H. A and Leidy, H. J. (2013) Low, moderate, or high protein yogurt snacks on appetite control and subsequent eating in healthy women. Appetite 60: 117-122 [online] available <> [1 January 2013]

Hark, L and Deen (2007) Nutrition for life. UK: Dorling Kindersley.

Healy, G. N., Eakin, E.G., LaMontagne, A.D., Owen, N., Winkler, E.A.H, Wiesner, G., Gunning, L., Neuhaus, M., Lawler, S., Fjeldsoe, B. S and Dunstan, D.W (2013) Reducing sitting time in office workers: Short-term efficacy of a multicomponent intervention. Preventive Medicine [online] 57:43-48 available from <> [15 April 2013]

Hunter, F., Meredith, S and Mason, P (2010) FOODS THAT HARM FOODS THAT HEAL: An A-Z guide to safe and healthy eating. Australia: Readers Digest

Thorp, A. A., Owen, N., Neuhaus, M and Dunstan, D.W. (2011) Sedentary Behaviors and Subsequent Health Outcomes in Adults A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies, 1996 - 2011. American Journal of Preventive Medicine [online] 41 (2): 207-215 available from <file:///C:/Users/Linda/Downloads/1-s2.0-S0749379711003126-main%20(1).pdf> [2011]

Vartanian, L. R., Schwartz, M. B and Kelly D. Brownell, PhD (2007) Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health [online] 97:667-675 available from <> [April 2007]

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