The Most Productive Snacks To Eat In The Office

May 23 2016

Darren Best

Do you struggle to concentrate during a regular day at the office? Sure, coffee and regular breaks will help you through the day, but what you eat is the most important factor on your performance at work. Our bodies and our brains need the right amount of nourishment at the right times for it to function at high capacity. The question is, what is the most effective fuel for optimal brain power? What’s healthy for you has always been a cause for controversy, as different health bodies suggest conflicting advice on nutrition. A new report from the National Obesity Forum, in the news today has lashed out at previous and current dietary guidelines issued by UK public health bodies. The health charity has argued “eating fat does not make you fat” urging people to eat a diet of full-fat dairy and more ‘whole’ foods to protect the heart, with processed foods labelled as “low fat” and “low cholesterol” should be avoided. The report has received a huge backlash from prominent figures in the science community claiming the report is ‘an opinion piece’ not backed-up by a comprehensive review of evidence. Whether there is truth in the debatable report, we can’t be sure. But what is interesting is the points they put forward that natural and nutritious foods are the most nourishing, wholesome and health-promoting foods. Research in the U.S. of 20,114 employees over 2 years in three different geographical locations showed that employees who ate healthily all day were 25% more likely to perform better at work, those who ate 5 or more portions of fruit and veg at least 4 times a week were 20% more productive. So the research says, that eating healthily will only improve your performance and productivity at work. Despite the fact that our brains account for 2% of our body weight, they consume 20% of our daily calories, so thinking takes a lot of energy, and to function highly it needs a good and constant supply of glucose and fat. It takes 25 grams of glucose to constantly be circulating our blood stream to work best, which is the equivalent of one banana. We’ve rounded up the best foods to include in your office lunchbox for a productive day, all day.

The most productive snacks to eat in the office:

Simple carbs take less time to digest and therefore, make the fuel available to your body quicker. This is because they simple carbs like fructose found in fruit or sucrose from table sugar only requires one step for digestion. It can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via an enzyme in the small intestine transforming the sucrose into glucose and fructose easily.

1. Banana. One regular banana has just over 100 calories, has less than half a gram of fat, 15% of your daily recommended potassium, is high in fibre, Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin C, as well as 1 gram of protein. Making it one of the best snacks to have between meals at the office. Those calories will provide a small boost for your brain alongside the 25 grams of glucose required to power your blood stream at any one time.  

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2. Avocados. One avocado is a brilliant source of natural fats, offering between 20 and 25 grams of fat in each serving. Don’t let the high-fat content scare you though, as it is mostly monounsaturated fats which are good for your heart. It is also high in calories at almost 230 per serving. An avocado has an awesome amount of potassium at 708mg, which is 5% more than the banana (which is often hailed for its potassium-high content). Avocados are rich in dietary fibre, providing 40% of your daily value, 12 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar. Plus 2.9 grams of protein. Being a simple carb, avocados offer easily digestible energy, but their main benefits are of the hunger-reducing kind or satiety due to being higher in fat and fibre meaning they take longer to digest than normal foods. So you can spend less time dwelling on hunger and more on that project.  

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3. Raisins. Otherwise known as dried grapes, you probably had them in your lunchbox at school, but haven’t really thought about them since. 1 ounce of raisins or 28 grams contains 22 grams of carbs, 17 of which are natural sugars. Providing you with a bigger boost of energy than a whole banana, try and not be productive after a handful of these. There is also virtually no fat, over 400mg of potassium, 3 grams of dietary fibre and 1.3 grams of protein.  

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4. Watermelon. This juicy fruit is packed full of Vitamin A, with one wedge or 280 grams containing 32% of your recommended daily value. Vitamin A is great for your vision and health. So can help refresh your eyes after a long day staring at a computer screen. Watermelon also contain a high amount of natural sugar, vitamin C and less than 100 calories per serving. Perfect to up your productivity in the office.  

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5. Sunflower Seeds. One serving or 1 cup of sunflower seeds provides your body with over 80 different nutrients. Delivering over a third of your daily magnesium, which has been proven to promote a good mood will actually put you in a better more productive state of mind. They also contain 24 grams of fat per serving and 4 grams of fibre. Being high in both fats and fibre means they take longer to digest, keeping hunger pangs at bay. Not only that these little seeds pack a whopping 10 grams of protein per serving, providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs for muscle regeneration.  

Image credit to Alexandra Berzhets/

6. Apple. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ the old saying goes. And there is good reason for it too, a medium apple is only 95 calories, and contains 25 grams of carbs, with 19 of which being natural sugars. So they are a great source of energy. But the health benefits are far greater, apples have pectin for healthy digestion, Boron for strong bones and a healthy brain, vitamin C for a boost in immunity AND they actually help clean your teeth. So for better overall health and a fresh mouth, eat an apple after lunch.

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