As the Christmas treats start piling up in workplaces around the country, dietician Orla Walsh is here with some top tips for cutting back on seasonal over-snacking.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, she said the best way to office overindulgence in the runup to the holidays is to eat as healthy as possible, as early as possible each day.
When it comes to that 3pm slump, there’s one rule to remember – “Tea is absolutely a gateway drug to biscuits”.
“Research says that we eat more snacks when we have tea as opposed to coffee, and that might be because with coffee, you have things like lattes or cappuccinos or, you know, tasty alternatives to the plain old tea,” she said.
Ms Walsh said that when people switch to herbal tea, they are less likely to accompany it with a biscuit or treat.
“So again, it's these tiny little things changes that you can make and it can make a big difference,” she said.
She said the best thing you can do to avoid snacking is fill up on healthy foods early in the day.
“I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is they have this teeny tiny breakfast or no breakfast at all and then a medium-sized lunch and everything,” she said.
“You know, the majority of the food - maybe even 70% of what they eat in a day - happens after 5pm.
“So, I'd encourage people to look at their breakfast and start adding more food into it.
“So, if you start the day with a decent breakfast and are nice and full from it, then when it comes to lunch, you're not starving.
“So, you're topping up, you're not chasing your hunger for the rest of the day.
“What I mean by a nice decent breakfast is one that's high in fibre and high in protein, and we know that when those two things are added and added in abundance to breakfast time, it really helps curb snacking.”
"Realy big snackers"
Ms Walsh said Irish people are “really big snackers” noting that the “younger we are, the more we tend to snack”.
When it comes to the office, Ms Walsh said there are some obvious things you can do to avoid temptation.
“If they're in sight you're more likely to eat them,” she said. “If they're closer to you, you're more likely to eat them.”
“It is tricky and I think it's kind of like breaking the seal so that if you have a bit of chocolate, maybe you want more and more and more.
“I would encourage people to, you know, have it, but try and have it slowly and not gobble it down.
“I know you know a lot of people would fall victim to that; if you're having something at your desk you might gobble it up quickly and actually look down and see the wrappers and not remember even eating it.
“So, if you are going to have it, just make sure you savour it as much as possible.”