A beginners’ guide to sitting pretty

Spending hours on end at your desk staring at a screen is notoriously bad for your health. Leading nutritionist Jess Scott gives her top food tips for staying healthy and energetic while stuck in the office.

Keep a healthy stash of mixed nuts and seeds at your desk – the key to healthy snacking is thinking ahead and being organised. Top tip: nuts can be on the pricey side when bought in small batches from supermarkets. You can pick up 1kg bags of mixed nuts from Whole Foods Online (available through Amazon) and keep them in your desk drawer for when hunger strikes.

The brain that controls your every thought is made up of 76%, so sipping on water throughout the day is a must if you want to stay alert. If you’re not a natural water drinker, add a “WATER” memo to your online calendar at hourly intervals or add a sticky note on your computer screen to remind you until it becomes a habit.

If you’re going for a client lunch do some menu research beforehand and decide what you’re having in advance. Your food choices will wiser when you use your brain to steer your food selections rather than your tummy & hunger hormones. The latter combination is usually more than a match for the average person’s willpower.

Sweet talk your boss into getting a fruit bowl in the office – lots of companies offer this facility and it’s about time we all got on board. Fruits offer countless nutritional benefits and they can be used in breakfasts, as snacks and in salads (chopped pears are delicious) so let your boss know they won’t go to waste.

For keeping blood sugar and energy levels on an even keel, stick to our English fruits – that’s apples, pears, plums, cherries & berries rather than the more exotic fruits like pineapples, melons and mangoes. The explanation behind this is in the biochemistry of the fruit. The English fruits mentioned contain a sugar which spikes blood sugar levels less quickly compared to your typically more exotic fruits. The less we spike our blood sugar the less chance we have of a resultant energy crash afterwards.

To keep your blood and nutrients flowing to your extremities, sometimes your body can do with a little helping hand. Sprinting down the stairs and back up to your desk again is a really quick way to boost blood circulation and handstands too, though for the purpose of fitting in with normal office behaviour, I would stick with a brisk walk up and down the stairs.

It you’re sat at your desk all day, then the sugar and energy consumed in a fruit juice will be stored by your liver around your abdominal region for later use. Top tip: don’t drink calories, unless it’s post workout. Stick to water in between times or vegetable juices which contain less sugar and keep to whole fruits which contain fibre and roughage rather than their juiced versions which have their fibre removed as a result of the juicing process.

I would keep a packet of milled seed, high quality protein powder and a protein shake shaker (or a wide rimmed flask would do the job) in your desk drawer for those emergency occasions when there’s no getting away from your desk. Shake up one scoop of protein and one tablespoon of seeds with filtered or bottled water in true mixologist fashion and you have yourself a nutrient dense, protein filled snack that lasts.