How To Eat for Energy When You Work in an Office

Working in an office often involves long hours at a desk with very minimal movement throughout the day. You may find yourself mindlessly munching on office snacks throughout the day, even if you’re not truly hungry. This sedentary lifestyle and constant snacking can make maintaining energy levels a challenge. However, with the right nutritional strategies, you can eat for energy and boost productivity. 

1. Start Your Day With a Balanced Breakfast

There’s a reason people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A balanced breakfast is crucial for kick-starting your metabolism and providing the energy needed to tackle the day. Opt for a meal that includes protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. 

For example, a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries, nuts, honey and a dollop of Greek yogurt can provide a great start. Eggs, Greek yogurt or a protein smoothie are excellent protein sources, while avocados, nuts and seeds offer healthy fats. Whole-grain toast, oatmeal or fruit can provide the necessary complex carbs to keep you energized. These meals contain foods that give you energy and you can prepare these meals ahead of time and grab them as you rush out the door in the morning.

2. Sip on Water Throughout the Day

Hydration is another key factor. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased concentration, so aim to drink 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men throughout the day. Keep a water bottle at your desk and set reminders to take sips regularly. If you struggle with water, herbal teas or infused water with slices of fruit can make hydration more enjoyable. 

3. Munch on Small Snacks

A mid-morning snack like a handful of almonds and an apple or a mid-afternoon snack of carrot sticks with hummus can keep energy levels stable and hunger at bay. These snacks provide a good balance of protein, healthy fats and fiber, which sustains energy and prevents cravings. 

4. Choose Complex Carbs

Choosing complex carbs over refined ones can provide a steady energy release, helping you avoid spikes and crashes in blood sugar. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat bread, as well as vegetables like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots and butternut are excellent sources.

5. Opt for Lean Protein Sources

Including lean protein sources such as grilled chicken breast, turkey, tofu or fish in your meals is essential for muscle repair and sustained energy. Beans and legumes like lentils and chickpeas are also great protein sources. You can also sip on a protein shake as a snack, to help you feel more satiated. 

6. Go for Healthy Fats

Healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butter and olive oil are crucial for brain function and satiety. Incorporating these healthy fats into your meals can keep you full and satisfied, reducing the temptation to reach for unhealthy snacks.

7. Avoid Empty Calories

Empty calories come from foods and drinks high in sugar and unhealthy fats but low in nutritional value. Examples include candy, sugary beverages and processed snacks. These foods cause your blood sugar to spike and then quickly crash, causing increased hunger later in the day and leaving you feeling tired and unfocused. 

8. Limit Sugar and Refined Carbs 

Limiting sugar and refined carbs is important because they can lead to quick energy spikes followed by sharp crashes. Aim to avoid bringing candy, sweets, white bread and sugar drinks to the office. Rather, keep these as treats once a week. Opting for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation is a much better choice.

9. Be Mindful of Your Caffeine Intake

While caffeine can give you a temporary boost, relying on it too much can lead to energy crashes. Try to limit your coffee intake and avoid it later in the day to prevent sleep disturbances. Herbal teas or decaffeinated coffee are good alternatives. 

10. Take Breaks and Move

Sitting at a desk for eight hours of the day leaves little time for movement. However, taking regular breaks and moving around is crucial for keeping those energy levels up. Stand up, stretch and take a short walk every hour to stay focused. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park a little further away from your building’s entrance to get some extra steps in.

11. Plan and Prep Your Meals

Planning and prepping meals can help you make healthier choices and avoid unhealthy office snacks. Prepare meals and snacks in advance to bring to work, and keep healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, yogurt and popcorn at your desk. Here are some meal ideas you can prep for those long office days:


  • Overnight oats with chia seeds, plant milk and fresh fruit
  • Greek yogurt parfait with granola, honey and mixed fruits
  • Whole-grain wrap with scrambled eggs, chopped veggies, spinach and avocado

Mid-Morning Snacks

  • Apple slices with almond or peanut butter
  • Protein shake with almond milk
  • Handful of mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • Veggie sticks with hummus


  • Quinoa salad with grilled chicken, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and a lemon-olive oil dressing
  • Turkey and avocado sandwich on whole-grain bread with a side of mixed greens
  • Brown rice bowl with tofu, steamed broccoli, carrots and a sesame-ginger dressing

Afternoon Snacks

  • Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of granola
  • Whole-grain crackers with cheese
  • Smoothie with spinach, banana, protein powder and almond milk

Dinner (if you’re staying late at the office)

  • Grilled salmon with quinoa and steamed asparagus
  • Chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice
  • Lentil soup with a side of whole-grain bread

These meals include a balance of nutrients from foods that give you energy and sustain your levels throughout the day.

What’s the Best Diet for Working in an Office?

A balanced diet is the best diet for working in an office, as including all the macronutrients keeps you fuller for longer. A mix of carbs, fats and proteins keeps your energy levels stable throughout the day and boosts productivity. 

Stay Nourished and Energized

Maintaining high energy levels is essential for getting your work done. While it may seem challenging, especially with limited movement and the temptation of office snacks, it’s achievable with mindful eating habits. 

Beth Rush
Author: Beth Rush

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