We all have our little aids that keep us ticking along, tapping that keyboard, making the magic runes do the things. This blog will make me sound very British, and may make you hungry, but here are my five best fuels that keep me making sarcastic comments and writing code when I start to lag on the long days:
A mainstay of vending machines worldwide, few people will argue with chocolate being on this list. Whilst not quite as effective as a shot of adrenaline to the heart, the tiny burst of energy that chocolate can give you (both mentally and literally) in combination with the sweet addictive taste explosion in your mouth, can reinvigorate you to solve that hard bug you’ve been working on or keep you awake in that boring meeting you’re not sure why you have to attend.
Personal favourites in case you want to send me a care package include Bounty, Boost, Twix, and peppermint cremes.
2. Tea & Coffee
What “best fuels” list couldn’t at least mention tea & coffee? These drinks are staples of not just developers, but almost all professions. They aren’t just passing fads either (looking at you kale smoothies), as they’ve been around for many, many years; wars have been fought over this stuff (no I’m not kidding)!
Being British, I of course like tea, with my personal favourite blend being a good cuppa Lady Grey (think Earl Grey but Orange flavoured). Coffee-wise I tend to avoid the “rich, dark roast” that’s supposed to be the pinnacle of sophistry, and head towards the milky or sweeter options like Lattes and Mochas.
3. Small Fruit & Berries
Although they can leave a mess if you aren’t careful, bite-size fruits and berries are brilliant things to idly eat whilst your brain crunches some numbers. Blueberries are a favourite of mine, and also widely believed to be extremely good for helping you focus and remember things better. Cherry tomatoes are another favourite, being a bit cheaper to buy than blueberries whilst maintaining a number of health benefits over gorging on chocolate all of the time.
4. Biscuits & Bite-size Cakes
More sweets you say? Don’t mind if I do!
Whilst full-size cakes are very nice, particularly those made by us as a part of our fortnightly “baking buddies” initiative, they can sometimes be a bit much – you can’t really nibble at a slice of cake (unless you have a hitherto unheard of amount of self-control). Small bite-size squares of flapjack or brownie fit the ticket “just right” for satiating the need for cake whilst not detracting from you ability to type on a keyboard for more than a couple of seconds.
Biscuits also share this trait of being able to be eaten in one bite, though offer a different taste and texture to stop you getting burnt out on cake. Custard Creams are one of the staple options of the traditional “tea and biscuits”, and are also perfect for sharing with co-workers when trying to design a feature (they also come in massive bulk packets for very cheap so are a very frugal treat!).
A shout-out also has to go to the good old Jaffa Cake: it’s hard to walk into an office carrying a box of Jaffa Cakes without your co-workers watching you with daggers in their eyes, as if daring you not to share them. Jaffa Cakes also don’t really leave crumbs everywhere, which is a definite plus!
Definitely more of a “get you started in the morning” treat, many people have pastries as a hot and hearty breakfast to power them through their “waking up” period. Pastries do however a) smell quite strongly, b) leave your fingers greasy, and c) leave crumbs everywhere. The first two points though do help contribute to their tastiness!
I’m sure many of your have toyed with the idea of getting a pizza delivered to the office on a Friday for lunch (if not actually done it!). Pizza unfortunately has a number of downsides: it’s greasy, it’s salty, and it’s comparatively more expensive.
Ah, the lovely smell of fresh chips, nothing can quite beat it. That lovely smell will however waft not just throughout your office, but to all neighbouring offices, causing even the most devout dieter to salivate at the mouth. Like pizza, chips tend to also be pretty greasy, which can make your desk, keyboard, and mouse horrifying things to look closely at.
Although some people love their crisps, nobody can deny that unless you’re some sort of eating auteur, you can’t eat crisps without them getting stuck in your teeth and crumbs going everywhere.
So there you have it – my list of the 5 best food sources to fuel me through a tough afternoon of writing code. What are your go-to snacks when you need an energy or mental boost?!