By: Elaine Minden RD, LD
Opportunities for unhealthy grazing are plentiful in most office environments. Whether it’s out of stress, boredom, or the fact that one of your coworkers has brought in a delicious treat to share it can be hard to resist those temptations. Consider these ways to curb those impulses to nibble and choose smarter snack options when at the office.
Stash your own healthy munchies: Keep a stockpile of healthy, non-perishable snacks in a drawer or cabinet in your workspace, or utilize the office fridge or freezer to store some cold foods if they’re available. That way when your office mate keeps a bowl of candy on their desk that screams out to you each time you walk by you instead have more nutritious alternatives to turn to. They’ll be at the ready when you need a little afternoon pick-me-up. Snacks like nuts, low-sodium turkey jerky, dried fruit, string cheese, and frozen edamame are smart choices that also keep well.
Brown Bag your lunch: Eating a solid, well-balanced meal mid-day can help fight those afternoon snack cravings. When you make your own you not only save money but you also have complete control over what goes in that meal. Aim to include a source of lean protein, vegetables, and a whole grain or fruit at lunch. If you tend to be crunched for time in the mornings try to make your lunch the night before when you have the time to think a balanced meal through.
Keep those tempting foods out of sight and out of reach: If you can’t easily spy or reach for those candies then they are much less likely to be enticing. Make the unhealthy snacks you crave for at work harder to get to by putting them in a drawer, a colored container rather than a clear one, or try not to bring them to work at all. Resist the urge to slip into the conference room or break room after lunch to snag a leftover slice of pizza or a cookie from the lunch time meeting. Take a few breaths and remember that you’re not hungry. Each time you resist that craving you are building a healthy habit!
Go for a walk:But not past the vending machine. Take a short break after lunch to walk for 10 min to resist any post-meal cravings. It’s also a great way to relieve stress from work. If you can’t get outside try walking up and down the hallways or stairs. Enlist in a walking buddy or start a walking club with coworkers for an extra layer of accountability.
Stay hydrated: Sometimes our bodies mistake thirst for hunger and leave us reaching for snacks. When you find yourself succumbing to a craving first try to stop and drink a glass of water. Wait 15 min and ask yourself if you are still hungry. If so, then grab one of those healthy snacks you stashed in a desk drawer to hold you over until your next balanced meal!
photo credit: stevendepolo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10506540@N07/29104083194″>Plain and Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Robinettes</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>