How to Avoid the Trenches of Unhealthy Office Eating

As we make our way through spring, you can’t help but have the greener and sunnier pastures of summer on your mind.  As the temperature climbs, the spreadsheet on your computer starts to look WAY less appealing than your daydream about basking in the sun on a sandy beach.  And then walks in Marsha from Finance with a box of Krispy Kremes, gingerly setting them on the desk adjacent to yours (did she do that on purpose?) and your daydream starts to dissolve into thin air.  One of swimsuit season’s mortal enemies, besides Christmas and Thanksgiving, is unhealthy office snacking.  Just think.  It is a year-round threat to your waste line, not a periodic holiday!  You likely spend your 9-5 around tempting boxes of donuts and bagels, a break room filled with baked treats the receptionist had leftover from her weekend cookout (and she just “happened” to overestimate her guest list by three chocolate cakes?), and a vending machine full of everything sweet, salty, and caloric for you to pick at throughout the day. It has all the makings of a cruel sabotage; eating healthy in the office can feel like you’re dodging bullets out there!

Here are some of our tips on avoiding the landmines of bad eating decisions cornering you in your cubicle, so your office snacking habits don’t turn your summer dreams into nightmares!

Bring your own lunch.
Lunch boxes and brown paper bags need not be merely the devices of middle schoolers.  Packing your own lunch gives you the most control possible over what you are ingesting every day.  Fill your lunch with healthy options rich in nutrients and low in fat (but appetizing enough that you won’t just drop it in the trash and pretend it never existed as soon as someone else in the office suggests an outing to Fuddruckers).  Eating out and staying healthy can be almost as challenging as taking your chances in the office, so the more you can bring your lunch instead of going out to control what you are eating, the more your waist line (and wallet) will thank you.

Bring your own snacks.  And snack responsibly.
As with the aforementioned tip, filling your bottom drawer with snacks you have already designated for healthy eating gives you more control over what food you have at your disposal.  When you run into a 3:00 snack craving, left to the mercy of the vending machine, you will be cornered by such options as Gardetto’s and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies (we can here your bikini crying now).  However, make sure that having bottom drawer access to snacks does not result in you having a snack in your hand from the time you clock in to the time you clock out.  Five 100 calorie packs is still 500 calories.  Do snack periodically to give you energy throughout the day and prevent binging at main meals, but make sure to snack responsibly.

Guzzle that H20.
Are YOU drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day?  If not, then you should; and not because we say so, but because health experts say so.  If the nasty side effects of dehydration (think headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, and the like) aren’t enough of a deterrent to keep you reaching for the H20, also remember that filling your body with water means you aren’t filling it with WORSE items for you.  Keeping hydrated can curb your appetite, but is also simply vital to your overall health.  Keep a water bottle at your desk for easy access.  Set little goals to finish your bottle by certain points throughout the day, and then take a break for a refill.  Kill two birds with one bird by staving off boredom AND hunger!

Willpower buddy.
If YOUR backbone isn’t quite strong enough to withstand that mountain of confetti cupcakes for Sally’s birthday, maybe it is time for some reinforcement.  Find a buddy in the office who is willing to make a health pact with you, and it might be easier to stop the mob snacking mentality. (“Well if EVERYONE’S grabbing a brownie, I might as well…”)  Your willpower buddy can be the person who stays back at the office with you to eat your brown bag meal when everyone’s gone to lunch.  Or to drive to Jamba Juice with you when everyone else is headed to Olive Garden.  Strength in numbers, my friends.

And if strength lies in numbers, create a healthy office revolution!
But just remember, not EVERYONE will want to get on board, and it’s best not to be annoyingly pushy.  Not everyone wants to trade their eclair for some organic oatmeal, so be cognizant of others’ personal choices.  However, there is no harm in trying to infect your office with a little dose of healthy snacking.  In fact, wellness in the workplace is a hot topic right now, and companies everywhere are actually making it an initiative to start emphasizing healthy eating.  Why not start the trend at your office?  Again, no need to go slapping Cheeto bags out of your coworkers’ hands, but bringing in fruits, whole grain snack bars, and other healthy foods to slip into the breakroom every now and again gives your peers healthy options, should they so choose to join you on your health-conscious endeavor.

Now go forth!  Snack healthy, and enjoy your summer!

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