Nutrition-wise blog

Eating well at work

By Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. April 5, 2016

The break room can be a minefield of tempting, high-calorie foods. Coworkers share cookies or doughnuts or bring in their extra holiday treats. Cakes and snacks celebrate a success. Vending machines are stacked with sodas, chips and candies.

Catered meals for meetings or planned potlucks are a routine part of many work environments. Then there's the office candy jar, like the break room, conveniently located. Add to that the fact that you probably spend most of your day sitting at a desk or in meetings — lots of sitting.

How do you navigate the temptations? Consider a few of these tips to change your workplace into more of a well space.

  • Are you hungry? Specifically, is your stomach growling? This is physical hunger. Eat to satisfy your hunger rather than because something looks good, smells good or is convenient.
  • Steer clear. If the break room has tempting foods, don't go there. Pack your own lunch and healthy snacks, and carry a refillable water bottle.
  • It's a catered affair. Can you get on the meal committee? Request healthier options? Plan potlucks to include lettuce salads, veggies and fruit trays, broth or vegetable-based soups and stews, lean meats and whole-grain options.
  • It's my favorite. Ok, maybe your coworker does make the best brownies. If that's the case, take a reasonable sized one. Observe the color and texture, smell it and eat slowly to savor every morsel.
  • Set the example. Bring in seasonal fruits and vegetables to share.
  • Move. Park a walkable distance from work. Use your breaks for a 10-minute walk a couple of times a day. Walk to a coworker's desk to talk rather than sending an email. Move your printer so you have to walk to it. Stand up and stretch every hour.
  • Make a call. Call the vending machine company and request fruit, low-fat dairy and lower fat options.
  • Think small. Larger serving vessels, utensils and dishes can lend us to serving up larger portions. Have smaller plates on hand to help control portions.
  • Pace yourself. In a busy work environment, you may be distracted and eat too quickly. In a meeting or social setting, pause and reset your pace to slow down and enjoy the food.

Being thoughtful about your food choices and your reasons for eating, and decreasing the time you spend sitting, can make an impact on your wellness. How will you make your workplace a well space?

April 05, 2016