When you work in an office, it seems there’s always some tempting food being offered up in the breakroom. And while indulging in an occasional slice of birthday cake for a coworker’s celebration isn’t a big deal, all that workplace snacking is taking its toll on our waistlines. According to a recent study from the CDC, during any given week, employees consume 1,300 calories worth of food and drinks in the office that are “high in empty calories, sodium, and refined grains.” So basically, all those free snacks and meeting pizza is catching up to us.
Saying no to the cupcakes in the office kitchen is one way to eat smarter at work, but nutritionistCarolyn Brownwarns we also need to avoid what she calls “mindless munching” - snacking at our desks without paying attention to what we’re shoving in our mouths. And to beat the temptation of the vending machine or other office goodies, she suggests these picks for stocking your desk.
- A smarter salt fix- If crackers and chips are your go-to snacks then try a healthy alternative like popcorn or nut and seed-based crackers that will satisfy your salty craving. And if you don’t need the crunch, olives are a nutritious swap too.
- Go for whole foods- Ditch the packages and focus on “real” foods for “dining al desko.” Keep things healthy with nuts, seeds, a piece of fruit, carrots, and cucumber slices.
- Pile on the protein- when that afternoon slump hits, snack on some protein for a nutritious pick-me-up. Brown likes full-fat Greek yogurt because that healthy fat and protein keeps you full for longer.
- Just desserts- It’s hard to say no to your coworker’s home-baked cookies, but you can avoid temptation by having your own sweet treat on hand. Dark chocolate is a healthy option, just look for one that’s 60% cacao or higher and stick to just a few squares for your snack.
- Busy-day saves- We all have days where taking a real break for lunch just isn’t happening, so be prepared for when that happens and have some “safety snacks” around so you don’t hit the vending machine when your tummy rumbles. A bar made with ingredients you can actually pronounce is ideal for your desk drawer stash.