By Patti Miller, RDN
Is free food a perk at your place of work? The employer’s goal is to keep employees happy and on-campus. But are “Taco Tuesdays”, “Bagel Wednesdays”, and “Pizza Fridays” really making a positive contribution to your health and happiness? Do the never-empty bowls of jelly beans and chocolates really improve your productivity?
According to an article from ScienceDaily.com, employees spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting in front of a screen. The combination of inactivity, unhealthy snacking, and workplace stress can contribute to an unhealthy waistline and an increased risk for lifestyle-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Here are some simple steps to help you reduce snacking at the office and regain your healthy habits.
- Have a plan. If you know it’s a special occasion and you’ll be lunching with colleagues, start your day off with a healthy and filling breakfast. Choose plenty of protein and fiber: eggs with whole grain toast, unsweetened oatmeal with fresh berries and nuts, or a handful of almonds thrown into plain yogurt. This will help prevent you from overeating during the celebration.
- Bring snacks with you to the office. Pack a baggie of raw vegetables and a couple tablespoons of hummus. A piece of fruit and a handful of nuts is another good snack.
- Monitor your portion sizes. If pizza is your favorite treat, then join your co-workers on Fridays. But indulge in only one slice, and bring your own side salad.
- Get up from your desk. Take a walk after lunch and get up from your desk every hour.
- Consider getting a standing desk. According to an article in Live Science, studies have shown a daily increase of 50-100 calories burned when using a standing desk for part of your day.
- Identify triggers for mindless snacking. Do you snack because of stress, tiredness, or boredom? If you have the 3PM munchies, try adding some protein to your lunch. Protein can help you feel “full” longer.
Identify one unhealthy behavior you can change and commit to it! Eating healthy can be challenging, but with a solid plan in place, you will be able to turn “Taco Tuesdays” into “Walnut Wednesdays” with ease!
About the author:
Patti Miller is a Registered Dietitian having completed her B.S. in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics as well as a dietetic internship. Patti’s professional background includes clinical nutrition support within hospitals and inpatient facilities as well as outpatient counseling and home care visits. Patti has worked as a consultant for BaySport providing one-on-one counseling. She has consulted with private fitness clients and provided nutritional assessments for a healthy, ready-to-cook meal preparation service. She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and California Dietetics Association. Patti enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two sons and enjoys weight training, golf, games and travel.
British Psychological Society (BPS). (2012, January 15). Office workers spend too much time at their desks, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 14, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210203.htm
Live Science, (November 14, 2017). Trying to Stand More at Work? Here’s How Many More Calories You’ll Burn https://www.livescience.com/60940-sitting-standing-calories.html