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Do you want to eat healthy at work? If your workplace hasn't jumped on the "healthy eating" bandwagon, you're likely fighting temptation daily when you walk by the sugary processed snacks.
I've been there and I know it's HARD! Kudos to you for reading this post and for being willing to make eating healthy at work a priority in your life. Here are 12 ideas to help you move towards healthy snacking at work!
Saying "no" is Hard
When I was working my office job (before I decided to stay home with my kiddos), there would often be a box of donuts or a dozen cupcakes a few desks down from mine. They always showed up when a new employee joined the company as a "celebration" and encouragement to say "hi" to them.
But what started as a somewhat rare thing started getting more common. On someone's birthday doughnuts would show up. Or right after a holiday, leftover pie and holiday cookies appeared.
I would get wafts of the doughnut/frosting smell ALL. DAY. LONG. It was an exercise in extreme self control to stay at my desk and not go hang out by the maple bars....just to see what they look like up close (as if I don't already know). I knew how they would make me feel, and it certainly wouldn't help me in my goals to eat healthy at work.
12 Tips to Help You Eat Healthy at Work
Relying ONLY on your strong will power to avoid junk food at work sure makes life hard. Try out these ideas to make your life a little easier. Here are some tips to keep you on track with eating healthy real food, avoiding processed food, and feeling good when you're at work.
- Ask for healthy options. It might feel like it sometimes, but you're NOT the only one trying to eat healthy food at work. Talk to your HR department or your boss about the benefits of healthy snacks. Do your homework and come prepared with evidence that sugar leads to disease. Remind them that diseases keep their workers from doing their jobs and in the long run, healthy snacks can really help the company. A lot of companies are seeing the benefits of healthy employees nowadays.
- Move the doughnut box to somewhere farther away (and not in your line of sight/smell). Talk to people and tell them you're working hard to change your eating habits, and it's important that the donuts are NOT right where you can see them throughout the whole day.
- Work from home. If working from home is an option, do it! Having control of your surroundings is a huge help.
- Move your desk. If you can't work from home, and you can't move the temptation, try moving to a different desk somewhere else. I did this in my company when a desk opened up. I asked, and they said yes. It never hurts to ask!
- Shift your work schedule. If the donuts are only there between 8 and 10AM, come in at 9 and know you'll need some self control to make it only the first hour of the day.
- Bring your own snacks. If you're a snacker and want to find healthier snacks to bring, bring fruit and vegetables from home.
- Come to work full and prepared with healthy food. Think about the food you'll need for the day. Come to work full or with your healthy breakfast in hand. Bring healthy snacks for the rest of the day.
- Have someone keep you accountable. Have a friend in your office or out of the office who checks in to make sure you're staying on track to meet your goals.
- Take the long way to the printer. The extra steps are good for you, and the less you walk RIGHT by the box of doughnuts, the more likely you are to succeed in avoiding them.
- Reward your self control. "I'm not going to give in now, so that I can ____ later." Reward yourself with healthy food like fresh berries, or a hot bath and a glass of wine after dinner, or maybe the only reward you need is a pat on the back for another successful pass by the cupcakes empty handed.
- Practice mindful eating. If you do grab one, don't plop it into your mouth right away. Go back to your desk and put it somewhere out of sight. Think about how it will make you feel, and think about how "future you" would react to your choice.
- Give up your snacking habit. Some people like the all-or-nothing approach best. If snacks are your weakness, consider cutting all snacks. Instead, bring an extra healthy meal to work. Then you can plan out when you'll eat your meals based on when you typically get snacky.
Keep it up - It's worth the effort
Whatever you do, keep up the good work. And before you know it, people around you will start asking if something's different about you. Maybe you'll lose a few pounds or you'll just be a more joyful person.
Food is so powerful. And I hope you experience the empowering feeling of taking control of what you're eating. It's worth the effort and the extra time to make healthy snacks and meals at home.