If you find that you can’t stop unhealthy snacking at work, keep these tips from Self in mind.
“When you pack your lunch at home, you generally make it when you’re full either after dinner or after breakfast the day of,” says Brian Wansink, director of Cornell’s Food & Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design. “This means you tend to make healthier choices than if you were to purchase lunch when you’re hungry.” No time? Prep on Sundays, take leftovers or try one of these 10-minute lunch ideas.
Eat Anywhere But At Your Desk
Working through lunch may make you feel like an office rockstar, but it can encourage you to unconsciously snack later. “When we desk-eat, we tend to reward ourselves later with extra food for having ‘given up’ our lunch hour,” explains Wansink. If you can’t get away altogether, at least sit somewhere other than at your computer, such as a conference or break room, Wansink suggests.
Fill 15 Minutes
Ignoring your co-worker’s birthday donuts could make you crave them more. “Those who had a small taste of a desired food and then distracted themselves with a phone call or other task for 15 minutes felt satiated and didn’t feel the need to indulge more,” says Wansink. So have a treat and then dive into a project, meet with a cube-mate or take a walk outside. A study from University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk cut snacking at work by 50 percent.
Swap H20 for Coffee
Rather than carrying a cup of java to every meeting, tote a bottle of water. A Virginia Tech study found that people who drank 2 cups of water before every meal lost an average of 15.5 pounds after two weeks. “Even the slightest amount of dehydration can be confused with feelings of hunger, which may result in eating unnecessary calories,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN.
Have a Handful of Pistachios
They’ll satisfy your 3 PM munchies and keep you fuller longer than something out of the vending machine. “Nut for nut, pistachios provide more to snack on than any other,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD. “Forty-nine pistachios have 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein whereas you can only have 23 almonds for the same nutrients and calories.”
Bypass the Candy Dish
“Every office seems to have a candy bowl, and walking by it often invites grab-and-go snacking,” says Zuckerbrot. The farther away a food is, the less likely you are to eat it, so make sure it’s in another department, and take the long way around it if you have trouble resisting. Just think: You’ll sneak in a few more steps this way, too.
Bring Flowers, Not Cake
Marking birthdays, holidays, promotions, and work wins with colleagues is important¨Cbut try to make the festivities less food-centric. “Create an office culture that doesn’t embrace cupcakes for celebrations,” suggests Caroline Cederquist, MD, author of The MD Factor Diet. “Plan active events to celebrate a co-worker’s success instead of just a feast.”
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