By Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
If your workplace is undermining your diet, you’re not alone. I have worked in health care facilities for 21 years, and even hospitals and fitness facilities reward staff with unhealthy foods!
When it’s your birthday, coworkers bring in cake or take you out to lunch. When the company does well, you have an ice cream social or a pizza lunch.
Take control! Resist workplace temptations. Lead the brigade to change the culture of eating at work!
I have a recent example from my own experience. A coworker was heading to the cafeteria for a mid-day snack and asked me if I would like a cookie. I responded, “No thank you, I’m trying to eat healthy.” She came back to the office with a healthier snack!
You can make a difference!
Common workplace temptations and solutions:
- Donuts: Resist the urge to begin your day with a sugary, high-fat donut. Often when you start your day with something unhealthy, a snowball effect occurs and you eat poorly the rest of the day. Fight back! Eat a healthy breakfast before work or bring healthy foods with you. If you feel satisfied in the morning, you will be much less likely to cave to the box of donuts calling to you from the break room.
- Pizza: Ordering pizza during the work hours is a bad idea. Pizza is high in calories, fat, and sodium and low in fiber. A single slice of cheese has 240 calories – and most people eat at least 3 slices! If you do succumb to pizza at work, limit yourself to one slice and supplement your meal with a piece of fresh fruit, a big salad that is light on the dressing, or some fresh carrot sticks.
- Candy: Candy dishes are commonly found on desks throughout workplaces. Arm yourself with information! If you know that 9 Hershey’s Kisses have 200 calories, you may think twice before eating so many in the afternoon!
- Potlucks: Celebrating events such as retirements and holidays with a potluck meal is a frequent occurrence at workplaces. But, watch out! Potlucks often result in mindless overeating. Fill your plate with foods following the “choose my plate method.” Dedicate 1/2 of your plate to fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate to a protein (lean meat, beans, or tofu) and the final 1/4 to a whole grain (whole wheat pasta or quinoa salads are great choices). Limit yourself to one plate of food. To ensure healthier choices, bring healthy foods to the potluck!
Change your workplace culture!
Try changing the culture at your workplace from the bottom up. Encourage coworkers to make healthy choices, and do not tempt others by having a candy dish on your desk. Instead of ordering pizza or other unhealthy foods, encourage ordering foods from restaurants that offer healthy choices. Finally, when celebrating with food, bring a healthy option that everyone can benefit from enjoying.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|