Here are some tips that can help accomplish what may seem impossible: eating healthfully at the office.
Plan for success
Whether it be “Donut Thursday,” an office potluck or a birthday celebration, go into the event with a mental game plan. Knowing that you will enjoy a treat is the cue to pack a nutritious breakfast that morning which may prevent you from over-doing-it during the celebration. Choose plenty of protein and fiber, like eggs with whole grain toast, unsweetened oatmeal with fresh berries or a handful of almonds thrown into plain yogurt.
Create a healthy day-to-day environment
If the snack-stash is an arm’s length from your desk, you may want to skootch it away. Having nutritious snacks, such as nuts or fresh fruits, are helpful to ward off the urge for a vending machine, but can also make us prone to mindless eating. Keep healthy snacks around, but place them in a spot that makes you stand to retrieve them. Those extra steps allow you precious seconds to determine if you are truly hungry or just bored.
Keep a budget
Sneaking away to the vending machine can add up. It’s easy to spend money on impulse decisions and a growling stomach will weaken your ability to make smart choices. If you are not good at tracking your food choices, try keeping a record of how you are spending your money. By bringing healthy foods from home you could find a few extra bucks in your wallet at the end of the work week. This will also help reduce how much added sugar sneaks into your diet.
Remember, we are striving for progress, not perfection. All foods can responsibly fit into a healthy diet. By making smart choices most of the time our bodies will be able to handle an occasional office treat. Happy snacking!
If you’re interested in learning more about this or any other nutrition-related topic, contact your local VA and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.
Bethany Grzesiak is a clinical dietitian at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center who works directly with Veterans enrolled in the TeleMOVE! Weight Management Program. She has had the wonderful opportunity of also working with and learning from the dietitians at the Cleveland Louis Stokes VA Hospital and Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan.