Fighting Food Temptations at Work

Sugary pastries are common to find in the office environment.

There’s a plethora of desserts within an short walk at work. Fighting temptation is difficult!

If you’re like myself and millions of others, you probably spend roughly 40-50 hours per work in an office environment. Working in an office, you are subject to attending office parties, potlucks, and all sorts of “celebrations” and excuses for having food around.

While it’s fun to have office camaraderie, work parties are one of the most difficult temptations to deal with on a regular basis. Convenience and comfort foods are usually the items of choice when people bring in food to share. I’ve lost count of how many store bought plastic containers of cookies, cupcakes, pies, and doughnuts I have walked by.

For anyone on a journey back to health, fitness, and wellness it’s like walking through a minefield. That’s not to say it’s not alright to indulge every so often, but I myself like to give myself some guidelines and arm myself with tools to avoid some bad food choices.

Tip 1: Set Boundaries for Yourself

Setting healthy, realistic boundaries for yourself will create more success when it comes to eating well. It’s okay to indulge occasionally and doing so will help keep you on your path.

It’s unrealistic to say that you will never indulge in having an unhealthy treat every so often. I will often try to limit myself to one in office treat a week. I know my boss brings doughnuts every Friday, so that will usually be my one day of indulgence.

If I know there is a special event like a pot luck or something social where I will be around a lot a tempting food, I will make it my goal to eat well the rest of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast and planning a salad for dinner or a very light meal. I will also try to make sure that I work out that day and push myself a little harder, knowing that I have some extra energy to burn.

Don’t punish yourself for eating something that’s bad for you, but just be mindful of the choices you are going to be making for the rest of your day. Don’t let a cheat meal completely derail you into continuing to eat bad food.

Tip 2: Be Honest with you Co-Workers

Much like keeping communication open when it applies to work, when it comes to personal health choices, it’s encouraged to be honest with others. Friends and co-workers should respect your choices and you may even inspire them to think about their own eating habits.

Honesty is always the best policy. Let your co-workers know that you may not eat their treats because you are working on living a healthier lifestyle. Use your last bio-metric screening (highly recommended you get one annually) as a reason, especially if you are actively or pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol, or anything that signifies that you should be changing your habits.

I’ve found the more I’m honest with people about why I’m not partaking in enjoying the food they brought it, the less they pressure me into eating it. If someone is pressuring you, just politely decline and walk away from the situation. It’s your body, and you get to be the only one who should decide what goes into it.

Tip 3: Show Up Prepared

Share a healthy dish with your co-workers, they may also appreciate having a healthy option!

Bring something that you feel comfortable eating that you are willing to share with others. It’s easy to whip up a salad with light dressing and some healthy toppings. Make a healthy version of something people really enjoy, it may surprise them to hear the ingredients or they may not know the difference!

If you aren’t going to be bringing food, but have food around you all the time- have healthy snacks at your desk to help fight the urges of eating something bad. I usually keep something like an RX bar, pistachios, or other easy to grab and ready to eat snacks around for those situations.

I feel much less guilty pounding down a coconut chocolate RX bar than a cupcake, candy bars, or other junk food and it curbs my craving for something sweet.

Tip4: Ask for Healthier Options

Fresh fruits, ready to eat salads, nuts, low sodium, and low sugars snacks are all good things to request to have at the workplace.

I’m working on this myself at my job. Our snack machines, company store, and even our onsite cafeteria has a plethora of over salted, over sugared, and just plain unhealthy food options.

This comes from a company that actually has a company wide wellness program where we get paid for making healthy choices and getting steps in on step counters! Even our “healthy” options of food are filled with sodium and sugar.

There’s nothing wrong with contacting a manager or Human Resources person to request better options such as fruits, veggies, fresh salads, or overall healthier snack options. Unhealthy snacks paired with hours of sitting a day are a recipe for poor health.

Come up with some facts and figures showing how having healthier options would benefit the company with less sick days, lower health insurance costs, and even improved mental health of employees. It’s worth a try!

Tip5: Scout Good Food Options

Fresh fruit, salad bars, pre-made items, hummus, and veggies are all easily accessible items at most grocery stores. They can provide healthy food options that are inexpensive and quick to grab on the go!

If your company doesn’t offer food on site and you aren’t big into meal prep or maybe forgot a lunch/snacks at home- take a look at what options are around you.

Use the internet to locate restaurants or grocery stores where you can grab something quick and healthy. Many grocers are now offering in house cafes, grab and go lunch options, as well as salad bars.

Find fast food places that cook fresh food and allow you to customize your options. It may be a lot easier than you think to find something good for you.

Those are my 5 tips to help you survive the venerable sea of unhealthy foods at work. What tips do you have for healthy eating at the workplace? We’d love to hear them. Check out @twowheelfitness on Instagram, give a follow and share your experiences!