It’s that awkward time between breakfast and lunch. The office candy jar a few desks over is somehow telepathically communicating “eat me” to your stomach. Thoughts of the vending machine and the variety of salty potato chips behind the glass are making you salivate. Even the box of leftover stale bagels from yesterday is starting to look good. Was that cream cheese even refrigerated? Whoops. Oh well.
Does this sound familiar? Do you struggle with finding healthy food in your office?
Millions of Americans struggle with the temptation of unhealthy food. We are inundated with it everywhere we go, and the office is no exception. Whether it’s a few weekly trips to a Chinese buffet with co-workers, several handfuls of animal crackers on the hour, or a morning ritual of a glazed doughnut and latte, your health can suffer. Your work productivity can suffer, too.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fast food and a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity. The research states it is probable that energy obtained from soft drinks does not fully displace what is consumed from solid sources and might encourage a person to keep eating.
Saturated fats (think sheet cakes, Oreos, potato chips) also put stress on nerve cells and hamper communication and activity, making you feel tired.
So not only does junk food make us tired, but once you start crunching down on a few Cheetos, it’s hard to quit.
Professor Brian Wansink, an eating behaviorist at Cornell University, and the author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” found that office workers sitting near glass dishes filled with sweets ate 71 percent more than those sitting near white, opaque dishes of the same treat. Over the course of a year, the clear dish would have added more than 5 pounds of extra weight.
Washington University researchers found a healthy environment is the key to combating obesity in children. What about healthier working environments? Would that combat rising obesity rates in adults?
Creating a healthier workplace might seem like a daunting task. But you can easily make small changes on your own. Start by planning and packing your own lunch. Make sure to have one source of protein (grilled chicken, baked tilapia, soy protein burger, etc.) and at least two veggies (steamed veggies, carrot sticks, etc.). Whole grains, like the ones found in quinoa and brown rice, can also be added as a small side.
Check out reporter Leigh Zaleski’s strategies for creating a healthy lunch at work. And yep, that’s me ooh’ing and ahh’ing over her grub. This was one meal I didn’t mind my tummy telepathically communicating with!
Find the recipe for Leigh’s quinoa salad with black beans and corn here.
What do you do to stay fit at work? Do you sit on a stability ball instead of an office chair? Do you eat a salad for lunch or take walking breaks when possible? Efforts like these can really add up when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle and I want to interview you about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your healthy tips with others.
Find more tips to stay healthy at work here.