Donut holes on the conference table on a Friday morning. How nice. How could you resist?
If better-for-you options were stashed in your bag, you just might resist those empty calories. And if you thought about it, you might realize you're not even hungry to being with.
That's some workplace behavior registered dieticians Katy Kram and Robbin McSurley would reward. Need some healthy-eating ideas that are easy and office-friendly? Both women work with the overweight and others with eating disorders who often are burnt out on dieting.
Kram, a registered nurse and dietician, operates Freedom from Dieting, a weight-loss counseling service in Upper Arlington.
McSurley is a registered dietician at the Central Ohio Nutrition Center based on the East Side.
They've got plenty of tips for healthy snacking at work, where many people fall prey to mindless snacking or candy offered by colleagues.
Focus on food
Evaluate whether you're really hungry or just bored, stressed or distracted. Try getting up from your desk and taking a walk around the office to see how you're really feeling.
If you truly are hungry, Kram said, don't just start munching while you work. Both dieticians stress that if you keep working while eating, your mind won't fully recognize that you're taking in food. Not to mention that you might eat more than you'd like.
Kram calls it eating "mindfully."
McSurley tells her clients: "If you're going to eat, only eat, if you're going to work, only work."
Full of nutrition
Foods with higher fiber and protein keep you feeling fuller, longer. For example, the unprocessed grains in a whole-wheat bagel take much longer for the body to break down than the refined flour used in a plain bagel.
And avoid high-carb foods, which can make you sleepy.
Granola bars, often the go-to stomach settler, can be scarier than they appear. Watch out for high-sugar, high-calorie snacks that are more like cookies than health food. Instead, look for five or less grams of sugar, five grams or more of fiber, 10 grams of fiber and no more than 150 calories, McSurley said.
"They try to put so much sugar in it because that makes you want to eat another one and another one," she warned.
Keep it controlled
Looking for the biggest bang for your healthy buck? You might just have to put in a little effort, too.
Snacks are undoubtedly cheaper if you put them together yourself, like making your own healthy trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and low-sugar cereal.
With packaged products like 100-Calorie Packs, you pay for the work that goes into dividing them up. Dividing a value-size bag of pretzels into individual serving-size baggies will save you money, but depending on your self-control, it could still cost you.
"I have some clients who are so food-driven that if they buy the Oreos, they will end up eating the whole thing," Kram said.
Healthy snacking is ultimately about portions.
"If you're not really hungry, I don't care how good for you it is," McSurley said.