May 29, 2018

Food Options at the Office

By Nikki G. Maples, Law Office of Nikki G. Maples, and member of the Austin Bar’s Health & Wellness Committee.

We’ve all given into the temptation of the office birthday cakes, pastries offered at meetings, and the obligatory candy bowl filled with sugary mints or bite-size chocolates. In moderation, of course, none of those indulgences will cause absolute destruction, but it becomes a challenge when those temptations are presented every single day at the office. So, it’s time to assess our choices…we can choose to graze the candy bowl or we can make a choice to literally put one step in front of the other, stuff our hands in our pockets (or fumble our smartphones, which is probably a more accurate scenario) and walk right past the bowl of sugar. If you’re torn about what choice is the better decision, fret no longer, the choice is to keep walking.

So, let’s explore why we give into these temptations so easily and so frequently:

  1. Convenience. Suddenly you emerge from your office to hear your coworkers whaling out the birthday song. Well, it would be rude not to participate, right? Just like it would be rude not to partake in one of our oldest traditions to memorialize the moment – birthday cake.
  2. Fatigue. It’s 2:30 pm and you can feel yourself daydreaming. You can usually rely on the office refrigerator being stocked with sodas. A quick caffeinated sugar fix will get you to the end of the day. It’s out of necessity, right?
  3. Cravings. About an hour after your garlic-filled lunch, you begin to crave something sweet. Rest assured, the office candy bowl has those tiny little bite-size chocolates. Each one is just one bite, which is all you need to kill that distracting craving. Harmless, right?
  4. Lack of options. Reviewing 1-3 above, your starting to get tired mid-afternoon, you’ve been craving something sweet, and you don’t have time to leave the office to run to Whole Foods for a healthy snack. So, you justify the indulgence because there’s no other option, right?

Ok, this is ludicrous, folks. It’s 2018 and we are supposed to be a smarter, healthier, wiser, and more efficient generation. Here’s the solution: MAKE TIME!  Our lives depend on it, so make the time. Therefore, without further ado, I have made a list of suggestions. Save this article, pull it up on your smartphone the next time you’re at the grocery store and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Create your own convenience and your own options for healthy office snacks. Stock your desk drawers and your office refrigerator with some of the following:

  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Applesauce
  • Natural peanut butter to spread on a banana, apple, celery or whole wheat bread
  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Deli meats
  • Veggie sticks (carrots, peppers, celery radishes)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Popcorn (not the movie theatre popcorn drenched in fake butter)
  • Avocado
  • Beef jerky
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Edamame
  • Hummus
  • Cottage Cheese
  • For the chocolate addict: 75%-85% dark chocolate

In the afternoon, you may consider choosing a protein-filled snack to tie you over until dinner (nuts, yogurt, beef jerky, etc.). Also, while we find ourselves sitting at our desk working, we may also be experiencing boredom or procrastination related to a specific project. As a result, we may find ourselves wandering like zombies toward the break room or refrigerator. Another option: consider standing at your desk and stretching your arms and legs, twist your torso from side to side and reach down toward your toes. Get the blood pumping and take a few deep breaths to wake up your brain and regain focus so you can dive into that project…because it’s not going to complete itself.

The bottom line is this: Plan ahead. Make the time to grab a few extra items at the store and take them to the office. Create convenient options for yourself and ignore the candy bowl. Then, when the office birthday cake arrives, indulge. It’s a balancing act. Do not weigh the scale with excuses, balance the scale with your options.

Lastly, for convenient lunch or snack options, explore delivery services. I have found the following healthy food delivery options (it doesn’t get much easier than this folks):