Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to Make Your Cubicle Healthier

Snacking your way toward weight gain at work? Make a plan to defeat office calorie traps. People who otherwise make healthy food choices can find themselves sabotaged at the office. You can strike back, says Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, a Connecticut-based registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, by planning ahead and creating a strategy. Here's where office fat and calories hide out and how to avoid them. Avoiding Food Landmines Every workplace has them: a dish of chocolate kisses, a reappearing plate of doughnuts or bagels, or an ever-present box of leftover pizza. Research published by Brian Wansink, Cornell University food psychologist and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam, 2006), shows just how dangerous those little treats are: Indulging in the office candy bowl can pack on the calories and ultimately cause a weight gain. What to do: Make a stash of your own. "Make sure you have healthy snacks on hand so you can avoid the temptation," says Stokes. Stokes suggests homemade trail mix tossed with a few nuts and dried fruits, or cookies such as gingersnaps, graham crackers or animal crackers. Eating Out, Ordering In Another weight-gain pitfall is the endless stream of work lunches, either eaten out or ordered in. Such meals often leave you with few healthy choices and thousands of calories gained from mayonnaise and salad dressing alone. A typical fast food lunch often contains enough calories to blow a person's POINTS® values allotment for an entire day. What to do: Plan ahead to avoid the most fattening fare. You can eat with the pack, but keep your portion sizes small and order condiments on the side, using them sparingly. Stokes recommends snacking on something filling and nutritious beforehand to cut your hunger. Try a handful of almonds or a low-fat yogurt. Never show up to work without fueling first: People who skip breakfast are more likely to overdo it at lunch. Soft Drink, Big Belly Soft drinks and energy drinks can soak up your daily POINTS Target quickly. "They are just empty, wasted calories being racked up," says Stokes. With a soda, energy or sports drink, it's easy to consume more than 200 calories. What to do: Buy a sporty water bottle and keep it filled with H2O on your desk. "A glass of water and a quick munch on a high-fiber, whole-grain cereal bar with a fruit filling is much better [than a sports or energy drink]," says Stokes. Fuggedaboutit You can stand there and stare through the glass panel for an hour, but you'll be lucky to find one item in a vending machine that is worth the calories and fat it delivers. What to do: Avoid the vending machine altogether. Or, Stokes suggests looking for whole-wheat pretzels, whole-grain low-fat crackers or low-fat microwave popcorn. Article Source

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