Five Tricks for Outsmarting Office Sweets & Treats

file_000-2Birthdays. Client dinners. Corporate Announcements. Lunch meetings. Vendor treats. National Donut Day. National Sundae Day… Sheesh! How often we get surprised by sweets at the office! (And we’re approaching on Holiday Season – oy vey!)

From your wellness to your waistline, indulging every time one of these “special” events pops up derails you from your goals, detracts from your results, and decreases your motivation.

Here are few tricks and techniques to help you sidestep office sweets and treats and stay the course to your most vibrant self!

  1. Eat enough protein (& early enough in the day).
    • Getting sufficient protein early enough in the day and throughout the day will keep your blood sugar stable,  your energy level even, your mind focused, and your resolve strong, so you can more easily say no to the simple sugar rushes of cookies and cupcakes.
    • Experiment with the amounts of protein in your snacks and meals to figure out which keep you satisfied and powered up for the day.
    • For a few ideas for balanced snacks, check out this post about tasty snacks that pack in protein without breaking the bank! (There are also a few other tips in there to help manage sugar cravings and blood sugar.)
  2. Keep fresh and/or dried fruit (or dark chocolate!) at your fingertips.
    • When you get a hankering for sweets, having a naturally-sweetened “goodie” will offer you an alternative to the processed one, so you can stay on track when the sugar monster strikes
    • You can also keep a few pieces of very dark chocolate nearby; the higher the cacao, the less sugar it contains and the more rich and satisfying it will be; aim for 70% cacao or higher.
  3. Exercise as close to daily as possible.
    • If you’re putting in the work (and workin’ it!) on a daily basis (or as close to daily as you can), you’ll be less likely to let even a minor temptation knock you off your game
    • Remember the work you’ve been doing and ask if it’s really worth it to indulge in that cupcake.
  4. Set the timer.
    • Cravings last fewer than five minutes (usually about three). When the craving strikes (or the donuts/cupcakes/red velvet cake appears on the breakroom table), take a walk, make a cup of coffee or tea and sip it slowly, take a Twitter break and read positive news that delights you, doodle in your notebook, journal your feelings, talk to a coworker, etc.
    • Devote your attention away from the “trigger” for a good 3-5 minutes. Breathe. Repeat.
  5. Tune in.
    • When you do feel a craving come on without a cake walking by, take a moment to clue yourself into what could be triggering your craving, such as stress, feeling tired or overwhelmed, etc.
    • Taking care of your mental well-being is KEY to optimal physical well-being. Unpacking why you’re craving sugar in the first place – whether physical or emotional – is a powerful tool. (See item #4 above.)
  6. *Bonus Points: Read about the havoc that sugar wreaks on your body
    • Knowledge is power, and empowering yourself with info about the impact that sugar has on your body is the strongest motivation to steer clear. For instance, did you know that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine? From accelerated aging to hormonal effects to gut imbalance, sugar is not the best copilot on the ride to better health!
    • If you have more information, you’ll make better decisions!
    • A few interesting resources that are packed with info and will also keep your interest are:

The Blood Sugar Solution, by Dr. Mark Hyman (His website is here, too.)
Sugar Coated, a documentary; found on Netflix
Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr (an all-around fave of mine for all things healthy and crazy-sexy! Her website is found here.)

Easy, Inexpensive and Healthy Snacks for On-The-Go

Apples, Edamame, tomatoes!

 

No more vending machine snacks!Does this sound familiar? It’s late morning or that ever-delightful mid-afternoon slump time, and you’re hungry. You do a vending machine drive-by and grab some chips or peanut butter crackers to quell the hunger pangs. … Or how about that time when you snagged whatever you could find in the break-room that was leftover from a lunch meeting earlier in the day? #HelloCookies

Afterwards, you probably felt icky… not just from the lack of nutrients of which you’re in dire need, but also from the side of guilt that went along with it. You deserve better!

To help take some of the work out of figuring out healthy alternatives that require minimal prep time, here are some low-maintenance, healthy snacking options for you busy bees!

 

Veggies + Hummus
Think baby carrots, sliced zucchini, sliced yellow squash, sliced cucumber with a few tablespoons of any variation of hummus will do! Even edamame or homemade black-eyed pea hummus (for you overachievers) serves as a nutrient-dense option for curbing hunger. The crunch is also satisfying, and you won’t miss the chips!

Tuna/chicken/”egg” salad + veggies
This one is a favorite of mine. Homemade tuna salad + carrots, cukes, even pickles satiates me for longer than veggies on their own b/c of the protein from a healthy homemade tuna salad that can be tossed together in seconds. If you’re vegan or partial for chicken salad, there are other options that you can make quickly at night or over the weekend, so you have convenient, healthy choices throughout the week!

Fruit slices + nut butters (or go nuts and do veggies, too!)
Peanut butter, almond butter, even nut-free sunflower seed butter or tahini (my fave!) is delish with a tart apple or crunchy pear. If you’re a fan of the crunch, like I am, include some celery sticks, as well (see above note about the satisfaction of crunching)! If you find yourself needing healthy snacks multiple times a day, then consider including this option among others vs. relying solely on nut butters to satisfy you. The higher calorie/higher fat content, when overeaten, may cause weight gain.

Fruit slices + single serving of cheese wedge
Similar to the fruit and nut butter option, fruit with a serving of soft cheese, like Laughing Cow, offers sweetness or tang with crunch and protein in one compact, nutritious dose! With the single serving of cheese – if you’re into that sort of thing – you may find you have more portion control (and, subsequently, have confidence that you can make healthy choices), which will certainly satisfy and motivate you on your road to good habits!

Yogurt + berries (easy on the sugar and additives)
For the dairy-friendly folks, unsweetened Greek yogurt, for instance, is a lovely, nutrient-rich option. Sweetening with berries gives you a burst of antioxidants and natural sugar, so your blood sugar stays relatively stable, meaning you won’t crave sweets or chips later. If you are dairy-avoidant, try goat milk yogurt or soy yogurt. Again, use moderation because many of these yogurts have added sugar, which will encourage you to crave sweets later in the day.

Other grab-and-go options include:

  • A handful of nuts (see above note on using moderation)
  • One or two string cheeses
  • Steamed edamame, which you can find in the freezer section and steam the night before to eat at any temperature when you get the snacking bug
  • Yogurt with granola (light on the granola to keep the fat and sugar content lower; less than 1/4 cup)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Raw veggies
  • …Any combination of the above!

If you’re a road warrior and looking for healthy tips and tricks, check out this post.

The important thing to all snacks (anything you put in your body, actually) is to pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Did a combination keep you full or not so much? Did your nose start running or your tummy feel strange within a few minutes of having a yogurt? Tapping into your body’s signals will help you navigate the road to YOUR optimal well-being, so you can choose the snacks that will work for you. Every body is different, and only you can be the expert on what your body needs, what foods make you feel your best, how often you need to eat, and how much is right for you!

Happy snacking!

Apples, Edamame, tomatoes!