Forty years ago, the idea of working in a clean, efficient office was welcomed as a healthy, safe and “modern” advantage. Today, all kinds of questions are being raised about the health hazards inherent in working at a typical office. What we eat while we’re there is one of them.
Part of the problem is this: Life at the office is often pressurized. So we eat what is available, what is convenient. Trouble is, office cafeteria menus can be quite unhealthy, full of fat, sugar, salt and caffeine. When a snack is craved, candy and coffee vending machines are often the only sources at hand.
Adding to these factors are the incessant birthday parties, farewell parties, Holiday parties and more, where the main fare is usually cake and doughnuts.
So even with the best intentions for eating healthy, the office has become a food trap from which it is difficult to escape.
Solution: Take control! Take control! Take control!
That’s right, when we are served and sold food by others, we are no doubt putting control of what goes into our mouths into the hands of other people. In effect, we are making excuses for our own terrible diets by telling ourselves, “Not my fault.”
As difficult and inconvenient as it may seem, it’s time we took back control of what we eat by making and bringing our own food to the office. By doing so, we build a feeling within us that we make our own decisions – we are no longer the victim – we are our own boss!
Making food for ourselves doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have children, chances are, you’re already in the groove. You may be doing pretty well with your kids, making healthy food for them to bring to school each day. Why not simply make twice as much, and bring it to work?
Here are three great steps to follow…
1. Start by knowing what’s available and what’s out there. Get inspired! Look at recipes, cooking shows, video clips. Speak to friends. Notice what other health-conscious people are eating at the office are bringing in. From what you observe, decide what types of healthy foods seem appetizing to you, and act on it!
2. Figure out the best way to shop for food. Whether you go to the supermarket, shop at a discount store like Costco, order grocery delivery online, or discover a co-op in your neighborhood, it’s crucial to source the best quality foods at the best price. As you take more control of your own diet, you’ll be surprised how fun and satisfying food-sourcing can be, and good you are getting at it!
3. Find the best time to make food before work – Either at the beginning of the week, the night before or the morning of, make a schedule and stick to it. Repetition and establishing habits, fine-tuned from time to time, is best way to keep on track. Oh, and don’t forget to buy the right storage containers – ones that are safest (glass is preferred) and most convenient to travel with.
4. “Cut off your suppliers” – Once you are on your way to making and bringing your own food to work, it’s time to keep away those unhealthy food temptations. When offered treats, turn them down. Politely refuse the cookies being handed out, avoid the vending machines, stay away from the cafeteria – it may seem like a shock at first, but you’ll get used to it, and you’ll thank yourself for it.
Video: Healthy Moment | Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHCP)
Here’s a great video that explores the idea of healthy eating at the office. It’s from Missouri (of all places!)
Impossible as it may seem to completely cut off any food that is not prepared by you, we believe, once you get into the habit, you won’t want any other kind of food. In fact, you may even find it distasteful to eat at the cafeteria or from a vending machine ever again.
If you do want to give yourself a break from the routine and go back to the trough, as it were, schedule it for a specific day, and stick to it. Whatever you do, don’t fall back into the old habits.
You, too, can eat healthy at the office and take control of your diet and your life!