It’s pretty hard to steer yourself away from snacks at work, especially if your workplace constantly has snacks on hand. While you may want to dip into the stash of goodies, there are ways to steer yourself away from them.
In a 2015 article by Elle, dietician Jenna Hollenstein spoke about the urge to eat snacks when you’re sitting down for eight hours a day. “If you aren’t used to paying attention to your internal signals of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, the sight or sound of other people snacking might cue you to grab something, whether or not you are physically hungry,” she said. “Seeing, smelling, hearing, or imagining the taste and texture of food can cause us to want to eat too.”
These stats were backed by further studies. A 2012 article by The Wall Street Journal published a study talking about the different ways that people eat in order to fit in or because they were being influenced by others. Between co-workers egging you on to eat unhealthier food that “won’t kill you for one day” or co-workers poking fun at what you bring for lunch, the temptation to eat other things is there.
They sourced a 2012 survey conducted by Survey Sampling International for Medi-Weightloss Clinic who surveyed 325 women. 28% admitted that they were embarrassed to tell their friends they were dieting, 51% said they wanted to eat whatever everyone else was eating, and 53% said that others pressured them to eat something that wasn’t on their diet.
There are ways to curb your snacking at work, however.
Whole Living suggests a few things such as eating a healthy breakfast in the morning, making yourself a savory lunch, and tackling any cravings for salty snacks with “tamari almonds or dried cranberries.” They also recommend that you bring your own healthy snacks to work in order to veer off the path to temptation. They suggest “foods [that are] both nutritious and filling, like dried fruit and nuts, an apple with a mini gouda cheese, or whole-grain crackers and nut butter.”
In 2011, Psychology Today published a piece about eating when bored, which is something many of us do at work as well. They suggested that the reason this happens is that our dopamine levels dip during the day and that we should find better ways to get a good dose of dopamine such as reading or listening to music.
A 2016 article by Huffington Post suggests that “making every meal and taking it into work is the most effective way to stay on track with healthy eating, but life is busy and it’s not always possible to plan our healthy meals ahead,” and you should, therefore, make a list of the healthy places to eat in your area so you’ll choose better places come lunchtime or snack time. Author and fitness expert Alicia Jones recommends that you pack healthy snacks as well such as “red velvet cupcakes made with beets, nut butter cookies made with chickpeas and dark chocolate creamy avocado pudding.”
If you bring some healthy snacks to work and trick your brain into getting different hits of dopamine you’ll be sure to curb the desire to snack on things just because they’re there.