Is Your Desk Job Wrecking Your Waistline?

Three tips if you eat one or two (or three) meals a day at your desk.

???eating at deskEating at desk image via Shutterstock

If you’re reading this, you’re probably among the many Americans who sit in front of a computer screen for the majority of the day. And you probably spend quite a bit of time eating at your desk. Snacking at work can be one of two things: A mindless eating binge or a healthful addition to your overall diet. To prevent consuming large amounts of calories while focusing on your work and not your mindless munching, try a few of these tricks to make your desk a safe space for eating:

Keep healthy snacks on hand. The best way to eat healthy snack foods at work is to always have them on hand. A snack with an adequate amount of carbohydrates, protein, and a little bit of fat is ideal. If your office has a refrigerator, keep low-fat Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and veggies, single servings of cheese, or single-serve packets of hummus. If you don’t have an office refrigerator, don’t stress! There are plenty of snacks you can keep in your desk drawer. I like granola bars, nuts/seeds, dried edamame, or individual packets of peanut butter. Another favorite food find is roasted chickpeas from Biena. They are super crunchy and high in protein and fiber.

Hydrate throughout the day. Many offices have coffee brewing throughout the day, and it’s easy to fall into the all-day coffee drinking trap. Some coffee is perfectly fine, but if you’re putting cream and sugar into each cup you can easily over consume calories. Try replacing coffee with water or another calorie- and caffeine-free beverage. Designate a re-usable bottle as your work water bottle so you never have an excuse to not drink water. If you find yourself craving a warm beverage in the afternoon, try green tea. I like to keep a box of tea bags in my desk drawer. Other hydration options include sparkling or flavored water.

Vending Machine Dread. The best option: Avoid the vending machine. Since this isn’t always possible, here are a few tips to get you through the challenge of finding a healthy snack. As a rule of thumb, avoid anything that says “sharing size” or “king size.” More than likely you’ll eat the whole bag, despite your best intentions. Some vending machine staples like Fig Newtons, pretzels, and Nature Valley granola bars are all OK options for snacking. Look for a trail mix or nuts and seeds for some protein and heart-healthy fats, but watch the portion size here, as many bags will have two or three servings. Avoid regular potato chips, snack mixes, baked goods, and candy bars.