Limited healthy snack options test workers’ waistlines

Our days are busy, breaks are short and fitting a well-balanced meal in at work can be a tough job. For many of us, eating at work is typically done on the go and we’ve memorized our favorite vending machine combination that will curb our hunger or give us a quick, sugary boost.

Snacking at work is almost a fact of life. It’s going to happen, but unfortunately the most popular snacks at work tend to be unhealthy – full of sugar, fat, salt and oil.

Even for those watching their waistlines, unhealthy office snacks can derail even the strictest diet, according to a recent survey on workplace eating habits.

About two out of three employees find it challenging to eat healthy at work, reveals the Peapod Biz Bites Survey sponsored by Peapod Business Delivery. Only 7% of respondents claimed to eat healthier in the office than at home.

"One of the best ways to support healthy lifestyles in the workplace is also one of the easiest," said Cathy Leman, a Chicago-area registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. "When you control the environment that you spend eight-plus hours per day in, you automatically set yourself up for success. That means stocking the break room with healthy, accessible snack foods.” (Press release)

Almost half of employees (47%) surveyed cite having too many tempting unhealthy snack options at work as the top reason they’re not eating healthy at work. Less than one-third (28%) of employees said their workplaces offer enough healthy snack options to keep them satisfied.

What employees want most in the office – fresh produce. However, only 36% of companies provide fresh fruit and vegetables for their employees on a regular basis.

Top nutritionists at WebMD warn against “desktop dining” and unhealthy snacking habits because they hold potentially disastrous health effects. Nutritionists advise putting aside work if possible and take a few minutes to enjoy your food and choose healthy workplace snacks.

“Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, tells her clients to snack up to three times a day but to limit calories to 100-200 calories for each snack.

"I like to recommend snacks that provide a little carbohydrate, protein, and a small amount of fat, if any," she says. (WebMD)

Tallmadge suggests creating a snacking strategy and to have a plan. Keep healthy snack foods at your desk for times when you need a nutritional boost, but may not have the time to eat a full meal.

Keep some of these healthy snack foods handy:
  • Trail mix and/or dried fruit and nuts
  • Instant oatmeal packets (low sugar)
  • Tuna salad kits
  • Higher-fiber, lower-fat crackers
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Reduced-fat cheese

How do you ensure you’re snacking healthy at work? Does your office provide fresh produce or healthy vending machine snacks? Leave a comment and let us know how well you’re able to snack healthy in your workplace.

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