Making the right food choices when there’s plenty of temptation is easier than you think. Here’s how to avoid overeating at the office party and stay healthy.
Every holiday at my husband’s office is celebrated with food. This past Valentine’s Day his coworkers brought cakes, cookies, chocolate, and other sweet treats. It’s become a tradition — an unhealthy one.
That will be followed by Saint Patrick’s Day, where people will bring in baskets of green bagels, cream cheese, and jam. The company’s customers also like to say “thank you” with gifts of platters of cookies and other desserts.
The sentiments behind the food are good. Everyone in his office appreciates the gesture. They also tend to overdo it. It’s hard to resist overeating when there’s so much food in the employee kitchen and on coworkers’ desks.
A surprising item that is often gobbled up as soon as it’s put out is the salad tray. Crudités are popular, even when it’s placed right next to the chocolate mousse cake.
At a friend’s public relations firm, people have started to bring in healthier options. “When I first suggested it, it was shot down,” said Sandra Coates, who works as a public relations manager. “We all like the chocolates and the desserts, but it just gets to be too much. So, when our boss asked us what we wanted to bring, I said a crudité platter and dip. It sounded better than a salad.”
With the oversized hero filled with different meats and the many desserts, Coates’ platter proved to be popular. “I really think it has to do with an over abundance of junk food,” she said. “Having a piece of cake is good, but honestly, when you have more than one dessert option, pies, and cookies, a salad plate with a healthy dip option, like hummus, becomes something everyone wants.”
It also has to do with how the platter is arranged. “When you make it look yummy with bright orange carrots, cut cup broccoli, cauliflower, and red and green peppers, it’s tempting,” she said. “And if you want to get fancy, add steamed asparagus when they are in season, it becomes everyone’s favorite.”
Since the fresh veggie platter became a hit, other coworkers were inspired to create and bring in fresh fruit platters, spiced and raw nuts and seeds, crackers with low fat cheese, dried fruits, small bowls of vegetable soups, and bowls of air-popped popcorn. “People got creative,” Coates said. “Someone brought in steamed edamame, vegetable sushi, and soy-based dipping sauce. We’re competitive in nature. So we’ve upped our game.”
If you find it hard resisting the treats at your office, allow yourself to have a tiny portion and fill up on the healthy options. Make it about portion size, and limit how much you’ll eat and when you’ll indulge. Have a sliver of a normal slice of cake after lunch and, if you can’t resist, have the same amount of a different dessert at the latter end of the day. This is a good way to not overindulge.
“It’s important to keep your health and nutrition goals in mind even in the happiest of environments,” said Allison Stowell, MS, RD, CDN, and registered dietitian for Guiding Stars, a website that helps consumers make healthy meal choices.
Stowell also recommends drinking water and herbal teas without sweeteners. Water fills you up, so you’ll indulge less. And don’t skip breakfast. Coming to work hungry guarantees you’ll head straight to the unhealthy snack food table. A better choice is having oatmeal, a protein shake, or an egg with whole grain toast for breakfast.
This way you won’t fill up on cake and cookies.
July 20, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN