Work days are busy … so busy in fact that a recent survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association found that up to 75 percent of us eat at our desks at least 2-3 times a week. Eating at your desk may save time and help you get out of the office at a reasonable hour, but it can wreak havoc on your health and your waistline.
If you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating while busy at work, you may be eating more than you realize. And it’s likely you’re making food choices based on convenience, not health. So say goodbye to the vending machine and resist the leftover pizza or cake in the break room. The following are some tips to improve your desktop dining experience:
- Plan Ahead for Health: Packing your lunch is an easy way to make sure you eat well. A chicken or turkey wrap, pouch of tuna over a salad, or leftovers from the night before are easy things to pack ahead and to eat at your desk while you work. Throw an apple or banana in for an easy portable piece of fruit, baby carrots and grape tomatoes and a cup of yogurt for a little sweet treat.
- Stock Up: Keep a small stockpile of shelf stable food for days when you forget to pack a lunch and don’t have time to run to the cafeteria. Pouches of StarKist Tuna Salad, cups of soup, granola bars and even oatmeal packets can be a quick pick-me-up when you are really crunched for time.
- Portion Control: Eating out of bags or take-out containers can also lead to overeating because it’s hard to visualize how much you have eaten. Keep a plate, bowl and cup at your desk to put your food on so you can judge portions and have a better idea when you are done and make it a little more memorable.
- Take a Break: Even a five- to 10-minute break can help re-energize your body and your brain. Try to get up and take a walk around the office go up and down a flight of stairs or better yet, take five minutes and go outside and get some fresh air when you can.
- Keep it Clean: Pack an insulated bag if you don’t have access to a refrigerator and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk to clean your hands before you eat. And don’t forget to wipe down your desk and keyboard after you eat to keep germs at bay.
Laura Ali, MS, RD, is the registered dietitian for StarKist. Check out StarKist.com for more tips, recipes and coupon savings.