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Battling the Vending Machine

October 16, 2009
For the past 2 years, I have been on a mission to change my eating habits for the better.  I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, try to keep my sugar intake low and avoid high sodium and high fat foods.  For the most part, I am pretty good at it because I plan my meals ahead of time and study the nutritional values of just about anything that I eat.  But I problem that I run into every day is that I get hungry at work.  Work… the place where I spend over half of my (awake) day.  Unfortunately, I don’t work in a big, new office complex with a cafeteria and gym and healthy vending machines.  The only food available in this building consists of chips, cookies, crackers and candy bars.  And let me tell you, those Baby Ruths look pretty darn good when your stomach has been growling for an hour. But I always talk myself out of them because I know how bad they are for me. I instead opt for low-calorie granola bars, which usually hold me over till lunch time.  I know I’m not the only person that deals with trying to eat “right” in the wrong environment.  Here are a few tips I found that can help us win our battle against the vending machines:
Have breakfast before you get to work or first thing at the office.  Choose foods that will keep you satisfied and energized throughout the morning.  http://nutrition.about.com/od/nutrition101/a/breakfast.htm
When snacking or having lunch at your desk, take a break from working and concentrate on what you are eating.  Doing other things while eating can lead to “mindless eating” and over-eating.
Share healthy options with your co-workers: Make a list of restaurants nearby that offer healthy foods for breakfast and lunch.  Post the produce section of sales flyers for nearby grocery stores to encourage them to buy healthy snacks.
Instead of bringing in doughnuts for the office, bring in a fruit basket filled with oranges, bananas, apples and other pick-and-go items.
Bring your own snacks to work in plastic zip-loc bags. Suggestions: Sliced cucumber, carrots, broccoli, berries, no-sugar-added cereal, granola, string cheese, hummus and pita bread
Stock up on tea for an afternoon treat.  It can help keep you away from vending machine drinks like soda and high-sugar fruit drinks.
If you have to have that piece of birthday cake at the office party, try to split it with someone.
Keep candy and treats out of sight!  You are more likely to grab for them if they are right in front of you.

vending machineFor the past 2 years, I have been on a mission to change my eating habits for the better. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, try to keep my sugar intake low and avoid high sodium and high fat foods. For the most part, I am pretty good at it because I plan my meals ahead of time and study the nutritional values of just about anything that I eat. But a problem that I run into every day is that I get hungry at work.

Work… the place where I spend over half of my (awake) day.  Yet when I go grocery shopping, I rarely think to buy things to eat at work.  And unfortunately I don’t work in a big, new office complex with a cafeteria and gym and healthy vending machines. The only food available in this building consists of chips, cookies, crackers and candy bars. And let me tell you, those Baby Ruths look pretty darn good when your stomach has been growling for an hour. But I always talk myself out of them because I know how bad they are for me. I instead opt for low-calorie granola bars, which usually hold me over till lunch time (when I can remember to pick them up at the store, anyway). I know I’m not the only person that deals with trying to eat “right” in the wrong environment. Here are a few tips I found that can help us win our battle against the vending machines:

  • Have breakfast before you get to work or first thing at the office. Choose foods that will keep you satisfied and energized throughout the morning. Here are some good breakfast guidelines.
  • When snacking or having lunch at your desk, take a break from working and concentrate on what you are eating. Doing other things while eating can lead to “mindless eating” and over-eating.
  • Share healthy options with your co-workers: Make a list of restaurants nearby that offer healthy foods for breakfast and lunch. Post the produce section of sales flyers for nearby grocery stores to encourage them to buy healthy foods and snacks.
  • Instead of bringing in doughnuts for the office, bring in a fruit basket filled with oranges, bananas, apples and other pick-and-go items.
  • Bring your own snacks to work in plastic zip-loc bags. Suggestions: Sliced cucumber, carrots, broccoli, berries, no-sugar-added cereal, granola, string cheese, hummus and pita bread
  • Stock up on tea for an afternoon treat. It can help keep you away from vending machine drinks like soda and high-sugar fruit drinks.
  • If you have to have that piece of birthday cake at the office party, try to split it with someone.
  • Keep candy and treats out of sight! You are more likely to grab for them if they are right in front of you.

Do you have any tips to share on how to snack healthy at work?  Please post them!

image from flickr

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    October 16, 2009 11:38 am

    I bring a small container of lowfat salad dressing to dip zucchini slices in. I also like raw green beans for a snack. Sometimes I keep lowfat string cheese in my mini frdige in the office. If you are starving and the vending machine is the only choice go for the preztels!

  2. October 16, 2009 3:09 pm

    Raisins and string cheese are a hit for pack-and-go snacks at my house along with granola bars. My kids recently found some cheese sticks that combines traditional mozzarella with cheddar.

  3. October 20, 2009 10:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah! I agree with the last tip — out of sight, out of mind. Here’s one more to the list; drink plenty of water or chew sugarless gum to keep hunger pangs at bay. It works for me 😉

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