You work in a friendly workplace where someone is always making sure there are delicious snacks in the break room. That darling woman in the cubicle three rows down always brings enough of her homemade biscotti (from her Nona’s recipe) for everyone. The social committee always makes sure birthdays are celebrated with cake.
They’re nice little treats so they can’t really hurt, right? Wrong! Boy, is it ever wrong. I recently read a study that completely opened my eyes to a major problem occurring in some of the happiest and most social workplaces. All that food we’re all sharing with each other adds up. In fact, it adds up fast enough that it suggests we’re eating more than 1,250 or even 1,300 calories every week because of office snacks!
Every time you support your coworker’s bake sale for her cancer charity fundraiser or buy a box of Girl Guide cookies from their daughter, those calories are added to a running tally that is shockingly high.
The study found that employees across the Untied States are eating well over a thousand extra calories every week from food they eat at the office. This isn’t what they bring from home or purchase for lunch. It’s what they get from coworkers or that is provided in break rooms or next to coffee makers.
Though eating at the office isn’t necessarily bad, the problem is that the food being offered isn’t typically healthy. Almost all the food shared in an office setting is high in fat, high in sugar, and highly processed. It is made up of baked products with frosting, chips and dip, soda, and other favorites.
Over 70 percent of total calories eaten at an office are made of free food, not what someone brings from home. The reason it’s such a problem – and I’m a complete victim of this – is that it’s not easy to say “no” to free food. Especially when it’s delicious looking free food! We may know that we shouldn’t eat that gorgeously decorated cupcake, but it’s right there, offered to us and it won’t cost anything at all. At least not from our wallets…
It’s up to us to take a good hard look at ourselves and start to decide what we really should be eating. Since I still never find it easy to say “no,” I’ve started trying to set a new office culture example. I’ve been bringing in trays of chopped up veggies and fruits. I pick fruits that are easy to get in large amounts without spending a fortune, like melon. Then I fill the rest of trays with chopped veggies. People eat it. Just like with cupcakes, they eat it because it’s there and it’s free!