Of­fice snack­ing no-nos

Watch out for these foods while at work

Dalby Herald - - LIFE - SUSIE BUR­RELL

THE of­fice en­vi­ron­ment is no­to­ri­ous for weight gain. A new sur­vey in Europe by Dutch or­ganic food maker Kallo has dis­cov­ered that women who snack at work con­sume 100,000 ex­tra calo­ries each year. This is equiv­a­lent to an ad­di­tional 50 days’ food in­take (when you con­sider an adult woman’s ideal con­sump­tion is 2000 calo­ries a day). Di­eti­tians said they were “not sur­prised” by the re­search but warned that con­sump­tion of just 500 ex­tra calo­ries a day could re­sult in weight gain of half a kilo­gram a week. As if it’s not bad enough that of­fice-based jobs see us sit­ting for hours and hours each day, there’s also the op­por­tu­nity for plenty of eat­ing – and eat­ing foods that are par­tic­u­larly con­ducive to weight gain. Since we also know from be­havioural re­search that we be­come like the peo­ple we spend our time with, when our of­fice­mates are eat­ing, or more specif­i­cally eat­ing high-calo­rie foods, we are much more likely to follow their lead. So if you know your waist­band is a lit­tle tighter since you have been at your work­place, here are the foods most likely do­ing the dam­age.

Bis­cuits

The bis­cuits may come courtesy of the of­fice bis­cuit jar or as spe­cial treats that col­leagues bring in but those tasty morsels made from veg­etable oil, sugar and white flour are a recipe for disas­ter when it comes to eat­ing mind­less calo­ries and weight gain. With a sin­gle choco­late bis­cuit con­tain­ing up to 100 calo­ries and 3–4g of fat, and the ease at which we can eat many bis­cuits through­out the day with­out even notic­ing, it is no won­der that sweet bis­cuits are so closely linked to weight gain. If your of­fice does of­fer bis­cuits, one of the keys to re­duc­ing your con­sump­tion is not hav­ing them in sight, so try and keep them in a cup­board or ce­ramic con­tainer so you are not tempted so of­ten. Even bet­ter, cre­ate your own rule to not eat the bis­cuits at work in gen­eral.

Cake

There seems to be an abun­dance of cake at work – it is al­ways some­one’s birth­day or a rea­son to cel­e­brate, then we have the of­fice feed­ers who rou­tinely bake treats for oth­ers to en­joy. With a sin­gle serve of plain cake con­tain­ing 10–12g of fat and 300– 400 calo­ries, you can see en­joy­ing this ex­tra sweet treat a few times each week will quickly lead to weight gain. For this rea­son get­ting into a habit of say­ing no more times than not when cake is of­fered at work is the key to suc­cess or limit the of­fice birth­day cel­e­bra­tions to once each month.

Milky cof­fee

Think about how many cap­puc­ci­nos, lat­tes and flat whites you rou­tinely con­sume while you are at work. Chances are there is one on the way to work, an­other mid­morn­ing and even a third on a par­tic­u­larly long day. Un­like black cof­fee and tea, those milky cof­fee calo­ries add up, with a small cup of­fer­ing at least 80–100 calo­ries, or the equiv­a­lent of an ex­tra meal a day if you en­joy two or three. Therein lies the as­so­ci­a­tion with work­day cof­fees and weight gain. So if you do en­joy a milk-based cof­fee, limit your­self to one each day and swap to tea or black cof­fee on other oc­ca­sions.

Choco­late bars

It may be the fundrais­ing choco­late box si­t­u­ated at the front desk or the vend­ing ma­chine that screams your name mid-af­ter­noon but if you are in the habit of in­dulging in some choco­late on more af­ter­noons than not, you have ce­mented a pretty strong choco­late habit at work. A 50g bar of choco­late con­tains as many calo­ries as a meal. So if choco­late is your thing, you will be much bet­ter to choose a small, in­di­vid­ual por­tion as op­posed to an en­tire bar and where pos­si­ble keep daily temp­ta­tions such as fundrais­ing choco­late boxes well out of reach.

Dried fruit and nuts

Fresh fruit is healthy, as are nuts, but when we de­mol­ish en­tire bags of high-calo­rie trail mix be­cause it is within easy reach on our desk, we are mind­lessly con­sum­ing hun­dreds of ex­tra calo­ries each week, of­ten un­der the im­pres­sion we are be­ing healthy. Mind­less munch­ing is an is­sue for a num­ber of rea­sons but specif­i­cally when we mind­lessly munch on high-calo­rie foods such as nuts and dried fruit it is an­other recipe for disas­ter when it comes to weight gain. Keep your fruit fresh and fo­cus on one sin­gle snack of nuts each day for good health and weight con­trol. This means not keep­ing the mas­sive bag of nuts at work, rather por­tion-con­trol­ling them out so you can­not overeat.

PHOTO: IS­TOCK

CALORIFIC COOK­IES: Sweet bis­cuits are closely linked to weight gain so try to keep them out of sight and out of mind at work.

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