How do I avoid morn­ing tea junk food?

North Waikato News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Q: I’ve re­cently started on a health kick and have been try­ing to eat well. The prob­lem is, my­col­leagues keep bad­ger­ing me to eat junk food at our team morn­ing teas. Do you have any tips for how to deal with this? – Terri.

This is a chal­lenge that I have wit­nessed count­less times, so you’re def­i­nitely not alone. Firstly, please know that when some­one is up­set or both­ered by you choos­ing not to eat junk food, it tends to be about them, rather than you. Of­ten, it’s a re­sult of their own re­la­tion­ship with food. Or it might be due to a per­cep­tion that you are be­com­ing overly re­stric­tive or rigid in your food choices (whether that is a re­al­ity or not).

It is very easy to be in­flu­enced by oth­ers when it comes to what we eat. Some­times fear plays a role in this – fear of up­set­ting oth­ers by not eat­ing what they have pro­vided, fear of be­ing dif­fer­ent or sin­gled out, or fear of miss­ing out (on the food it­self or the so­cial as­pect).


The per­cep­tion that we might be seen as be­ing ‘‘dif­fi­cult’’ if we don’t con­sume the food that is pro­vided can also in­flu­ence what we eat. This can come from a beau­ti­ful place – es­sen­tially, try­ing to please oth­ers – but some­times we need to be firm and put our­selves first, to hon­our our own body and the com­mit­ment we’ve made to sup­port our health and vi­tal­ity.

Here are some help­ful tips: Bring a plate of some­thing that you’d like to eat – such as some vege sticks with hum­mus, a plat­ter of fresh fruit or some home­made bliss balls made from nuts and seeds and a few fresh dates. This way you can join in the morn­ing tea with your team. You’ll likely find that oth­ers will be happy to have some more nu­tri­tious op­tions, too. You don’t have to ex­plain your­self, but some­times it can help to let your col­leagues know that you have some per­sonal health goals that you have com­mit­ted to. Rigid­ity when it stems from fear (of food or weight gain, for ex­am­ple) does not serve our health in any way. Re­mem­ber that it’s what we do ev­ery­day that im­pacts on our health, not what we do some­times, so hav­ing some less nu­tri­tious food oc­ca­sion­ally while so­cial­is­ing and en­joy­ing the com­pany you are in can be part of a healthy and sus­tain­able lifestyle.

Also re­mem­ber that there’s a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween one choco­late bis­cuit and eat­ing the whole packet, and it’s when we have an ‘‘all or noth­ing’’ men­tal­ity that we’re more likely to end up do­ing the lat­ter.

For your new way of eat­ing to be en­joy­able and sus­tain­able, it’s im­por­tant that you don’t feel de­prived or like you’re miss­ing out. So if you de­cide to have that one choco­late bis­cuit, en­joy it and don’t feel guilty. How­ever, if you don’t want to eat the foods that are avail­able at your morn­ing tea, or you’re just not hun­gry, that’s per­fectly OK too. Do what feels right for you.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. See Dr Libby live dur­ing her up­com­ing ‘WhatAmI Sup­posed To Eat?’ tour through­out New Zealand. For more in­for­ma­tion and to pur­chase tick­ets, visit dr­


Eat­ing less nu­tri­tious food oc­ca­sion­ally while so­cial­is­ing can be part of a healthy and sus­tain­able lifestyle.

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