At the grocery store and at home- you are in charge of what you put into your cart and your refrigerator. You have the power to create the environment that supports your healthy lifestyle and weight management goals- when at home.
But how do you manage when your workplace is stocked with junk food, candy, and everyone is sitting all day? Challenging the status quo of unhealthy workplace cultures can be difficult. You don’t want to isolate yourself or make others feel guilty about their choices.
However, you can encourage healthy menus, snacks, and opportunities for physical activity during meetings or conferences. Rather than tossing candy on the table, or bringing cookies to the office, you can encourage the sharing of fresh fruit, nuts, or other low-sugar treats.
This resource from the Center for Science in the Public Interest offers great suggestions for menu planning and tips for healthy snacks and breaks that you can share with your colleagues. Just starting the conversation can be helpful. Modeling this behavior is also important- in what ways are you showing others what a healthy office workplace looks like?
Here are some ideas:
1) Bring healthy snacks to share and decline the sweets and processed foods- the lower the demand, the reduction in supply
2) Take 1-2 breaks throughout the day and walk around the block or the office
3) Drink lots of water
4) If you help with planning, plan menus and lunches that emphasize veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains- eliminate chips and cookies
5) Keep soda and sugar-laden juices out of the office and offer water and tea as the main beverage choices.
6) Make meeting and conference breaks a time for a physical activity that gets people moving and interacting, rather than focused on pastries and cookies.
These strategies can help to cultivate an office culture that supports your healthy lifestyle goals while helping your co-workers to feel more energetic, happier, and productive!
Photo: Rome, Italy 2007