The new year brings with it the inevitable (for most of us) resolution to lose some weight. Typically, this means pledges to eat healthier, but it’s not only what you eat but also how and when you eat that can cause issues, including one place where we tend to be less aware of what we consume: the office.
USA Today recently looked into office eating and offered up some eye-opening statistics about how little changes to our snacking habits in the workplace can make a big difference. They cited a study by Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, that showed that “people consumed an average of 2.2 more pieces of chocolate when the treat was placed in clear jars versus opaque, and 1.8 more pieces when the candy was located near their desk versus across the room.” In following with these numbers, “when Google's New York office replaced a glass jar of freebie M&Ms with dried fruit, their 2,000 employees collectively consumed 3.1 million fewer calories over a seven-week period.”
Of course, snacking at work is part of what helps many people get through the day, but numbers such as these remind us that sometimes we snack because we’re hungry, but often we snack because food just happens to be in front of us.
To curb office snacking (or snacking in general), experts advise keeping food out of sight and keeping it farther away from your desk. If you do want to keep it nearby, make sure they are healthier snacks that are lower in sugar and other calories.
One more set of numbers: “According to one survey, people consume up to 700 extra calories a day through snacking alone.” That’s a lot of office M&Ms. Maybe you should just call in sick?