By Flower Aston
Have you ever been focusing on a task, maybe working away at your desk, and you get stuck on a thought that you can’t seem to push through? Soon, despite your efforts, your mind begins to wander a bit and eventually you start thinking about that drawer up front filled with all kinds of delicious candies stocked on a continual basis with goodies for you and your coworkers (how lucky). You think, well, I could use a break anyway so you go up front and pick out your favorite treat. An hour or two goes by and you repeat. Then you find yourself working late, and since you didn’t pack dinner, you scavenge the treat drawer again, this time trying to take an edge off your hunger. Maybe it’s not a drawer but perhaps a table or counter in the back designated for treats, or several treat jars sporadically placed on coworkers desks, possibly even your own. An occasional treat is nice sometimes, yet somehow it never seems to be only occasional.
This very scenario happens at countless workspaces, and if you can believe it, even dietitians’ offices- including one of my previous places of employment. I found myself thinking about how hypocritical it was to be educating my clients day in and day out about healthy snacking, yet two doors down at our front office, we had a whole drawer filled with candy that many of us would dip into daily and often several times a day.
Little did I know our office coordinator was struggling with having this snack drawer in such tempting proximity. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been for her to avoid dipping in as it was situated right to her left. So one day we discussed the idea of replacing our candy drawer with a healthier snack drawer. We decided everyone would provide the office coordinator with some funding and she would restock the drawer frequently. One might think there would be a lot of resistance to the idea because people love their M&Ms; delightfully, we found the opposite. Everyone seemed to like the idea and it became a great success! Sure some items weren’t completely healthy but most of the time they were better than what we had been previously snacking on. And when I worked unexpectedly late it was nice to be able to have a small snack and feel good about it too.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Unsweetened and low sodium choices are best, but even if they are not available, the items below are still better options in comparison to candy.
- Dried fruit such as mangos, pineapple or banana chips
- Mixed nuts
- Trail mix
- Peanut butter pretzels
- Whole grain fig bars
- Chocolate covered raisins or almonds
- Wasabi peas
- Whole grain crackers
- Whole grain granola bars
If this situation happens at your place of work, don’t be afraid to make a change. Many of your coworkers likely feel the same. A healthy snack drawer (or something similar) can make a big difference in physical and mental health on a daily basis. I know it did for us!