Managing Food at the Office

We’ve all been there. Someone brings doughnuts on a random Tuesday morning. An appreciation lunch with pizza stacked miles high. Someone just had a party that weekend and had leftover cupcakes and generously decided to bring it to work and right in front of your face. That last one, I’ve been guilty of doing to my co-workers. It’s true.

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Whatever the case may be, how can you manage keeping on track of your goals when people keep bringing free food? Unfortunately most of this is mental and reminders to yourself. If you don’t have a good memory, write them down and keep them at your desk to remind you when these things come up.

One Thing

If there is one thing to keep in mind when you see free food, it’s this: Free food is the same as food you buy. Just because it’s “free” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

For some reason when we see the word “free” or knowing that something is “free” all other factors and reasoning either is forgotten or doesn’t matter anymore. If it’s free it’s not going to cost anything – or so we want to think. It’s still food. It’s still either healthy or unhealthy, and it will still add to your total caloric intake whether it’s free or you had to pay money for it. At least when we pay money for it, it stops us and makes us think if we really want it.


More than likely whoever brought, let’s say doughnuts, to the office will either just tell you where they are or if they walk by with them, they probably won’t linger next to you, hopefully. Make it to where it’s out of sight out of mind. Of course that can be hard when people keep walking by with a glistening pillow-y pastry in their mouth.

Even if that means taking the long way to the mail room, copier, meeting room, etc. Keep it as far away from sight and smell as possible.

Do the Math

As an example, a snack whether a piece of chocolate, chips, or a doughnut can add 100-300 calories to your day. If that happens a few times a week in addition to your normal diet, that can start to add on a pound or more a month depending on how much it is. And then before you know it you’ve gain an excess of 10-12 lbs just because of randomly grabbing a snack or an extra chocolate a few times a week. Some of us can take a random snack or two a week, and others it can be a delicate balance. Know yourself.

With that in mind, I always plan to have a snack or a piece of dark chocolate planned at the end of the day, after dinner. Individually wrapped so once I get my piece, that’s all I see. That way when something does come up throughout the day, I know I still have something to look forward to by the evening. I just have to wait for it. That way I don’t feel like I’m neglecting anything I want or crave at times. This is about balance right?

Remind Yourself It’s a Victory!

Reminding yourself of what you’ve accomplished or what you are trying to accomplish can help. And walking past or resisting that sugar and fat loaded pastry is a victory. Remind yourself that it is a big deal to resist it, and sometimes it means resisting it all day. It’s a huge victory! Remind yourself of it and not brush it off as nothing. Keeping a positive view of a challenge will start a new wave of positive self talk. Instead of thinking “I can’t eat that” change it to “I’m choosing not to eat that…” or “I’m choosing not to eat it because of the hard work I’ve put in” or “I choose to stay on track!” or something that will keep you on track of your goals.

Don’t Get Yourself Down

Some days the doughnuts win, and that’s okay. This is about managing not constantly putting up a fight of resistance. In fact, even though junk food or high caloric foods are not always the healthiest option, it still gives you nutrients and fuel for your body. Maybe not the best way, but there is some nutrient your body can use. Keep up the positive self talk and realize it was something out of the ordinary for your routine, and get back to what is healthy for you!


Author: Amanda Arroyo

My name is Amanda Arroyo. I am a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, certified by AFPA. I am here for you to be your support, accountability and guide to help you find your own personal healthy, or how I like to say you own "Different Beet".

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