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3 Tips to Overcome the Peer Pressure to Eat Unhealthy at Work

Monday morning arrives and you’re excited. Today is the first day of your new diet! Heading to work, you feel confident with high energy. But within just a few hours…  your colleague walks by and offers you a plate of delicious fast food!! What do you do?!

We know how this is going to end, social influence and peer pressure at worm can sabotage our healthy eating habits or efforts. These make it seem impossible to avoid all the unhealthy food and luncheons.

Having some occasionally is fine but soon when it becomes a habit you are bound to experience side effects of such food which includes wait gain and many other ailments.

If you struggle with “food peer pressure” in a work or social setting, this article will give you 3 practical tips to fight unhealthy food temptations at work and stick to your healthy eating goals!


Tip #1 Be proactive by saving yourself with emergency snacks

Most of the work environments promote a culture of unhealthy eating and snaking. High-calorie, fattening snacks are often readily available and shared widely amongst coworkers. When you inevitably get hungry during your work day, you are likely to head straight to the junk food corner!

The first secret to save yourself from unhealthy snacking is to put yourself back in control of the snacks available to you throughout the day. Be proactive. Stop trying to discipline yourself all the time to avoid the unhealthy food. It will tire you. Rather keep a healthy snack always nearby so whenever you feel hungry and are tempted to eat the office junk, you can easily reach to your own snack and quit the urge to eat that junk.

Healthy snacks that will boost your energy should be:

High in protein

No added sugar (or as low in added sugar as possible)

Wholegrain or whole wheat

High in fiber

Excellent examples of healthy work-friendly snack options include:

Single-serve sugar-free yogurt package with a spoon (go for a plain Greek-style yogurt and add your own fruits for less sugar and fresher flavor!)

Fruits with peels (bananas, oranges, mandarins)

Cut fruit in a Tupperware container (sliced apples, pears, kiwi fruit, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, melons)

Small ready-washed fruits in a Ziploc bag (grapes, raisins, dates)
Dips to pair with your fruit: cottage cheese, peanut butter

Overnight Oats

No-sugar-added date balls

A no-sugar-added protein bar or granola bar (Read: the Quick guide on how to buy the best granola bars)

1 small handful of dried fruit (apricots, figs) or nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)

1 Ziploc bag of air-popped popcorn with no butter (season with salt, pepper and a spritz of olive oil!)

Leftovers from last night’s dinner (stir-fry, chicken or beans make excellent snacks!)


Tip #2 – Make the hard choices early

Research shows that we are more likely to make poor food choices when we are presented with unhealthy food choices, and made to choose immediately. Human beings have a “present bias”, which means we underestimate long-term consequences of our choices when we are making an immediate decision. When we make a decision in advance, we are better able to weigh the pros and cons, our circumstances, desires and challenges, and make an informed decision.

Whenever possible, try and make your food choices in ADVANCE. From a psychology perspective, whenever you plan your meals and snacks early, you are more likely to eat healthily!

Pick your lunch choice: Do you have a packed lunch? Or will you be eating out? If you are eating out, try and plan the restaurant and exact item you will order in ADVANCE so you don’t get drawn into the menu and pick an unhealthy item spontaneously later on. If your work caters lunch, plan what you will select for lunch and whether you will make any special requests (brown bread instead of white bread, etc.)

Plan your snacks: Think about the foods you have brought with you from home. What healthy snacks are you equipped with? When will you eat them – before lunch? After a prayer break?

Tip #3 – Stop the mindless munching!

The fundamental reason that munching snacks at the office is so harmful to your weight and health is that office snacking often promotes a culture of mindless eating, as you munch on snacks while doing other work.

Numerous studies have shown that you eat more food when you are distracted, especially on a screen. You will feel less satisfied and want to keep eating. On top of this, when you choose to eat sugary snacks like candy or fattening snacks like chips during mindless eating, this becomes even worse. You take in a huge amount of calories in a very short time, and you don’t even feel full!
Mindful eating is a tremendous skill to practice, and once mastered, you will be able to eat more of what you enjoy with less guilt!

If you have some more tips, share with us in the comments below.

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