As someone who enjoys wellness topics as well as snacking and yes, the occasional workplace donut this is really interesting to me and I’d like to hear others thoughts.
You can do the math and see how the often lethal combination - sedentary work and calorie laden snacks can create weight scale disaster for workers. Even if you are active at work, loading up on unhealthy temptations will contribute to not-very-worthwhile nutrient intake and take a toll on your wellness.
I’m wondering how different work cultures react to this article - does it hold true for your work setting? Does a smaller office = less snacks. Or does a smaller office = less people to eat more snacks because the setting may be more personal?
How much do you indulge? Is your work kitchen laden with snacks daily? Does the office itself provide work snacks? If so are they healthy?
Also I’d have to ask, are there any wellness initiatives within your office/work culture???
In good news, one of our co-workers brought in an ENORMOUS Tupperware bowl of homegrown strawberries this week - eat them here or take some home - she even brought ziplock bags! I of course scooped some up right away. Bad news: Two days later, at least a third of the bowl was still full! WTH?! Homegrown strawberries are like GOLD for two weeks in June around here! I’ll bet if they were strawberry donuts or shortcake they’d be HISTORY!
We have about 1000 employees on our campus so I don’t see all the food areas. The snacks tend to be in individual departments- and there are plenty of them! Candy bowls and donuts abound. Sometimes during this time of year some produce (squash or tomatoes) are left in the break rooms if someone has too much from their garden to use at home. There are also monthly birthday cakes in some departments with the leftovers winding up in the break rooms.
The company itself used to do a lot more in terms of providing free food when we were smaller- we had cupcake days and cookies. That doesn’t happen as much.
The worst time of year is the holidays (December) when we get business gifts almost always consisting of food- those Harry and David towers, popcorn buckets etc. It’s crazy. I’m not good at resisting it.
I’ve always worked for very small firms. The most we ever had was happy hour on Friday. My office in Germany did celebrate birthdays. (You brought in your own cake or sweet thing.) I introduced them to a bunch of American things like brownies and pecan pie. They thought the latter was way too sweet. Now that I work at home I have hummus and vegetables or a cracker and peanut butter if I’m hungry, though usually just another cup of coffee is enough.
I work in a relatively small office and my fellow workers bend to my will. No processed food for snacks. I probably couldn’t control a larger environment.
And eating too much fruit is bad too.
D1’s PR firm of about 100ish people has a “snack room” of sorts - an area that the office keeps stocked with beverages, snacks like popcorn, fruit, granola bars, yogurt, etc. I wonder if having food readily available (and much of it decently healthy) keeps individual people from bringing in stuff to share.
Our office also hosts a lot of academic lunches - depending who orders the leftover lean either healthy (soup and salad) if the health conscious admin assistant orders to not so healthy (deli sandwiches, chips, cookies) if the not into wellness admin person orders. I always notice it’s the leftover salad that hits the trash because it doesn’t get eaten as quickly as the sandwiches or chips!
When I provide treats for birthdays in my department, I almost always bring both a sweet (e.g., brownies) and a nonsweet (e.g., veggies and homemade tortilla chips) treat. I rarely eat at work but the birthday treat tradition goes back a long time, and I like to contribute.
And I’m not dissing the occasional treat to celebrate an occasion or even just to share “because”. But the article sort of makes me stop and think - how often are these occasions happening?
Think about it - it’s Thursday. How many treats this week have you had access to for common consumption?
Since I am a baker, I am guilty of sending DH in to work with lots of baked goods. I am sure his people are mostly grateful, as they are meant to be enjoyed. This week I sent him in with a huge tub of home made cookies, and he told me that he and a few of his colleagues will take one and go outside for a walking meeting around the building, to discuss their topics, with a lot less guilt.
He told me one of his newer employees (a recent graduate) had never had a home made cookie before!
My old firm used to have bagels, spreads, and pastries available free on every floor. One man I worked with could inhale a whole plate of Danish without even realizing it. Lucky for him, he was 6’6 and slim despite the Danish.
The old office where I started my career had a great break room with a fridge. They would bring in food sometimes and folks would bring in snacks. When we won or settled a case, the entire office would be treated to lunch–brought into the restaurant or at a restaurant (depending on the case). I was fortunate that I was young and an ectomorph, so didn’t worry much about my weight in those days. Some of the others did tend to gain weight from our firm. Long hours, lots of sitting, stress, and lots of food.
The departments in my building hold a lot of meetings so our kitchen frequently has leftover snacks. Usually there’s some combination of fruit (apples, oranges, strawberries, bananas, or grapes), crackers and/or vegetables and hummus, cheese, yogurt, and brownies or cookies. Once in awhile there are bagels and cream cheese, but not often because most of us seem to be avoiding bread. And we always have tea and coffee. Of course, there is that one department that favors pizza and soda. The yogurt and fruit are the first to go. The cookies and brownies are harder to get rid of, but the pizza and soda are the items that hang around the longest.
Our HR department offers health and fitness workshops which seem to be well attended. A lot of people take walks during lunch, and I know quite a few who go to the gym too. I think some of what I’m seeing are changes brought about by HR’s health initiatives. Every season they seem to offer something new (healthy eating workshops, yoga classes, etc.) I think it’s having a positive effect on the habits of the staff.
I work for a small firm of around 30 people and we definitely don’t have wellness initiatives. The majority of my co-workers are out of shape and overweight. I would say they get more than 1300 calories per week in “extras” - mainly because the things that are brought in to share are things like donuts or sweets. I’m guilty of the same thing, though - if there’s something “bad” I really want, I’ll make it at home, have a piece and bring the rest in to share. We do potlucks for things like bosses day and they asked me to bring in a vegetable tray. Well, I did and it was completely eaten because it was a nice tray that I put together myself - I blanched green beans and asparagus, little tomatoes, Malibu carrots, etc. with some nice dips I made from scratch.
We also have clients and folks we refer to who send us a lot of food. And the folks we order lunches from for meetings will often bring us “samples” of new products. The firm provides coffee, tea and sodas but that’s about it. Oh, and candy - Costco sized bags of it. Nothing healthy to speak of.
The term “calories” is almost meaningless, without specifying where the calories are derived from. If I eat a bag of unsalted almonds and a low sugar yogurt each day, then that’s about 260 calories per day right there. And multiply that by 5 work days per week and you get 1,300 calories.
Obviously donuts, cakes and girl scout cookies are bad for you and you shouldn’t eat them. I’m sure I eat more than 1,300 calories per week in healthy snacks, but I also rigorously exercise everyday too.
Sure not all calories are made the same, but… If you eat 260 calories a day on top of your maintenance calories, guess what? The body will find a way to convert some of the other stuff you eat into extra pounds. And the quoted study specifically says that most of the workplace snacks are nutrient-light, sugar-laden stuff.
(Qwerty creator obviously did not anticipate that “I” and “O” placed next to each other will lead to lots of typos on tiny phone screens).
@sabaray What are Malibu carrots? Is that a brand or a variety. I’ve never heard of it before and googling didn’t answer my question.
Right, but I’d argue you’re the exception rather than the norm, sushiritto, in terms of snacking habits. I finally broke my bad habit of grabbing a few pieces of candy at work every day when my foot was in a boot and I was also on crutches. I couldn’t get to the candy easily, so honestly forgot about it. Can’t say I recommend that method of curing sugar addiction, though!
This week alone, we’ve had what I would call three really bad food situations. Jimmy John’s brought free sandwiches. I wouldn’t touch those with a 100 foot pole, but they were gone in less than 15 minutes. A title agency brought a huge tray of hotdogs and chili sauce at lunch time. Again, something I won’t eat, but they were gone in less than 15 minutes. Every Friday one of the secretaries brings in 3 dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme (her daughter is a manager there, I think). Technically these are not “snacks”, but I think they fit in the category described in the article as free food. It’s lunchtime and they’re gone. It’s summer in a 30 person office on Friday with a lot of people out - 36 donuts are gone. I didn’t have any!
It’s a type of peeled baby carrot, @doschicos - my husband works in food service and that’s what they call them.
Yes, the article does say that “in general” these workplace snacks have little nutritional value, but even snacks with nutritional value have calories. The focus to me is on the number 1,300.
I know I eat more than 1,300 calories/week in “snacks”, but you can’t operate in a vacuum, since my meals versus somebody else’s meals can (and likely) be completely different. Some folks eat 3 or more large meals, others have smaller meals throughout the day.
I guess I just don’t like the emphasis on the number 1,300. 1,300+ is totally fine for me, since I know my body composition. However, after writing all this, I realize that the article is aimed at a certain audience. The general public. Not me. :))
I have successfully avoided the office candy dish since 12/31/17. But today there were caramels… so far I have stayed strong.
Someone bring doughnuts in a few tomes a week but I’m not a big doughnut fan so that’s easy for me to avoid.
We’ve had a bad week here, too. 3 different sets of donuts this week. Free Chik-Fil-A breakfast sandwiches this morning. Piles of bagels and cream cheese and pastries up in HR left over from a meeting.