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Steps to Smarter Snacking

Aug 26, 2008
The candy dish at the receptionist desk, your co-worker's birthday cake in the break room, the vending machine in the hall, the cookies your colleague is selling for their child's school fundraiser...your office is filled with opportunities to snack on unhealthy treats all day. But, you can make the right decisions to make snack time a healthy time for yourself.

* Treat your tastebuds. Its fine to indulge every once in a while, but try and substitute lighter alternatives. For instance if you are a salty snacker, microwave some fat free popcorn and top it with some garlic salt. Or if chocolate is your poison, have a small chunk of dark chocolate, not the whole bar.

* Portion Control. Purchase pre-packaged snacks, sold everywhere, and have them on hand at your desk. Or, take the time one evening to bag up small servings of your favorite snacks out of your big, family-size bags at home.

* Out of sight, out of mind. Stash your sweets and snacks in an out of the way drawer, or somewhere not at your desk. Store them in unseen spots, like the back of your drawer, or in a solid colored plastic container, instead of in a see-through one. The less they are staring you in the face, the less likely you will be tempted to open them up.

* Add protein to your snacks. Instead of carbohydrate filled crackers and sugary snacks, opt for low fat string cheese, hummus, whole wheat crackers with a little peanut butter or almond butter. You can pack up a baggie with low-fat turkey pepperoni and a few slices of reduced fat cheese with a handful of grapes, or a Tupperware container of salsa and bite size pieces of chicken to munch on with celery sticks, or a few slices of turkey lunch meat rolled up with a slice of reduced fat swiss cheese and a little mustard.

* Check in with your stomach. Are you really hungry, or just bored? Sitting at your desk weeding through memos, faxes, upset customers, voicemails, your co-workers complaints, and your boss' expectations can be emotionally taxing, and the urge to take a break and have a few snacks can be overwhelming. If you are not truly hungry, take a break by walking around the office, pouring yourself an iced tea or water, and then see how you really feel.

* Learn to be in control of your cravings, don't let a craving control you and through you off the healthy track. A craving is very different from actual hunger. Often, cravings are related to habit. For example, you may habitually have a snack while watching a favorite show or before going to bed. When you recognize that you are just craving make a conscious effort to take you mind off the desire. Try taking a break in a quiet area. Close your eyes, breath deeply and think about your health and fitness goals, plan a fantsy vacation or just day dream. Of try doing something like balancing your checkbook. The important thing is to not give in and eat when you don't need to do so.
About the Author
Chris McCombs and his team teach a fitness program called Personal Trainer Anaheim Hills. Chris owns fitness and training business Positively Fit Inc. helping people all over Southern California lose fat and get the body they want. You can learn more about Chris at http://www.socalworkout.com
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