How to Say No to Free Office Food

"Free food" are two of the most irresistible words in the English language. Steel yourself against unexpected office donuts with these 4 strategies.

When it comes to grocery shopping or restaurant choices, you can make the best decisions for your own body. However, there will always be temptations that are out of your control. For instance, when you innocently go to get a cup of coffee in a workplace break room and are confronted with a dozen donuts, or a platter of Easter-themed treats. What’s more, odds are low that whoever brought the sweet treats also brought a pile of celery sticks or some roasted chickpeas.

In uncontrollable work situations like that, your willpower is put to a serious test, and it can be very tough to resist. Here are 4 smart ways to make sure that you stick with your goals when free food at work rears its head:

Eat Enough at Meals 

The best way to make sure you have defenses against unexpected free food is to not be ravenous when you go past it. Most healthy diet plans allow you to figure out a schedule that doesn’t leave you hungry all the time. Another way to think about this is that the break room is just not the place to venture right before lunch, when you are building up a healthy hunger for your real meal.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Thinking about your goals, your successes so far, or the next healthy meal you will be eating can all be great ways to make sure you don’t end up snacking whenever food is nearby. This also might mean relocating either yourself or the food if it is within reach and constantly distracting you! You’ve got other, awesome things to think about.

Make a Plan

If you know you will need to attend something like a work birthday party for an extended time, give yourself a specific plan as soon as you know what food will be available. I say things like, “I’ll have a small piece of cake after 10 minutes of chat or after most people have already gotten a piece of cake” which gives me both a quantity and a timeframe (I personally struggle with small talk, so I’m always more tempted to eat if I can use it that as a way out of a conversation!). The goal doesn’t have to be like mine, but having a plan means that you will leave with a reasonable amount of food and the feeling of success.

Go On the Offensive

From time to time, bring your own favorite healthy snack to work to share with your coworkers! My husband’s coworkers laugh when he offers them carrots, which he loves, but they sometimes take him up on a carrot or two—and the bonding that normally happens over more processed and less nutritious food happens over crunchy carrots instead.

Make it WayBetter

What strategy will help you resist the free food in your life that isn’t good for you? Join me in standing up to the mindset of “Have as much as you can, it’s free!” and choose the best nutritious food instead.