THE FOOD ALTAR
DEFINITION: The room or place at work where birthday cakes, unhealthy snacks, leftovers from work meetings, and other donated food wind up.
Virtually every workplace has a food altar that presents workers with a never-ending buffet of temptation. This common area accounts for the majority of unconscious, unplanned, and unhealthy eating decisions made during the working day. The caloric intake of food originating from the food altar can be staggering.
Food altars in the workplace will always present a challenge. Here are some strategies for dealing with them:
- Educate yourself about calories in the types of food on the altar.
- Have a smart breakfast and lunch high in protein that will stave off hunger while at work.
- Be honest with yourself. “Just a little” can add up to significant pounds over time.
- Try to avoid the room or area that houses the food altar.
Food altars don’t just exist in the workplace. Give some thought as to whether you have a food altar at home. What is on your kitchen counter? Are there snacks and left-over goodies on the counter in full view? Are bowls of candy or nuts on the coffee table in the family room? Think about how often you are tempted when seeing these foods multiple times each day. Seeing food is a very strong food cue. Try to keep food off the kitchen counter or anywhere it is clearly visable…if you don’t see the food, the temptation to eat will be less.