Are office snacks making you fat?

Doughnuts, kolaches, birthday cake or cookies, who knows what someone has up for grabs in the office break room? One thing is for sure, the office snacks are easy to come by and easier to do damage to your waistline.

Researchers at the Cornell Food & Brand lab placed Hershey’s kisses in an office and found almost 50 percent more were eaten when they were on a coworker’s desk.

Proof, said Baylor College of Medicine registered dietician Kristi King, that location of snacks affect our diet.

“Office snacks can make us fat if we're not careful with how much we're consuming and we're not paying attention to what we're actually eating,” she said.

It may be impossible to resist the tempting foods that make their way into the office, but you can certainly try to slow yourself down with obstacles. Put snacks in a drawer or opaque container and researchers say employees across Houston could save millions of calories.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” King said. “Also works if you put this container on the other side of the room so you have to get up and actually go get it.”

Fill the container with healthy snacks and you will not even be hungry for your co-workers candy... maybe?

“If you have a fridge at work, you could use something like yogurt or hummus, you could do deli meats and string cheese sticks,” King recommends to curb hunger. “If you have just a regular drawer, you can do beef sticks, you can do nuts, you can do nut butters, you can do fresh fruit.”

She also recommends popcorn, hummus with vegetables and yogurt because they have fiber or protein that will keep you full and focused.

However, she warns the kind of yogurt with fruit on the bottom can have hidden sugars. Try to go for plain yogurt, if you can, and add fruit or cereal.

Here are her tips for identifying hunger and keeping it in control:

• For one week, keep track of why and when you eat outside of meal times
• Drink water!
• Chew sugar-free gum if you eat from boredom
• Use a stress ball to keep hands busy
• Lock up snacks or put snacks in a container you can’t see through with a lid
• Get a buddy to hold you accountable
• Keep healthy snacks on hand
o natural nut butters
o deli roll-ups w/ cheese
o hummus w/ carrots & celery
o 1/2 peanut butter & jelly sandwich
o Yogurt
o natural popcorn
• When there is food lying around – if you absolutely can’t abstain, just eat ¼ or ½