June 4, 2015

Today is National Doughnut Day. What’s with all these office snacks?

Bored of the rings? That would help. Photo: Shutterstock


The problem with working in an office – in particular, an open plan office with a kitchenette –is the amount of treats that get stuck under your nose.

Whether it’s because of a birthday, a leaving do, or just a particularly calorific way of celebrating the successful termination of Project This-or-That, most firms are subject to a continual supply of doughnuts, muffins, mini-bites and other foodstuffs liable to precipitate late-onset diabetes.

Another challenge is the treats people bring back from their holidays. Swiss chocolate? Don’t mind if I do. Oreos from Florida? Yes please. Turkish Delight from, um, Turkey? That’ll go down nicely with my Starbucks caramel latte, thank you.

Now, we’re grateful for all the gifts. And we recognise the psychological importance of shared goodies in the workplace. (Communal snacking fosters a sense of togetherness, much like ‘breaking bread’ does in the Christian tradition.) And there’s no denying that every so often you need a little bit of something – usually, researchers say, about 3pm, when sugar injection becomes a necessary condition of productivity.

But we thought we’d check out the calorific content of some of the snacks that ‘grace’ the kitchenette. And goodness – it looks like you’d be better off putting a KFC dispenser in reception.

Doughnut disturbs

The Temple of Doom.

As it’s National Doughnut Day (in the US), we thought we’d begin by looking at the damage done by a Krispy Kreme. Generally, those with glazing and/or chocolate are clocking in at about 470 calories each. Ouch – that’s over an hour of high-impact aerobics for most of us to work off.

Then there’s Starbucks. Its Rocky Roads are delicious, but they’re also over 500 calories each. You’re better off with those tubs of ‘bites’ from Marks & Spencer, but make sure you don’t neck too many – the chocolate and caramel bites are about 100 calories each, equivalent to a good ten minutes of moderate cycling.

So apart from wearing blinkers in the kitchen/throwing stuff away as soon as it comes in/banning ‘treats’ altogether, what’s the best way to avoid getting more junk in your trunk?

Well, one obvious way is to avoid the places where the bad stuff is. When you want a break from your desk, go for a walk or visit another colleague’s desk, rather than dropping by the tea-station and saying hello to the plate of Hobnobs. (Don’t go to the outside smoking area, though – that’s also a lot of bad news waiting to happen.)

Breakfast. Eat it, don’t cheat it.

Experts suggest having a decent breakfast: if you’ve eaten your full share of muesli in the morning, you’re less likely to be tempted by the sticky stuff.

Also, drink water or herbal tea to make you feel full. Actually, a bottle of water on your desk can help you in kinds of ways, as staying hydrated can also lubricate your joints and flush out toxins.

Plus, you can use your bottle to chuck water at the malevolent ‘feeders’ who insist on pushing cakes under your nose.

On the subject of drinks, watch that Diet Coke. Apparently, artificial sweeteners have been shown to stimulate appetite and increase sugar cravings.

Finally, beware in particular supermarket-bought birthday cakes. The Marks & Spencer Colin the Caterpillar cake has about 300 calories a slice – add to that the glass of white wine you might be tempted into having as part of the celebration, and things really can go downhill fast.

A good trick: when you’re cutting birthday cake or pouring wine for others, people tend not to notice if you’ve had any yourself. And when you’ve foisted it all off to some other poor so-and-so’s, there’s nothing left to be tempted by, right?

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