There’s been a fair amount of hysteria as of late regarding the so-called ‘office cake culture’ in the United Kingdom. If you work in any kind of shared office environment, it’s probably something you have encountered on a regular basis.
Not to mention, something you probably quite enjoy.
In short, office cake culture refers to the tendency of office workers to bring communal treats and goodies into the workplace. On Monday, Dave in accounting brings a tray of leftover cakes from the weekend. Tuesday sees Trudy bring a bunch of brownies into the mix, followed by Mark’s famous/ infamous muffins on Wednesday and so on.
Truth is, these are the kinds of pleasures and indulgences that make the 9 to 5 grind that little bit more bearable. Nevertheless, health experts warn that these small-yet-regular treats are precisely what’s causing the UK’s accelerating obesity epidemic.
This may be a little on the dramatic side, but they’ve certainly got a point.
Oral Health and Hygiene
It’s no secret that excessive quantities of fat and sugar can have a hideous effect on our overall health. Nevertheless, it takes comparatively small quantities of sugar (when consumed on a regular basis) to do a number on our oral health and hygiene.
The way experts see it, taking your oral health seriously morning and evening is only beneficial when coupled with healthy eating habits. You reach for an advanced Bluetooth electric toothbrush in the morning, finish the job with an electronic water flosser and head to work feeling fresh as a daisy. Only to then go and ruin it by 10am with a mouthful of cookies.
So, does this mean everyone working in an office environment should immediately eliminate treats from the equation? Should the days of bringing communal goodies into the office be brought to an end?
In a word…no.
As is the case with most things in life, it’s simply a case of knowing where to draw the line. As far as leading health experts are concerned, nothing (within reason) is particularly bad for you, if enjoyed in moderation. Cakes, biscuits, sweets and so on – all fine, just as long as you don’t get carried away. Nevertheless, when there’s literally a silver platter of the stuff right there in front of you, abstaining is easier said than done.
The temptation is to go nuts and ignore the consequences.
Top Tips for Sensible Moderation
On the plus side, if you’re serious about making a sizeable reduction in your office cake intake, there are ways and means to simplify the process. You’ll be needing plenty of willpower along the way, but you can certainly boost your chances of staying on the wagon as follows:
1. Take Healthy Snacks
First up, snacking throughout the day isn’t just enjoyable, it’s healthy and important. Doctors worldwide agree that the key to better health and weight management lies in eating little and often, rather than pigging-out three times a day. There will always be unhealthy snacks in the workplace and you need to snack, so why not take your own healthy snacks along for the ride? Rest assured – things have come a long way from the sawdust-like healthy snack bars of years gone by! Check what’s up for grabs right now and you could be pleasantly surprised.
2. Don’t Get Too Hungry
Along the same lines, one of the worst things you can do is to allow yourself to get too hungry. In doing so, you’ll be far more likely to make ill-informed decisions as to what you eat. When the body becomes excessively hungry, the brain sends signals telling you to give it an immediate and sizeable dose of fat and sugar. Hence, the reason we’re more inclined to eat junk food when we’re low on energy. Rather than allowing yourself to get hungry throughout the day, try to get into the habit of grazing on a more continuous basis. Just as long as you do so with the aforementioned healthy snacks.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
One of the best ways of staying satiated throughout the day is to drink plenty of water. In so many instances, feelings of thirst are misinterpreted by the brain as feelings of hunger. You feel as if you desperately need something to eat, when in reality all you need is a glass of water. Next time you find yourself with a hunger pang you can’t get rid of, try drinking a sizeable glass of water and see what happens. Stay hydrated throughout the day and your body will thank you.
4. Ask Not to Be Offered
If you really want to keep off the sweets for any given period of time, you could simply ask those around you to stop rubbing them in your face. It’s almost impossible not to succumb to temptation when you’re literally being presented with gorgeous goodies on a regular basis. Nevertheless, if said goodies are kept out of sight, they’re also more likely to be out of mind. Simply ask not to be offered when treats are going around the office and do your best to ignore them!
5. Chew Gum
Chewing gum can be a great way of reducing cravings for two reasons. First of all, chewing gum is known to reduce hunger pangs and have a direct impact on appetite. Hence, you’re less likely to find yourself with unhealthy cravings in the first place. In addition, a mouth filled with minted freshness doesn’t always go well with sweet treats. Try drinking a glass of orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth and you’ll know what we’re getting at!
6. Start Something New
Last but not least, why not be the proactive party to start something completely new in the office? If there’s a culture of bringing treats and goodies into the workplace daily, why not encourage healthier choices? Set a challenge, host a competition, set up ‘theme’ weeks – endless options to explore. If you can get those around you to start bringing healthy (yet still delicious) treats into the office, you’re golden!