February 13, 2015 | by The Polyclinic

Do you have a thoughtful co-worker with a well-stocked candy dish? Most workplaces do. For many, grabbing that tiny treat from your co-worker’s communal candy dish is something that happens a few times a week, maybe less or maybe more often, depending on the time of year and how enticing the choices are. (Or who’s looking.) You may not even give these sweets a second thought, or you may feel they’re harmless snacks that boost your energy level to carry you through the day. Could these small indulgences be contributing to weight gain—or no weight loss—over the past year?

Well, let’s do the math. Take one snack-sized candy bar. Each bar is approximately 80 calories and 17 grams of added refined sugar. Now, let’s say you’re your snacking three times a week. That may not seem like much, but over a year’s time it adds up to nearly 11,500 extra calories and 2,450 extra grams of refined sugar! Aside from the increased calories, these added treats have little nutritional value and may be perpetuating a sugar craving that leads to more unhealthy choices.

The reality is that a healthy snack between lunch and dinner may be just the nutritional boost your body needs to curb that mid-afternoon hunger pain and sustain your energy. Instead of fighting the hunger, be prepared with an ounce of almonds, a serving of Greek yogurt, or some fresh berries or baby carrots. Although these add calories too, a healthy snack may be what you need to tide you over. It can also help you make better decisions at dinner time and avoid overeating because you’re ravenous.

Making small changes to your diet can be an easy way to get started on reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Want to learn more ways to manage your diet and keep your hand out of the office candy dish? Make an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians. They will work with you one-on-one to provide nutrition education and tips to help you eat better, feel better and achieve your health goals.