Under the impression that your office catering won’t align with your New Year’s resolution diet? Maybe it’s the first time you’re attempting a diet, or maybe this is a second or fourth shot at it for you. But this time you know it will be different – you’ve got a plan, and it doesn’t involve dining out.
Just a guess – does your plan involve bringing your own, healthy meals to work, or only eating the salad that comes with your office catering? We applaud the effort, but realistically, that’s not sustainable for most people. A benefit of working at your company is to have meals available to you, after all.
It’s convenient to take advantage of your office catering and you save on the expense of going out for lunch or time spent meal prepping. Setting health goals for yourself is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the perks your company provides to achieve them. With the tips below, you can have your cake, and eat it too.
Identifying macros and calorie-dense foods.
Most diets designed to control your weight do so by managing what you eat based on your food’s proportions of fats, carbs, and proteins. If you’ve researched your diet ahead of time, you’ve probably come to know these as “macronutrients”, or macros for short. These macronutrients all add up to calories, and many of you likely know that in order to lose weight your body must be in a caloric deficit in some capacity.
A strategy you can use when enjoying your office catering is to identify the macros in each item. Assess whether you can have a full portion, a reduced one, or if you should skip it altogether based on your calculations. There are apps available to simplify this process, such as myfitnesspal. It functions as a database of foods that allows you to look up the estimated macros of a particular food item or collective meal.
Four oz of grilled chicken breast will have roughly the same calories whether you make it at home or if it’s served through office catering. Although, start adding a few ounces of sauces and toppings and that calorie count starts to rise.
The addition of sugars, oils (“carbs” and “fats” in macro-speak) and other ingredients (calories) to dishes is common to elevate flavor and complexity, which is why “dining out” is considered bad practice when dieting. In fact, many diets recommend making your own food to minimize how many “surprise” calories you consume in your pursuit of fullness.
No need to worry with Chewse office catering as our labels contain descriptions of each item so you can calculate the macros of each dish more efficiently. When entrees appear made up of whole ingredients, you should be able to enjoy a regular-to-you-sized portion without extra calories.
On the other hand, if entrees look covered in glazes or sauces, take a little more caution and take smaller portions. For example, “teriyaki-glazed brussels sprouts” is just code for brussels sprouts roasted with oil and sugar. Also, when “creamy” is used to describe sauces, soups, and veggie dishes it likely means they’re cooked with added flour and butter. If in doubt over how calorie-dense an item is, take no more than a sample or small bite to be kind to your diet.
The biggest reason people tend to overeat is that they over-serve themselves in the first place. This is an all too easy trap to fall into when your office catering is self-serve and you’re in control of the serving spoon! Even though you’re better off measuring your own servings, over-serving yourself consistently, even just a little bit, can cause weight gain over time and is the destroyer of diets.
For many, filling up the empty space is the norm no matter the diameter of your plate. The hungrier you are, the more food you think you need. Help yourself manage portions by keeping a reasonably-sized meal prep container at the office. This will keep the volume of food you’re eating more consistent and prevent you from overfilling your plate.
For those who have family-style office catering, it goes without saying that it’s best to avoid seconds, even if you use your meal prep container! If you don’t want to give up your dinner, then do yourself a favor by resisting the second plate. You’re better off serving yourself a full plate once, pacing your eating, and allowing yourself time to feel satiated, than to get in line for seconds.
Office Catering + Meal Prep
Diets are especially hard to maintain when we are constantly being tempted by our favorite comfort foods. It’s unrealistic to expect that you can avoid food temptations all the time, which is why a major part of dieting involves planning ahead and preparing for such occurrences. Two things to keep in mind here; food temptations are easier to manage when you are full and specific food cravings can be curbed by healthier foods.
With Chewse’s family-style office catering, planning ahead is made simple with the ability to integrate your Chewse dashboard with your company calendar and slack channel. You will always know what meals are planned for the month and have the flexibility to add or swap items to better suit your team’s preferences. Use this information to take the surprise factor out of your office catering and take control of your diet. Better yet, if you have enough information, you may be able to incorporate your meal calendar into your meal prep and save yourself time and money, while sticking to your diet!
Say it’s Sunday afternoon, right before you’re going to start prepping your meals before the week, and you take a look at your office meal calendar. You see that you have Mediterranean food coming in on Wednesday and hamburgers with tater tots on Friday.
Looking at the menu with the tips you’ve received, you’ll see you have a lot of diet-safe options with Wednesday’s office catering – simple grilled chicken with tabouli, greens for sides, and pita with hummus to tie it all together. So long as you take it easy with the pita and hummus you can feel confident that you’ll have a calorie-smart meal. As for the hamburger day, it may make sense to bring a healthier side, or consider going without the bun, tater tots, and ketchup to avoid the additional carbs.
Catering to your diet.
Maintaining your New Year’s diet with office catering is simple if you follow the previously mentioned steps. Make sure you are in the know when it comes to the food you eat. If you can’t figure out the macros of a meal, over-estimate and enjoy only a small sample of questionable items. Portion control is key, and utilizing your own meal prep container for meals prevents over-eating. Pacing your eating allows you to identify once you’ve reached fullness, which halts the need for seconds. Lastly, planning ahead is crucial as it allows you to prepare alternatives to unhealthy options and to curb cravings with healthier foods.
We’d say good luck, but you don’t need luck. You got this, happy New Year!