4 Tips to Help You Avoid the Secret Sugar in Your Everyday Office Meals

Posted by on Monday, April 7th, 2014 with Comments Off on 4 Tips to Help You Avoid the Secret Sugar in Your Everyday Office Meals Comments

Want to cut back on sugar? Good for you! Research shows that’s one of the best moves you can make to reduce your risk for chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease, as well as maintaining good mental health and cognitive abilities.

The bad news? Sugar is insidious. Reducing your sugar consumption to nutritionist-approved levels doesn’t just mean avoiding cupcakes in the break room or skipping your afternoon soda — sugar is everywhere in our daily diets, from ostensibly healthy breakfast foods to takeout lunches that we would never think of as sweets. Worst of all, since sugar adds flavor without fat, many so-called “diet foods” are actually higher in sugar than their less-processed counterparts.

coworker eating giant gummy bear

Sugar in the office isn’t always this obvious.
Image source: Flickr user StolenGolem

Still, cutting out sugar is a very worthwhile goal, and one that can be easily met once you know where to look for the sweet stuff. And there may be no better place to start than by examining what you eat at the office every day: making small changes to your daily routine can add up to a big difference in the amount of sugar you eat.

With that in mind, here just a few tips to reduce your unconscious sugar consumption during office meals:

While everyone else that piled onto the lunchtime takeout order is chowing down on oversized sandwiches and chips, you’re smugly snacking on a green salad with grilled chicken… but, it’s almost a guarantee that your fat-free dressing is loaded with sugar. At Au Bon Pain, for instance, two ounces of fat-free raspberry vinaigrette has 12 grams of sugar (twice as much as their regular balsamic vinaigrette, and six times more than bleu cheese). Order the real stuff, and use a little less; since it tastes richer and is more satisfying, you won’t need as much.

takeout salad with dressing

Fat-free dressings can be secret sources of sugar.
Image source: Flickr user Matt de Turck

When you head into an office breakfast meeting, you may think that grabbing a container of yogurt instead of a donut is a smart, sugar-conscious move. Unfortunately, if that yogurt is fruit-flavored, you’re wrong. While all yogurts will contain some milk-based sugars (lactose), the fruit-flavored kinds tend to include lots of added sugars from fruit flavors. Just for example, Yoplait’s strawberry-banana yogurt has 26 grams of sugar — while your standard glazed Krispy Kreme donut has 10 grams. Instead, lobby the meeting planner for plain yogurt (especially high-protein Greek yogurt) and a bowl of actual sliced strawberries to mix in yourself.

We may associate Chinese takeout with lots of salt, but some dishes include copious amounts of sugar — so beware of the shiny, glazed sauces found in orange chicken, General Tso’s, and sweet-and-sour (OK, maybe that last one shouldn’t come as a surprise). An order of orange chicken, for example, can pack in as much as 88 grams of sugar. Instead, choose a healthier Chinese takeout dish like beef and broccoli, which is still delicious despite its lack of a sticky sauce.

orange chicken

Shiny, gooey sauces is a direct indicator of sugar, especially in Chinese food.
Image source: Flickr user Kate Sumbler

The most dangerous source of sugar in your diet? It’s what you drink. At Subway, you could literally eat five sugar cookies and still not consume the amount of sugar in a 21-ounce fountain Coke — and that’s far from the largest beverage size. Healthy-sounding drinks can fill your cup with sugar, too: a low-fat wild berry smoothie at Panera Bread has 68 grams of sugar, more than twice of what you’ll get in a grande iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. Whether alongside your lunch order or as part of an afternoon coffee break, the beverages you sip at work can really rack up your sugar consumption. And since some evidence has shown that drinking diet soft drinks can lead to higher calorie consumption in general, don’t just ditch regular Coke for the kind full of fake sugar: make the more drastic switch to unsweetened iced tea, or even water with a generous slice of lemon. 

Even when you want to cut back on sugar, you don’t need to cut back on variety or flavor. With a wide range of menus and easy online ordering, the food delivery experts at Waiter.com can help you find delicious yet wholesome office meals and snacks to make your workplace happier and healthier every day!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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