Doing Atkins at Work
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Doing Atkins at Work
An Article by Atkins Center writer Sheila Buff.
The workplace is a dangerous zone - carb-wise. Here's how to avoid the traps that lurk in most offices
and other work environments:
It's your turn to bring the doughnuts for coffee break with your coworkers. It's your boss's birthday and
everyone's going out to a celebratory lunch. It's lunchtime and the only place nearby is a fast-food restaurant.
You won't have time at lunch even for fast food, and so you're going to have to brown-bag it. You're working
overtime and the crew wants to send out for pizza. How can you possibly stick to your controlled carb regimen
and still survive at work? Answer: It's easy; but it will take a little ingenuity and some advance planning.
Dealing with Coffee Breaks:
The break-room vending machine is obviously full of sugary soft drinks, cookies, candy and other high-carb
snacks. The coffee cart adds doughnuts, muffins and pastries. Don't even consider them! Also, remember that
excessive caffeine intake has been known to cause unstable blood sugar in some individuals. Decaffeinated
coffee or tea or herbal tea are better bets.
To avoid being tempted at break time, eat a good, controlled carb breakfast before you go to work. If mornings
are too rushed to prepare a nutritious meal, have an Atkinsⓒ
Breakfast Bar or Ready-to-Drink shake instead. A
breakfast with sufficient protein and fat not only sets you up for a positive and productive day, it keeps you
from experiencing an energy dip and being ravenous by mid-morning.
That's not to say that you can't enjoy a morning or afternoon controlled carb snack. Good, convenient choices
include nuts and seeds, turkey or beef jerky or wrapped individual cheese portions. If a refrigerator is
available, you can also bring in such homemade snacks as hard-boiled eggs or celery sticks filled with cream
cheese. Once you're beyond the Induction phase, your own controlled carbohydrate bagels or homemade muffins
from an Atkinsⓒ Quick & Easy Bake Mix are great options.
And when it's your turn to bring in the doughnuts, instead provide a healthy snack, such as a crustless quiche, that
everyone can enjoy.
You should be able to get a suitable lunch at the company cafeteria. Skip the fried foods, sandwiches and
desserts. Instead, scrutinize the hot entrees, the salad bar and the grill section for good controlled carb
choices. Ask to substitute extra veggies for high-carb sides. Or exercise a host of options by bringing your
own meals. If a refrigerator is not available, pack your homemade lunch in an insulated bag or small cooler.
Transport tuna fish, chicken or egg salads in plastic containers; green salads can travel in a zip-strip
plastic bag with dressing on the side. Baked chicken legs, slices of roast beef, other cold cuts and
steamed shrimp are also highly portable. (These foods work equally well if your job involves frequent
When dining out with coworkers or a client, you should be able to find plenty of alternatives to
carb-heavy foods on the menu of just about any restaurant. Instead of something breaded or fried, order a
baked or broiled dish. Ask to substitute extra veggies or a salad for starchy side dishes such as rice or
potatoes. Pass on pastries and other sweet desserts; instead, choose berries with a dollop of
unsweetened whipped cream. Business lunches used to routinely include alcohol, but in today's work environment
it's perfectly acceptable; even preferable, to skip the booze. While alcohol is not that high in carbs, mixers
often are. Moreover, your body burns alcohol for fuel before fat, so that drink will slow down your
fat-burning process. For more ideas on eating out, see How to Eat Atkins-Style Anywhere!.
Sometimes fast food is all that's available or all you have time for, but it's difficult, although not
impossible to get a good controlled carb lunch at many of these places. Your best option at a hamburger
restaurant is to order a couple of cheeseburgers (banish the buns) along with a side salad, or to try
one of the larger lunch salads. Pass on the French fries. For more tips on eating in fast-food
restaurants, see A Fast-Food Road Map.
No matter how pressed you are for time, don't skip lunch; you'll only be more tempted to eat carbohydrates
later in the day when your energy level nosedives.
Overtime carbs may be the hardest of all to avoid, especially if you weren't able to plan ahead by packing
dinner or an extra snack. As your workday stretches out even longer, your level of stress rises, as does
your desire for something sweet or crunchy. Create an emergency stash of controlled carb snacks and energy
bars so before you get to this dangerous point you can dip into it instead. When your coworkers are sending
out for dinnertime food, go ahead and join in, making the best choice you can from the available menu.