Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sweet solutions

My halted effort to get a bag of Peanut M&Ms left me jonesing. I wanted chocolate, and I wanted it now.

I found myself practically running to the most likely stash: my co-worker's desk drawer. There's usually a community hat (yes, hat) filled with mini Twix and bite-size Snickers. I opened it up quickly only to find a lone peppermint candy. My eyes darted around the office, my brain whirring as to who else might have candy. I thought of the reporter who usually has dark chocolate Kisses but I hate raiding her jar too often. I thought of the table where people put unwanted food but all that was there was an old phone charger. (Don't ask.) Finally, my work husband offered me a small piece of a Milky Way and I retreated back to my desk like a feral animal with a bone to chew on.

Obviously, I had a problem. It was a problem that I decided could only be solved by meeting it head on.

I needed my own supply of chocolates. While some people might not be able to have a bag of candy in their desks, I thought that having a bit around would help avoid those runs to the vending machine and the guilt that comes with pillaging my office mates' supply of sugar.

I picked up a bag of dark chocolate minis (and a Cherry Coke Zero for the win) at CVS on my way to work. After looking at the nutrition stats at a traffic stop, I decided that I could have two pieces of chocolate each day after my lunch. 

Two pieces have 80 calories, and I like to keep my sugar fixes to 100 calories in the afternoon.  A third piece wouldn't kill me either but I find that dark chocolate is rich enough that I don't need to continually go back to the bag. 

I enjoyed my Hershey's with a mug of hot water spiked with True Orange - my latest obsession as I try to limit coffee but still crave a warm drink in the cold newsroom.

And that there is one of my tips for maintaining portion control: make the dessert something you sit down to eat and enjoy rather than grabbing it from a bowl and eating it mindlessly. I literally take a 5-minute break for candy, turning away from the computer, so that I can taste the candy.

Other tips hiding in here:

*Select rich foods that don't leave you wanting more. I could eat jelly beans till the cows come home but make them black jelly beans (my favorite), and I only need a few.

*Buy individual/mini-sized treats. It's hard to know just how many M&Ms you're eating if you buy a family-size bag and stick your hand in several times. The fun-size bags, like the ones you give to trick-or-treaters, are a better bet. Even if you eat five bags, you know that you ate five bags and can track it.

*Speaking of tracking, I entered the two mini bars into MyFitnessPal before I even made my hot water. I hate having to go in to adjust my diary because I binged.

*Like everyone is so fond of saying, have a drink - preferably the non-alcoholic kind as I'm writing about afternoon snacking and you might be at work. It's hard to eat 10 pieces of candy if you have 10 ounces of water floating in there.

*Finish it off with a peppermint. Sugar free peppermints have about 10 calories and make pretty much everything else taste disgusting. Also, your co-workers will thank you as you decided to bring raw red onions to dip in hummus.

*The most obvious: Don't buy anything that you can't control yourself around. I'm pretty good around candy but if I were to take Ruffles and French onion dip to work, all bets would be off.

What are your portion control tips? Do you have a candy stash?


  1. I have a serious sweet tooth issue. The office candy jar is dangerous. Laffy Taffy, mini Kit Kat...yes please. I try to limit myself to one of each, but there are some days I have ZERO self control. When I put it into MyFitnessPal and see how far over my sugar alotment it puts me usually helps me stay in check.

    I too have no control when it comes to chips and french onion dip. Of course after I eat my weight in that, I have to have something sweet to balance the salty. Vicious cycle.

  2. Work husband! Love it! I haven't had a work husband in this current job but I do have a work dad! haha

    Guuurl. The other day I went to Kroger famished. I got my dark chocolate in the organic section, but COMPLETELY forgot about it by the time I got to the manager's special section. I ended up with 2 bags of something or other clearance crap choclate. Bad idea!

    I loved hot water w/lemon in the AM, but was eventually too lazy to buy the lemons, cut them up, then some would go bad before I used them. I love the idea of the true lemon flavors as my lazy/will not go bad substitute!

  3. Great blog, Kimberly! I also work in an office and lately my afternoon sugar binges have been out of control. The snack table is right behind my desk, and so all day long I grab a few chips here, a few Reese's Pieces there... it's so hard to control! I'm finally learning that I need to bring something for myself to enjoy rather than relying on my own willpower to avoid the snack table. And the peppermint tip is a great idea! (I find that the same thing is true for chewing a piece of minty gum. Everything tastes nasty afterward... even water, unfortunately, so drink your water first! :))

  4. If I'm going to buy candy, or really anything sweet, I have to buy something that's pre-portioned. I just cannot do it if it's not. Do you have Trader Joe's by you? They have these 100 calorie chocolate bars that are very good and satisfying.

  5. I so understand the sweet cravings thanks for those great tips