Friday, February 5, 2010

In Session: Stuck at Work

I was feeling immense blog guilt that I hadn’t posted since Monday. I have had a busy week with book club (which I had to cram for), a lecture on my top 10 winter training table foods and a TV segment on edible aphrodisiacs all of which you will hear more about in future posts. I was logging on to study my notes on oysters and chocolate when I received a great question from a client. In these “in session” posts I like to bring you some of the kernels of wisdom (without naming names) and interesting questions I receive from my nutrition clients.

The question was this: “I've been eating lunch around 12, having my snack at 3 and then if I'm still at work at 7 I'm hungry again. I've been having a snack around 3, and then a smaller snack around 7 (Dr Crackers) to hold me off until dinner (which this week has been at 9-9:30pm). I’m not sure if I should be doing that or holding off completely until I get home.”

 This is a great question because many good eating routines can get thrown off when meals are delayed. Maybe you’re stuck at work or perhaps you have a late dinner reservation but whatever it is there are some key things to do and others to avoid. The biggest “don’t” I would say is holding off. Waiting to eat when you get home at 9pm will only result in overeating. Having a small snack, as this client did, is strategic. You really don’t want to go more than 4 hours without eating and better to give yourself an extra 100 calories than downing 300 when you arrive home.

However, a saying I use in sessions is “at meal time eat meal foods.” If your body craves a meal and you start eating snacky foods oftentimes we eat too many crackers or nuts. I suggested this client bring organic sliced turkey, Pacific brand single serving soups or containers of brown rice into work. These foods are more satisfying. She can then eat the balance of dinner later. This works out to ½ of dinner at 7pm and ½ at 9pm. The other approach would be to eat dinner at work and avoid the 9pm feeding altogether.

The timing of our meals and snacks greatly impacts our results. If you see a week is a heavy work week or jam-packed with events try to strategize in advance. OK now back to oysters…



  1. My problem is that I bring snacks to work and end up breaking down and eating them early. No self control to hold off until the end of the day.


  2. My problem is that I am good all day, and when I walk in the house, I lose all self control. I pick horrible snacks to eat, and then I end-up eating dinner at 9pm and falling asleep at 10. I have been planning my snacks, and that helps me alot to stay focused and away from the candy jar at work.

    I need to have my snack at home ready for when I walk in the door, or eat it at work before I leave so my routine at home changes.

  3. Good comments both of you. First for "anonymous" I would evaluate the type of snacks you bring to work. If it's something sweet or alluring, you may be tempted to eat it before snacktime. If you choose more food-like snacks (hard boiled eggs, turkey slices), crudite and dip or raw nuts may find you can hold off. And Julie, this is very classic working woman/working mom. A few ideas: first, maybe you're too good during the day and actually starving at home when you get in. Second, much of the eating we do when we get home is our way of unwinding from the day. Don't snack when you arrive home. Have a small snack on your way home to stabilize your blood sugar and then have dinner ready even if it means leftovers, food delivery or a roasted chicken from the market. Having a meal waiting will help you avoid the after-work munchies, hope this helps.

  4. My new job is giving me some challenges with regard to meal timing. Then I will be going abroad for 10 days. If I eat a pack of chia stix or a packet of Barney butter on the sly, would that be enough to stabelize blood sugars & keep my metabolism humming? Chances are I won't have access to lean protein as I tour the factory for hours on end.