Holiday PSA: Stop Dumping Your Junk Food On Other People

Author: Audrey Fleck - MS, RDN, LDN Publish Date: November 18, 2019

I need to just get this out there. Not for me, but for my clients and anyone who struggles every year, month, week, or even day with what I am about to say…

The break room at work has become a dumping yard for leftover holiday or celebratory foods from home.

If it’s not filled with employees bringing in their leftover junk, then it’s the food “gifts” shared by happy customers, patients, or sales reps who are just trying to make a kind gesture.

Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with a treat here and there, but that’s the problem… it’s almost every day and year round.  I work with people who are actively trying to improve their diet with goals of reversing their health conditions or to just live a long and healthy life.  One of the biggest barriers for many of my clients is the breakroom at work.

You may think you are doing something nice for someone by sharing leftover cake from your son’s birthday.

Chocolate is always an easy “gift” for someone when you want to say thanks.

What you might not realize is that “Mary” who you work with is trying so hard to avoid eating sugar.

She has to enter the breakroom to get her packed lunch out of the refrigerator and  low and behold, there’s a piece of cheesecake that catches her eye.

To someone who is a self-proclaimed “sugar addict”, it’s quite hard to pass up free cheesecake.

Mary is able to justify why she should have the cheesecake. She starts each day off with the intention that she is only going to eat food she packed with her, but she is always able to justify even a little bite…. and that little bite usually is the beginning of a downward spiral where she goes back for more.  If it’s a stressful day, Mary’s drive for sugar is higher than ever and the breakroom is literally calling her name.

What’s even worse sometimes is that Mary’s coworkers know she’s trying to stay away from sugar, but offers her a treat on a daily basis.  “Come on, just one bite!”   It’s as if they are waiting for her to fail.

Are you Mary? Are you the coworker? Are you the employer? Are you the happy customer? You could probably be each person in this scenario.

You could argue, “well that’s Mary’s problem.”  I agree – Mary needs to get to the bottom of what is driving her sugar addiction and she is actively working on it, but don’t you see… when it’s so easily accessible, how can she really break this habit?  It’s like throwing beer in the face of an alcoholic in rehab.

Sugar is addicting. Haven’t you heard of the studies where rats prefer sugar over cocaine when given a choice?

I am going to leave you here with this special holiday PSA from yours truly:

Don’t dump your leftover holiday food in the breakroom.

Don’t force people to take leftover Christmas desserts home who really don’t want them.

Be sensitive to people who may not want more food or do not want to taste your delicious looking cake. No thank you means no thank you.

Give a fresh fruit basket for a gift instead of a box of donuts.

If you are in charge of food at a party – can you try to offer both decadent and real-food (less sugary) options?

About the Author

Audrey Fleck - MS, RDN, LDN

I’m Audrey Fleck, a dedicated dietitian with over a decade of experience, and the founder of Functional Origins, my private practice located in Bucks County, PA. With a strong educational background, including a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics and an MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, I specialize in providing an integrative and functional approach to healing, primarily tailored for women.