WATCH: CDC research shows how free food at work can rack up calories. How you can avoid them.
Office grazing could be detrimental to your health if you're not careful. WDAY sat down with a Sanford nutritionist and asked how you can stay snacking while staying healthy.
FARGO — Whether there's a designated snack desk or an on-site cafeteria, there are usually plenty of options to mindlessly eat away stress in the workplace.
A recent study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found employed Americans take in an average of 1,300 calories per week from workplace snacking. That includes things like cookies or doughnuts set out on the office snack desk.
Their research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , followed a sample of more than 5,000 working adults to track their eating habits at work, and found the options available have "limited dietary quality."
Sanford Health dietitian Casey Bjoralt says it's all too common.
"People will go back multiple times and not even realize how much it's adding up throughout their week," Bjoralt explained. "And with that amount every single week, that is going to contribute to the slow, steady weight gain over time."
She said this can lead to things like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer.
To get around these temptations, Bjoralt recommends packing your own snacks from home. But if you're going to take a bite from the office, eat with moderation.
"So if you're going to go up to that table, take a plate, take one of those items and enjoy it, and don't go back up for seconds, too," she said.
This doesn't mean you have to avoid things like cookies or doughnuts. Just make sure you're keeping track of exactly how much you're snacking and don't graze.
Sanford also recommends forming a wellness committee at your workplace to come up with ways to keep the office healthy.