Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - How to eat healthy when you work in food service?




janelasaurus
12-20-2007, 12:48 AM
Hey there, I'm new! Just joined! As I get closer to graduating college (May 08 baby) I think more and more about how I want to present myself to the world. Weight loss plays a large part in the myriad of steps I need to take to make myself the best I can be. This website seemed cute and like a great community! Can't wait to see if this works. I can do it! (and so can you!)

Anyway, I'm student manager at a cafe on my campus --- fun job but HORRIBLE for my eating habits. Not only can I make myself as many Americanos and Milkshakes as I'd like, for free (gahhh) but I'm also surrounded by FRENCH FRIES, PANINIS, PIZZA, MOZZARELLA STICKS, BURGERS, oh man, every good thing under the sun. I'm a super stressed college student and usually end up eating here during my shifts.

Does anyone else work in such a hostile environment for weight loss? Where everything around you seems to CALL YOUR NAME?

I'm enduring finals right now, so I'm eating worse than normal. Today I made myself a milkshake, had sausage with my breakfast, and bacon with my lunch. Such bad choices!!!

How do I keep myself from falling to all these temptations?


Glory87
12-20-2007, 04:38 PM
Hey :) it's been a long time since I tried to lose weight while working in food service, but I will tell you what I would do - declare the entire place offlimits and bring my lunch/snacks/dinner every day. At least you have the advantage of having coolers/microwaves to heat stuff up!

For me, personally, saying "no" to a particular category of food makes things a lot easier for me. I don't have to think about it - it's just "no."

If you can't do that, you definitely need to say "no" to the items that are 100% diet sabotagers - big milkshakes, greasy burgers, mozzarella sticks etc. Is there a healthy turkey wrap sandwich option you can stuff with lots of vegetables? Salads? Fruit?

It does completely suck for you - but in a way, it's good practice. You have it worse than most people, but EVERYONE is faced with that kind of temptation now and then, from leftover cake at work or a friend that brings a dozen donuts to a meeting "to be nice." All of us have to learn that it's okay to say no to offplan food. (it can also be okay to eat offplan food, but that's a lot trickier - it sabotages a lot of people and throws them offplan for days, which is NEVER good).

Do you really want to lose weight? You can say no to milkshakes - you have to be READY to want weight loss more than milkshakes. Do you know the exact calorie count of those milkshakes? If not, find one online for a similar product and keep that number right in the front of your mind at all times - is the milkshake worth it? Probably not.

gailr42
12-20-2007, 07:24 PM
For me the whole world is a "hostile environment" as far as food is concerned :lol:.

I know nothing about working in food service, but it seems to me that if they serve hamburgers, they must have lettuce and tomatoes to put on the burgers. So, could you make a salad? I seem to remember that the little cafe at my college (about 300 years ago) had a bowl of fruit - bananas, apples maybe. Also, seems like they had breakfast cereal in the little boxes. Are any of those items available to you? Is there freezer storage where you could keep a package of frozen turkey burgers and use those just for you?

Sometimes a really difficult challenge is appealing...maybe this could actually help you. You can show the world that it can be done despite all odds.


baffled111
12-20-2007, 08:27 PM
I was working in a restaurant when I was losing earlier this year. It was very difficult. I worked in a chic little bistro with very high quality foods. I had a hard time staying away from the cheeses! I just had to decide that I wasn't going to snack at work. No snacking! For my dinners, I'd ask the kitchen to make me some nice protein with a hearty salad. If there are healthier options where you work, plan your meals around those. And no snacking! Milkshakes are the enemy of the dieter!

mandalinn82
12-20-2007, 08:34 PM
But...as long as your Americanos don't have tons of sugar or milk, they have negligible calories, so if you do want a "treat", have one of those!

Glory87
12-20-2007, 10:15 PM
I was working in a restaurant when I was losing earlier this year. It was very difficult. I worked in a chic little bistro with very high quality foods. I had a hard time staying away from the cheeses! I just had to decide that I wasn't going to snack at work. No snacking! For my dinners, I'd ask the kitchen to make me some nice protein with a hearty salad. If there are healthier options where you work, plan your meals around those. And no snacking! Milkshakes are the enemy of the dieter!

Heh as someone who is starving every 2 hours or so, I can't live without snacks, but definitely BRING YOUR OWN healthy snacks and don't snack on unhealthy work stuff! A good snack is 1/2 cup of hummus with carrot sticks, not a milkshake!

baffled111
12-20-2007, 11:23 PM
You're right Glory. Healthy snacks from home are good; handfuls of fries are bad.

I worked with a woman who lived a virtually carb free life (except for veggies). She was constantly eating at work: lots of cut up veggies and tons of boiled eggs. She had a whole section of the reach-in just for her snacks. OP, perhaps you could try to do something like that. The ultimate goal here, I think, is to develop a genuine preference for healthy foods rather than fatty foods. That requires practice. It takes a while for your mouth to realize that hummus and carrot sticks (or even those Kashi TLC crackers-yum!) or veggie-heavy meals are just as delicious as something super-fatty and processed. But eventually your mouth and brain and body CAN come around to a love for healthy foods. You just have to be willing to commit to the choice.

Amanda, I too have an americano when I want a treat. I drink them black, but since they're stronger and espressoier than drip coffee, they feel a bit like a treat. Yummy.

THINBYJUNE
12-20-2007, 11:41 PM
I live your life everyday times 12. I manage 12 restaurants in an airport. Fun? Yes. Easy to navigate while eating healthy? Not so much. One of my favorite tricks is to take an order (works great with mozz sticks or pizza) that was a mistake or a waste for some reason. Move it out of the kitchen into your office or out of the way and cover it with a paper towel. Go back and look at it about 4 hours later. REALLY look at it. Then remember that visual next time you think you want it again. I completely stopped eating mayonaise by putting a portion cup outside on a warm day. That was 4 years ago (It would probably work with a milkshake too) The other thiing I do is decide what I will eat before I ever walk in the door. I find that when I'm already hungry I will grab what's fastest but if I already made that decision I can start getting it ready before I ever reach ravenous mode. Hope this helps and congrats on the 5/08 graduation.

Steph89
01-04-2008, 09:27 PM
i used to work at Fazoli's Italian fast food restaurant. it was horrible trying to lose weight and work there. They had YUMMY breadsticks (160 calories each!) and i would down about 5 at a time!!! Also their chicken parmesan were good, 900+ calories... I usually ate their club sandwiches on wheat bread with a diet coke and no breadsticks when i tried eating healthy, also they had salads that were mediocre, nothing special. My suggestion is either learn to say "no!" (i know it's hard!) or try healthier options...diet coke or unsweetened tea always cuts back on calories!

ILoveLove
01-04-2008, 11:02 PM
Yeah you're not the only one with the problem. I work in a little coffee shop kiosk in the hot food section of my grocery store - I dread going to work because I know I can't resist snacking. Some days are good, some days are bad, you just have to take them as they come. The other day I was so good and didn't have anything besides the snacks I brought. Today I couldnt help but have half a biscotti and 1/3 of a cookie and a small handful of nuts. Its tough.. really tough.. the best thing to do is just bring healthier altnernatives and really really discipline yourself. Just think how much better you will feel once you deny yourself of those things! I mean yes, once and a while its fine. If I had had just half of the biscotti I would have been proud of myself haha.

JasonsLea
01-05-2008, 02:36 AM
I used to work in fast food and I work in food service right now at a hospital. When I first joined WW, I used to always make sure I ate before going to work and brought my own healthy snacks. And since I tend to eat even when I'm not hungry, I brought peppermints or hot candy. You ever tried to eat a french fry right after sucking a peppermint? GROSS!