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Candy at the front desk, Girl Scout cookies in the break room, and birthday cake at 3 to celebrate the honoree. The office can be the death of a health goal.

These tempting treats are a minefield that can wallop willpower and derail good intentions. So what can you do?

Rather than a candy dish, greet visitors with a pitcher of cold water infused with strawberries, apples, cucumbers or pineapple.

The office staff might adopt a monthly birthday, celebrating all the birthdays in the month on the first day of the month rather than every day there is a birthday.

You could save your extra calories for the treats you enjoy most. Don’t waste your time on jellybeans if you prefer a little chocolate. Or if someone in your office is a great cook, say yes to those and no to the doughnuts.

A “something now, something later” strategy may be a tool to use. This is especially helpful for those with diabetes. Depending on the carb count, they could divide the sweet to eat some now and some later with afternoon break or even the next day.

Downsize the cups and plates. Great for root beer float days because research shows that eating smaller portions of food satisfies a person just as well as a larger portion. The theory is that once you’ve swallowed something there is not much memory of how much you ate—you just remember, mmm...that tasted good. So take a couple of bites and then move on. After 10 minutes you will likely have lost the desire for more.

Rather than sweet treat celebrations, consider

  • A fruit basket with whole fresh, ripe fruit
  • Roasted nuts with dried fruit
  • Yogurt parfaits with fruit and granola
  • A cheese and vegetable tray
  • Fresh fruit such as a big bowl of grapes, strawberries, tangerines or several varieties of apples
  • Deviled eggs
  • A tea tasting with a variety of teas
  • Or try these Coconut Seed Clusters. These are good on their own, or crumbled over oatmeal, yogurt or cottage cheese. I like the healthy fats, protein, and fiber the seeds provide. The coconut adds natural sweetness. You may not even miss the cookie tray!

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.

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