Updated on June 26, 2017.

It’s an all-too-common workplace scenario: It’s someone’s birthday in the office, starting with bagels in the morning and ending with cake in the afternoon. How do you say no when everyone else is saying yes?

You cave and have a slice of cake — “just a sliver.” But, still. Your work health goals are off to a rocky start, so you figure…why not make it a cheat day? Which turns into a cheat week, which turns into a cheat month. I get it — been there, done that.

Late-nights, difficult deadlines, easy-to-access snacks — it’s a recipe for a healthy-living disaster. While staying healthy in a fast-paced work environment (like an advertising agency) is tough, it is possible if you keep your healthy living toolkit stocked.

1. #MealPrep

A buzzword it is, but an effective one at that. The more you prepare for the week, the less likely you are to desire the unhealthy food floating around your office. Sure, the team might be going out for their 3rd lunch that week, but that’s exactly what #mealprep is for.

2. Smart Snacking

What often comes to mind when we think of the word “snacks” are artificial products that might taste delicious for the five minutes they last, but that make you feel like crap the rest of the day. 

The good news is there are ways to be smart about your office snack attacks. Below are some of my go-to snack options.

Sweet, guilt-free snacks:

  • Greek yogurt with granola
  • Fresh fruit
  • LARABAR, RX Bar, or KIND Bar
  • Dried fruit

 Savory, healthy snacks:

  • Celery with hummus
  • A handful of almonds
  • 1 cup of baby carrots
  • ½ cup of edamame

 Ready to defeat the office bully that is unhealthy snacking? Learn about some more snacks alternatives here.

3. Office Perks

Desk jobs are a hindrance to physical activity — just ask my FitBit who is constantly ordering me to take more steps throughout the day. That being the case, there are often office perks that you could be taking much more advantage of, including:

  • The office gym. You might very well have free access to a gym within your office or nearby.
  • Bike share programs. The Quattro office park recently implemented this and it’s been a fantastic way to put movement into or after our workdays.
  • Walking trails. If you work in a suburb, there might very well be a walking trail within 1-2 miles of your office. If you work in a city, parks are a great option for walking as well. Even if it’s for 30 minutes, any movement is good movement. And it might very well be the time away from your desk you needed to think of your next big idea.

4. Insurance Benefits

The insurance you have could very well include preventive health services that you’re not aware of. I know this was true for me before Quattro started bringing in a dietician on a regular basis. This service is an added health insurance benefit and has allowed many of us here in the office to set health goals and monitor them on a bi-weekly basis.

5. Accountability

Your coworkers and team members are there to push you. They push you to be the best version of yourself in the work place. So why not use that motivation when it comes to staying healthy at work?

Find a coworker(s) who has similar work health goals as you do. This way, when you’re reaching for that Monday morning bagel, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable (and slap your hand away).

You could also bring your workout clothes into the office to change into when the day wraps up. This will motivate you to drive directly to your gym or workout class, rather than head home first where you could be surrounded by distractions.

6. Hydration

If you’re not on the water drinking train, it’s time to get on. Drinking water throughout your work day helps keep you hydrated and rejuvenated. Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger, so sipping on water can help ease those cravings. 

Treat yourself. Go buy a cool water bottle you feel comfortable walking into your meetings with. And remember: It’s recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (which is almost equivalent to a 2-liter bottle). So, it’s time to get started.


This is a lot — and much of it takes time to start doing effectively. But the earlier you start, the sooner you’ll be able to take a stand against the birthday cake that comes around the office next month.