At my work, occasionally a coworker will bring some goodies to share, such as homemade banana bread, store-bought chocolate chip cookies, wrapped candy bars, or some other treat—yum, right? Very thoughtful, very generous, very kind, very delicious!
It’s kind to share treats, whatever kind they are. This brings a smile to people’s faces. It’s out of the ordinary, day-brightening, energizing, and a purposeful statement that someone cares enough about their work community to bless the members of it.
However, anyone trying to make healthier eating choices and cut calories will feel left out of the pleasures found in those surprise goodies or might even be tempted to nibble those sweets and give up their healthy program! One “slip” is not really a problem but so many people feel a failure if they succumb to a high-calorie snack when they are trying to cut back. It makes many people want to give up unnecessarily. For myself, when someone brings high-calorie snacks, I try to avoid walking into that part of the room. At my work station, I always bring my own fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks to nibble on during the day, so I am safe, no matter what. But, rather than just hiding away with my own stash, what about me sharing healthy goodies with my coworkers for them to enjoy?
One issue, of course, is that filling bowls full of fruits and vegetables is more expensive than baking a double batch of cookies or making two or three loaves of banana bread. Supplying the 100+ people who are working at my current project with more than a strawberry each is a bit pricey, but, it can be done within a budget and a little planning. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive than a lot of other treats, but yesterday, I shared an array of fruits and berries with my whole project group as an Easter treat. Here is what I did:
To keep the price down, I shopped at a store that had very good fresh produce for a great price, Aldi. (If you are not handy to an Aldi, you can look for bargains, coupons, sales, or BOGOs at other stores with fresh healthy foods at low prices. Even our local MN, premium-type stores, like Lunds/Byerlys, do BOGOs every week on some items. Just get on the email list for the store that you like to find out what are the weekly deals.) I chose the bulk of the fruit items from the weekly “Price Specials” list— strawberries and pineapples. I skipped grapes, since they were more expensive this week; skipped bananas, because they were all green; but I bought two bags of Clementines; a ripe, medium-priced cantaloupe; two pints of blueberries; and one, more expensive, carton of blackberries. I washed everything carefully, then, prepared, pared, sliced, chunked, and packed them all properly, arrived early, and when I got to work, I put them all out in plastic tubs, accompanied with lots of napkins, plastic forks from the break room, and some paper bowls I had at home, left over from some party (paper products are pretty cheap at Aldi, also). Nothing was fancy. All told, I invested less than a couple of hours of my time.
I’d made a sign to hang above the fruit with this cute bunny picture (below), along with the words, “The Easter Bunny has dropped by with a basket of healthy goodies,” and I spread out those sliced strawberries, fresh pineapple and cantaloupe chunks, blue- and black- berries, along with a bag of mini-pretzels twists and whole-grain crackers. All in all, a refreshing, but low-calorie, treat.
At the store, I set a reasonable budget that I could afford, of about $20 (I can’t and don’t do this more than once or twice a year: cupcakes on my birthday is the other time; see my post “Cupcakes“). At my workplace, I sanitized the area where the food was going to rest and throughout the day, I monitored the “cleanness” and orderliness of everything, cleaning up any messes at the end. Voila! Counters and workplace is cleaner than when I started, for sure.
People appreciated this effort and these treats with smiles and thanks. All day long, I heard, “Are you the one that brought the fruit? Thank you so much!”
Although I am not perfect at work and I suppose that I have been crabby or complaining at times, too, I would rather be known for doing something thoughtful and kind. Being kind and sharing makes people’s day and helps them to see the “Good Fruit that Easter is all about” in action at work in an act of kindness.
Today, this put some smiles on faces that otherwise might have been glum because it was raining and because it was Friday and because most everyone would have rather been at home getting ready for company or just relaxing. Probably, on Monday, some generous person will bring Easter candy from the 50% off sales or just to get it out of the house or just to share, but at least everyone will remember that healthy snacks are an alternative or addition to the treats.
Remember that it isn’t very hard—or that expensive—to put a healthy smile on people’s faces with a thoughtful and kind act. Do it with your kids or grandkids. Chip in on it together with a friend or coworker as a project. Make it fun! Think of the people who would really appreciate such a pick-me-up in their workday. I know I would!