Reporter: Shannon Samson
Web Producer: Amber Griswold
If you're finding it hard to stay on a diet, you may want to change your habits at work. What you eat on the job, may counts just as much as what you eat at home.
Nearly 60 percent of U.S. workers earn their paychecks sitting in an office and more than 90 percent of our workplaces have vending machines full of junk food. So, it's no wonder this country is faced with an obesity epidemic.
Nutrition educator Kathy Belcher showed us how to make healthy changes. She says some vending machines have healthy choices like pretzels and animal crackers, but mostly they're filled with junk food or calorie-laden beverages.
Kathy explained, "They are calories that will expand the waistline without contributing good nutrition."
To resist the temptation of the vending machines during that mid-afternoon slump, you have to be prepared. You have to put in your desk drawer some healthy snacks.
Kathy commented, "We've got flavored milks. If you want something sweet in the afternoon, that can satisfy your sweet tooth, fresh fruit and vegetables, apples, grapes, baby carrots. We've got cheese, individual portions, 80 calories, you get calcium, protein a whole package of vitamins and minerals along with those calories."
And instead of donuts at the next staff meeting, Kathy suggests bagels cut in half for portion control and make-your-own parfaits. By consistently offering things like fat-free yogurt, low-fat granola and fresh fruit, employers may start to see healthier employees which could mean lower health care costs for everyone.
Since Kathy works for the Southeast Dairy Association, she's happy to point out that a recent study published in the American Journal of Hypertension estimates more than 200 billion dollars could be saved in health care costs over a five year period if everyone ate three to four servings of dairy products every day.
Some vending machines are even offering skim milk. You need a special kind of machine though.