Every morning for coffee break, I have a candy bar and a can of cola. How do I break this daily routine?

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Every morning for a coffee break, I have a candy bar and a can of cola-type soft drink. There are only vending machines in our office and we have to stay in our department for breaks. Do you have any suggestions to help me break this daily routine?

Eating habits are just that – a habit of eating. You are in the habit of getting a candy bar and a can of pop at the vending machines. If they are in your view and convenient, you will have to provide yourself with alternative snacks. To begin with, bring a more appropriate snack such as fresh fruit, a small can of juice, raw veggies or popcorn.

Substitute snacks that you can eat out of hand without making a mess. Stick to fruit that is in season. With vegetables, clean a large quantity ahead of time at home and put them in plastic bags in the refrigerator.

Another appropriate snack to eat that is low in calories is popcorn. Don’t pick the microwave kind from the vending machines that someone else decided for you how much oil, what kind of oil and salt the popcorn has. Pop the corn at home and bring it with you. Three cups of unbuttered popped corn (about one cereal bowl full) are equal to a piece of bread with one teaspoon of margarine on it, assuming you cooked it in oil. If you popped the corn in an air popper, three cups are equal to eating a piece of bread. At home, you can limit the amount of salt you put on the popcorn as well.

To switch to a lower calorie beverage, try mineral water, fruit juice or diet pops. Check out the vending machine. If your machine doesn’t have bottled water or juice in it, ask to have them put in the machine. Another alternative is to bring your own beverage to work.

Be sure to vary your snacks, otherwise, you will be bored and revert to your candy/soft drink habit. Don’t test yourself by completely eliminating a snack.

With the vending machines staring you in the face, saying “eat me” and your test of “willpower” may prompt you to fail. Instead, put yourself in a positive atmosphere by providing appropriate snacks so that you are more likely to succeed. If you find yourself all of sudden in front of the vending machine and your hand on the button, ready to push, you can still press the coin return. Don’t be disappointed in yourself if this happens, one slip does not mean that you are back to your old habits.