Holiday parties: Control workplace cravings with these simple tips

Cravings!!! We are rapidly approaching the Holidays and that involves a lot of parties: workplace Holiday parties, end of year celebrations, galas and the like. Control your desire to eat junk food during these celebrations with these simple tips.


(Photo credits: by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

We all get them…CRAVINGS…that intense desire to have something sweet…or something salty…or maybe you want BOTH! The desire can be so great that you find yourself lacking control and not feeling satisfied till you give in.
These uncontrolled desires can be especially difficult to conquer in the workplace where we likely spend most of our time…you experience that mid-afternoon crash…the one that calls for a nice nap or grabbing something to boost your energy levels and your focus…

During the Holidays, breakfast and lunch can be especially tempting… Homemade cookies, Christmas doughnuts, cold cut platters or salty snacks…  So before we dive into how to control these cravings let’s first address why we get these cravings….

Where do cravings come from?


(Photo credit by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash)

There are several theories about where cravings come from. The main causes fall into three buckets:
1) Emotions may be involved in producing a food craving, especially if a person eats for comfort.
2) An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can also cause food cravings. It is also possible that food cravings are due to endorphins that are released into the body after someone has eaten.
3) Lack of nutrients in our body can cause these yearnings. For example if you crave salty foods like pretzels or potato chips you might have a mineral deficiency or are lacking healthier fats, like Omega 3s, in your diet.

Curb them, size them, control them!

There are plenty of ways to curb these cravings, even in the workplace! Once you implement these strategies CONSISTENTLY, they should minimize and put you back in control so you can perform your best!

  • Reducing stress levels
  • Increasing water intake
  • Getting adequate restorative sleep
  • Eating enough protein
  • Packing healthy snacks you can munch on or even chewing gum
  • Eating enough healthy calories instead of starving yourself
  • Portion control so you are not necessarily depriving yourself but controlling how much you consume to avoid overeating

You might be interested: How to fuel your brain and triple your productivity at work

Healthier alternatives for top food cravings


(Photo credit by Vitchakorn Koonyosying on Unsplash)

Replace potato chips with a salty snack that is higher in healthy fats and protein, such as cashews and walnuts. But beware…nuts are high in calories, so eat them in moderation. Popcorn is also a great alternative!

My chocoholics…. opt for dark, milk-free chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. The intensity of dark chocolate makes it easier to feel satisfied with less. Or try carob or cacao nibs!!!

Satisfy sugar cravings with whole fruits. And having dried fruits on hand is a huge help for cravings on the go!

Sparkling water with a squeeze of fruit juice or a slice of fruit provides a similar feeling to soda but with way fewer calories and no caffeine!

Swap that cheese for nutritional yeast which has a savory, cheesy flavor and fewer calories than cheese. Did you know it is also rich in B-complex vitamins and folic acid, and is often fortified with vitamin B12?

Knowing where cravings come from and having strategies and healthier alternatives to choose from can help you say goodbye to those cravings!!!

Decenia Vega Cacao Puerto Rico

Latina entrepreneur converts chocolate cravings into plant cloning business

Puerto Rico is most well known for its famous beaches, all year round good weather and great food but one industry is slowly gaining national attention, plant cloning. And one smart entrepreneur, Decenia Vega Rodriguez, is a fast rising star in this area of innovation and one of eight finalists at AccessLatina accelerator program.

Decenia Vega Rodriguez founder and owner of Semila LLC plant cloning

Decenia Vega Rodriguez founder and owner of Semila LLC

Her company Semila LLC has developed copies of cocoa and other agricultural products that are resistant to pests and have high yields of reproduction. In just a few years, Semila LLC has become a promising star in the world of agriculture and business in Puerto Rico and abroad.

Chocolate cravings create a booming industry

Surveys have shown that chocolate cravings run high among American women. Comfort foods like chocolate can supply nutrients that keep a woman’s hormonal system functioning properly and brain chemicals in balance, according a study conducted by Paul Rozin, Eleanor Levine and Caryn Stoess at the Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania.

A growing industry at expected over $98 billion for 2016, cocoa plants are native of the Amazon basin and other tropical areas of South and Central America, the wild varieties of cocoa tree still grow in the forests. Now, cocoa growing area has extended to the Caribbean and beyond.

Most of the world’s cocoa is grown in a narrow belt 10 degrees either side of the Equator because cocoa trees grow well in humid tropical climates with regular rains and a short dry season.

“I realized that cocoa was a product that had a growing demand and was only harvested in tropical or subtropical countries. So I presented the idea of cloning cocoa plants to my husband thinking he was going to say it was very risky. To my surprise, he told me it was an excellent possibility and that I should quit my job to fully devote my time to the development of this initiative. A bit scared, I did and decided to start learning all about this crop. Every day the passion was bigger and today I am very happy to have started this adventure,” Decenia told LIBizus.

Plant cloning a growing agricultural initiative with global perspective

Cocoa plants cloning

Cocoa plants cloning

Luckily for her initiative, at that time the Red Empresarial de Innovación (REDI) of Puerto Rico was also seeking entrepreneurs who would be interested in offering innovative and technology-related projects to participate in its business incubation program. The program would also help with the startup costs and pay for the basic amenities to run a business. And Decenia, with her go-getter attitude and confidence, was one of the first few people to have benefited from this program.

Today Semila is harvesting cocoa directed to the manufacture of fine chocolates and sold in boutique markets. Her client portfolio is composed of high income professionals, farmers, public and private institutions related to the agricultural industry. Currently she is developing a plant cloning facility with a capacity of 30,000 units in different growing stages. She has plans to export Puerto Rican cocoa to chocolatiers who work with gourmet delicacies in Europe.

Decenia faces obstacles as a woman entrepreneur

Cocoa seeds plant cloning Semila LLC

Cocoa seeds from Semila LLC

Like agriculture almost everywhere, the industry is dominated by men and Decenia faced many obstacles because she was a young female entrepreneur. In fact, she had to prove many businessmen that she knew what she was getting into and was knowledgeable about her field of expertise. Once men around her became aware of her capabilities, her business started to improve and opportunities arose. Today obstacles are related to acquiring technical knowledge and constantly trying to be innovative.

A sexist remark that became a sign of encouragement

Decenia tells the story that has stayed with her as a sign of encouragement for her work. A few years ago while presenting Semila plant cloning she was dressed with high heels and was wearing makeup. She received many questions at the end of her presentation but one man asked her how she worked the land and yet managed to look so beautiful.

“This was the only question I was unable to answer but towards the end of the presentation I showed a photo in which I was working on the land. He then held out his hand and said, “I admire you for what you have accomplished.” To Decenia these were the words that provided her with more motivation that ever.

Latinas who are thinking of starting their own business

Decenia Vega with plant cloning

Decenia Vega working at her plant cloning farm in Puerto Rico

According to Decenia, women have the potential to achieve their dreams. They need to plan, acquire the knowledge about the specific industry they wish to enter and learn the process. She adds, “Expect success and failure, be realistic and do not expect overnight miracles. Do it step by step, BUT DO IT.”

Decenia states, “The virtues of being a Latina entrepreneur were being able to multitask, be effective, have charisma and sense of perseverance, and love for our roots and cultures.”

She does remember that the beginning was not easy as she was all alone. Except for her husband, she did not have much external support. However, she was determined to succeed and knowing that failure was not an option, she persisted.

She goes on to say, “Charisma has helped me present what we do in Semila and the love to my roots has given me strength to contribute to my country, innovate in an industry with great potential like agriculture and improve the economical development of the island.”

Today Decenia can be found working at her company in Puerto Rico and is still as thirsty for success as ever. When not working, she loves to be outdoors, reading and spending time with her family.