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Can You Eat Break Room Donuts Mindfully?

By Erica Bartlett

DonutsIf your office is anything like mine, the stereotype of donuts in the break room holds true – and that can be quite challenging. Nearly every Friday, once I walk in the break room kitchen and see the pink boxes of donuts, they’re in the back of my mind. Even if I have healthy snacks on hand, I know the donuts offer a quick, easy break from stressful (or boring) meetings, looming deadlines, long conference calls, or whatever else I might want to avoid.

Even though the donuts disappear fairly quickly, no one seems to eat them with any great enjoyment. People usually take them back to their desks to munch mindlessly while checking e-mail. I get the sense that none of us would go out of our way for one. They don’t seem to be what we really love to eat, nor do they leave us feeling particularly refreshed or energized. They just happened to be there.

Then one Friday everything changed. Some of my colleagues had decided that we should have real donuts, donuts made by hand at local bakeries. We still ended up with an abundance of donuts but of a very different caliber. Coming from three different bakeries, these treats didn’t need any bright packaging or neon-colored frosting to get our attention. Their wonderful scent and inviting, homemade-look spoke for themselves.

This time, we chose what we wanted with great care, cutting off small pieces so we could compare multiple flavors and donuts from different vendors. We sat in the break room eating slowly, savoring the taste and texture and talking enthusiastically about which ones we preferred. While eating, everyone seemed fully focused on the donuts. And in the end, I think we ate fewer of them.

The difference could not have been more striking. It helped me realize that even a habit as stale as break room donuts could be made fresh again by eating more mindfully. It also reminded me that if I really want to use eating to take a break, eating something I love and eating it as if I actually love it leaves me feeling more satisfied, refreshed, and ready to return to work.


About the author

Erica Bartlett discovered mindful eating in her early 20's, and it changed her life. Not only did it allow her to lose half her body weight and maintain that loss for over ten years, it also helped her discover many new things that she loves in addition to food. One of these newer passions is working with others who have food and weight concerns, which is why she is now a licensed Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating facilitator and a certified Health Coach. Her website is www.rediscoveringfoodmaine.com, and she keeps a weekly blog at www.losingbattle-erica.blogspot.com


  1. Dawn says:

    Bravo! I relate this article. I now try to savory the GOOOD donuts when I can.

  2. Erica your post is awesome! I can’t stand cheap donuts! Thanks for this – ps: your pic is gorgeous!

    • Ann Marie – I’m so glad you liked the post, and that you also enjoy the better donuts! I’ve been thinking about this again now that I’m seeing Halloween-themed donuts, and while I like good food presentation, I will take taste and quality first. And thanks for the compliment on the photo!

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