Foods Never to Eat at Work

If you're getting the stink eye while enjoying a meal at your desk or in the break room, it might be what you brought to eat that's causing the problem. Best to learn about office protocol when it comes to what not to eat in the workplace.

There is an unspoken rule at work that some types of food are just totally unacceptable to eat at your desk, in a meeting, or even in the break room. But there are and will always be “those co-workers” who either don’t know these rules, or just don’t care.

Let’s be real: you don’t want to be the co-worker who everyone nicknames “fish guy” or “crunchy, loud eater.” To avoid being the annoying, loud-chomping, or potent-lunch eater at work, avoid bringing the following food types.

1. Fish

I’m listing this as the number one food not to bring to lunch because of my first-hand experience of the disgusting smell of microwaved, left-over fish. How can that even taste good?

Salmon is delicious–when served fresh at dinner. People who eat leftover fish for lunch at work should only do so if they can contain it in their own office with a closed, locked door.

2. Seafood, in general

I get it; some people love seafood and want to eat it all the time. But if you’re bringing your leftover lobster thermidor for lunch, not only are you flaunting how much more you make than your co-workers, but you’re also warming up lobster, and there’s no way that’s going to be a welcomed smell in the office.

Unless you’re spending your break pulling fresh oysters and clams from the ocean and bringing them back to work to share with everyone–save the seafood cravings for later.

3. Hard-boiled eggs

Some people are healthy and want the big blast of protein that you can get from a hard-boiled egg. If you’re just putting hard-boiled eggs in a salad, that’s fine and it’s not too potent.

But if you’re bringing a bowl of eggs to work, microwaving them and eating them for breakfast, well, you are the worst. Do you not smell that? Do you not see your co-worker gagging in the back?

4. Pretzels

Okay, eating small, mini pretzels are totally fine for snacking on at work. But if you’re the type of person who loves those big, crunchy, pretzels, you should not eat those at work. Maybe you can’t hear it–or you do, and think only you can hear your loud crunching–but, trust me, everyone can hear you and it’s really annoying.

5. Cheetos

Speaking from personal experience, Cheetos, though delicious, are not a work-appropriate snack. Not only are they a loud chip to be snacking on, but, they also get you covered in orange dust, which you may or may not realize is all over your laptop, desk and paperwork.

Additionally, your fingers will be covered in the Cheetos dust and, naturally, your first reaction will be to lick your fingers clean–until you notice everyone, your boss included, is watching you.

6. Broccoli

Though delicious to some, others really hate the taste and smell of broccoli. What’s worse for someone who hates broccoli? Nuked broccoli.

In general, old vegetables do not smell nice when they are reheated in a microwave. You might not notice it so much, but your co-workers will, and some like to compare the scent to the odor wave that hits you when you open the door to a porta-potty.

If you’re going to bring vegetables to work, bring them fresh on a salad or to dip in veggie dip. Your co-workers will appreciate it.

7. Popcorn

Although delicious, popcorn is a rather distracting food to bring to work. First, there’s the fact that you’ll have to spend about three minutes standing next to the microwave listening to the loud, popping sound, hoping it’s not too loud. It is.

Unfortunately, now you’ve got everyone wondering, “What is that? Is that popcorn? Who is making popcorn right now?”

Next, everyone will start to smell the buttery goodness. And it’s not a bad smell; in fact, it smells really, really good. Like sheep, everyone will flock to where the popcorn is. Sure, this is a great way to draw people to you and, if you’re planning to share, you might become a popular co-worker to hang around. But, what you don’t realize is that you’ve created a popcorn crisis and now everyone needs to have it.

Moreover, you’ve just distracted the whole office and when you’re boss starts wondering why everyone is away from their desks eating popcorn, you’re the one holding the bowl.

8. Fast food

If you work near a lot of fast-food chains, it can be tough to resist the convenience for lunch. And though fast food usually smells good, if your office is full of vegans or health nuts, you will be met with their glares, looking at your greasy fast food.

Even if other co-workers bring in fast food, the issue with this lunch is that the greasy smell lingers for quite a bit. Once the meal sinks in, your stomach is probably hurting and there might be a grease mark on your desk from the bag. Additionally, the aroma that once caused everyone to salivate has now transformed into an oily, chemical and greasy odor that seems impossible to get rid of.

If you want to be a good co-worker who respects the rules of office eating, avoid bringing these foods for lunch — unless you’re bringing some for everyone!

(Source: Isabel Thottam, Glassdoor)

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