Why people eat these 5 stinky foods at the office

Your healthy lifestyle may cause a stink at the office
Your healthy lifestyle may cause a stink at the office

Office etiquette is very important for our well-being, especially considering that we spend a large part of our day sharing a relatively small space with our colleagues.

This means you need to think about those little things that can drive others up the wall – like what you prepare or heat up in the office kitchen.

Most of us are all too familiar with those pungent smells that waft from the kitchen into the open-plan office from time to time. And we wonder how people can be so terribly inconsiderate. 

But next time you are ready to chuck your colleague’s lunch box out the nearest window, consider the nutritional value of these stinky foods and what health benefits you colleagues might be deriving from eating these offending items. You might learn something from their eating habits – and even join them.

1. Popcorn

While the lingering smell of fresh popcorn might not be the worst on the spectrum of bad office smells, it can become quite offensive when your colleague heats up a bag of butter or cheese flavoured popcorn, or worse, burn it to a crisp.

According to a previous Health24 article, popcorn is a snack rich in fibre and low in calories and is far better for you than a packet of chips from the vending machine.

You can make this healthy snack less pungent by sticking to the unflavoured variety which is much better for you – and by not burning your popcorn.

stinky foods at the office

2. Boiled eggs
Uh-oh! Those are nasty. But in a sea of pre-packaged, sweetened cereals and instant oats, your colleague might be doing him- or herself a favour by choosing this protein-dense breakfast option. Including protein in your breakfast can also cut cravings later in the day.

Make this healthy breakfast option less stinky by rinsing your boiled egg in cold water as soon as you remove it from the boiling water – this will prevent the yolk from overcooking, which is often the cause of the telltale sulphur smell.

stinky office foods

3. Broccoli

This cruciferous vegetable is definitely a winner in the health department, but is not the most sweet-smelling one, especially not when reheated. Broccoli is packed with fibre and antioxidants, making it a filling, healthy lunch option. On top of that, it has been proven to fight allergies and have anti-cancer properties.

Make things less smelly by steaming raw broccoli, if you have the facilities – freshly cooked broccoli is less likely to be malodorous than leftovers.

stinky foods to eat in the office

4. Fish of any kind

And there’s always that one person having sardines on toast first thing in the morning. Tinned fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon might pong, but they're rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and protein. Fish is also known to boost memory and concentration – a plus in any work environment.

However, you can stop making your colleagues queasy by drizzling a teaspoon of white vinegar on canned fish as soon as you open it – that will lessen the smell. And never pack last night’s hake fillets for lunch – there is just no way to take the stink out of leftover fish.

stinky office food

5. Brussels sprouts

The pariah vegetable of children and adults alike, the Brussels sprout may not be popular but it certainly packs a nutritious punch. Brussels sprouts are full of nutrients, yet low in calories, hence the reason why your health-conscious colleague is heating them in the shared microwave. They are most likely to emit an odour when overcooked, so it's best to use a fast-cooking method such as steaming, stir-frying or blanching, which also preserves the vitamins. But if you want to roast your Brussels sprouts, rather leave the leftovers at home and have them for dinner. 

stinky foods at the office

All images supplied by iStock.

Read more:

5 healthy eating tips

5 ways to eat healthy with a busy lifestyle

Healthy diet for office workers

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