Should you stock your desk with snacks? It depends on your track record. If having food on hand triggers you to mindlessly nibble, then storing even healthy options within close reach can set you up for disaster. But some find that keeping good stuff nearby prevents them from eating junkier options. If that’s you, stock up. Just put your stash anywhere that requires you to get up from your chair. Here, desk munchies, rated.
Individually wrapped dark chocolate squares
Pick it: The treat can satisfy a sweet tooth while providing minimal calories (45 per 0.32-ounce square) along with mood-boosting, heart-protective antioxidants.
Pick it: You’ll get your crunchy, salty fix as well as an array of nutrients like fiber and potassium. Plus, an Australian study found that chickpeas can help curb the desire to eat processed snacks.
Skip it: You can store some at the office for breakfast in a pinch, but if you keep a box at your desk, you might start grabbing handfuls throughout the day and find you’ve finished the whole thing.
Fruit and nut bars
Pick it: They offer built-in portion control for people who have a tough time limiting servings of nuts or dried fruit. Look for brands with “clean” ingredient lists that read like a recipe you could make yourself.
Box of crackers
Skip it: They tend to be highly processed and pack far more carbs than you can likely burn sitting at a desk, and they’re difficult to stop eating once you start. The same holds true for pretzels and pita chips.
Jar of nut butter
Skip it: It’s just too tempting to keep dipping in your spoon. I’ve had clients confess that they polished off an entire jar in one week. Stock whole nuts instead, in premeasured ¼-cup portions.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health's contributing nutrition editor. She privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is also the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the New York Yankees MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.