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Avoid These 12 Common Workplace Snacks


We are a culture of mindless eaters—most of us, that is. When we see food, we want it. When we’re bored, we want to eat, especially sweet and salty snacks.

When it comes to tasty temptations, the office is the perfect breeding ground for poor nutritional choices. You might think those pretzels were a good idea, but when you realize how many empty calories you've just eaten, you might want to think twice. Have you ever thought about how much exercise it would take to burn off those pretzels or any other salty and sugary treat?

We break it all down for you in our 'what foods not to eat at the office' snack food list:

1) Pretzels

You might be thinking—why are pretzels on the “what not to eat” list? Pretzels are bad because they’re the type of snack we could eat a whole bag of in just one sitting. They’re small, they’re salty and there’s 227 calories in just 10 of them. To burn off those 10 pretzels, you’ll need to clock in 30 minutes of intense weightlifting, 18 minutes of cycling at 14-16 mph or 14 minutes of running at 8 mph.

2) Muffins and Cakes

Saving time by going to your neighborhood coffee shop in the morning before work to pick up a blueberry muffin may do you more harm than good. There are typically around 300-400 calories in these tiny little muffin and it takes 51 minutes of intense weightlifting, 30 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 23 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace to burn it off. 

3) Candy Bars

It’s sweet. It’s salty. It’s full of caramel goo. It has, on average, around 300 calories and it’s the poster child for our “what not to eat at work” list. To burn off one typical candy bar you’ll have to walk for 75 minutes, jog for 40 minutes, swim for 30 minutes or go cycling for 45 minutes.

4) So-Called 'Power' Bars

If you’re grabbing for an energy bar—you’ve got to grab the chocolate one, right? Wrong. One chocolate “healthy” power bar typically contains 250 or more calories. To burn this bad boy off, you’ll need to put in 32 minutes of weightlifting, 20 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace or 14 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

5) Potato Chips

There are an average of around 150 calories in 20 potato chips. To burn these crunchy snacks off, you need to vigorously ride your bike for 14 minutes, jog for 19 minutes, or clock in 24 minutes on the elliptical machine.

6) Peanuts (Half Cup or More)

Half a cup isn’t that big, but it goes down fast. We’re not saying this should be a firm “what not to eat” food item, but realistically, it’s very easy to devour a whole bag of dry-roasted peanuts all at once. Just a half a cup has around 430 calories. To burn off that small amount, it’ll take 57 minutes of intense weightlifting, 34 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 26 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

7) Energy Drinks

Young professionals and college students practically live off of these. Not only are they bad for you, but they have usually contain around 300 calories. To burn off one of these not so healthy beverages, you’ll need to clock in 37 minutes of intense weightlifting, 22 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 17 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

8) Coffee Drinks with Syrups and Flavoring

These drinks, found most often at the trendy corner coffee shops, are packed full of calories. To illustrate this point, on major coffee shop sells a peppermint white hot chocolate has a whopping 730 calories! To burn off this sugary drink you’ll need to do 97 minutes of intense weightlifting, 58 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 44 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

9) Snack Crackers

These snacks are addicting and it’s hard to eat just one serving size of, say, just 25 crackers. Make sure you keep it in mind that one serving of snacks in this category typically has at least 150 calories. To burn these off, try playing soccer for 19 minutes, or football, basketball, or beach volleyball for 17 minutes, hiking for 22 minutes or walking at a brisk pace for 35 minutes.

10) Doughnuts (Of Any Kind)

These are the ultimate item on our “what not to eat while you’re at the office” list. There are typically no less than 250 calories in these tempting, chocolaty snacks. To burn a single average doughnut off, you’ll need to do 35 minutes of intense weightlifting, 21 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 16 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

11) Large Chocolate Chip Cookie

Large chocolate chip cookies may seem like the ultimate snack at the end of the workday, but if you think you’re walking away with just a few extra calories—you’re dreaming. Just one average cookie has roughly 200 calories and most people don't stop at just one. To burn off one of these puppies you need to do 26 minutes of intense weightlifting, 16 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 12 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

12) The after-work beer(s)

This isn’t a snack you should be having at work, but many people kick back with one of these as soon as they get home. The typical beer has 150 calories, but let’s be realistic and say you’ll have at least two. Bump that number up to 300. To burn off a couple of beers, you’ll need to do 40 minutes of intense weightlifting, 24 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace, or 18 minutes of running at a moderate to intense pace.

Everyday Activities to Burn Off these Workday Snacks

The good news is that there’s a lot of things you already do that naturally burn off calories.


One hour of walking at a moderate to fast pace typically burns around 295 calories for someone who weighs 130 pounds, 352 calories for someone who weighs 155 pounds, 431 for someone who weighs 190 pounds and 540 for someone who weighs 225 pounds.

Cooking or Food Preparation

One hour of cooking or food preparation burns 148 calories for someone weighing 130 pounds, 176 calories for 155 pounds, 216 for 190 pounds and 247 calories for 225 pounds.

Cleaning House

After all these years, it must be nice to know that cleaning your house was never in vain. If you’re 130 pounds, you’ll burn 207 calories for cleaning your house for one hour. If you’re 155 pounds you’ll burn 246 calories. If you’re 190 pounds, you’ll burn 302 calories and if you’re 225 pounds you’ll burn 367 calories.

Child Care: Standing/Dressing/Feeding

One hour of child care burns up 207 calories if you’re 130 pounds. 246 calories if you’re 155 pounds. 302 calories if you’re 190 pounds and 367 calories if you’re 225 pounds.

Did that sound familiar? We hope so because cleaning for an hour and child care burn the same amount of calories.

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