How to Eat Healthy at Work (Even When There's Cake in the Break Room)

Matthew Mead/AP

The workplace can be a cruel den of sin and junk food — between the birthday cakes, Halloween candy and takeout lunches, it can be hard to eat simple, healthy food in the office. Here are some tips for eating food that's good for you even when you're surrounded by tempting, processed snacks.

Read: 9 "Healthy" Foods With More Calories Than a McDonald's Big Mac
Matthew Mead/AP

Say no to treats (sometimes).

It may feel like a waste to turn down a free donut or a slice of celebratory cake — but saying no to sugary treats sometimes might be a wise idea. Studies have shown that excess sugar consumption can have a number of negative effects, including a 2012 study that linked sugar consumption to memory deficits in rats. But we're not saying you shouldn't treat yourself to a piece of cake every now and then.

Pack your own lunch.

It can be tempting to run out at lunchtime and grab something quick from a local deli or fast food place, but if you have the time to pack a lunch at home, you should probably do it. Fast food restaurants (even the ones that seem healthier) often serve food filled with salt, fat and preservatives. 

A 2014 study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins found that home-cooked meals tend to have fewer calories than restaurant food. And if you're not sure what you would even bring to work to eat for lunch, here's a handy list of suggestions.

Keep snacks at your desk.

When food cravings hit it can be hard to resist the urge to grab something salty or sweet from the vending machine. Prepare for the cravings by stocking up on healthier choices like nuts, dried fruit or homemade popcorn, and munch on them throughout the day so you don't get hit with a powerful urge for candy at 3 p.m.

Stay hydrated.

Everyone knows, water is pretty great for you. Staying hydrated during the day comes with a bunch of benefits. One study found that even mild dehydration can lead to "headaches, fatigue and confusion," reported LiveScience in 2012. Be good to yourself (and to the Earth) and keep a reusable water bottle at your desk.