Anyone else waking up under a blanket of snow this morning? I’m 100% a snow lover so I’m not complaining, but I’m also hoping that we can enjoy this snowfall for a day or so and then I’m ready to move back towards that warmer weather!
Today I wanted to talk about snacks; specifically, healthy snacks for work. There’s something about sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day that turns me into a snack monster, so it’s important that I keep healthy snacking options on hand at all times. Otherwise, I risk turning to the office kitchen, which at any given time can produce multiple options of potato chips, pretzels, doughnuts and other munchies that I’d rather stay away from.
I keep a drawer in my office specifically designated for snacks. Actually, I have a drawer for snacks and then an overflow cupboard that includes food that could spill like salad dressings, vinegar, condiments and other necessities. That’s 2 of 7 drawers/cupboards in my desk for food. (In addition to frozen fruits and granola bars that I keep in the freezer in the kitchen.) What can I say? I like my food!
So like I said, the point of all this is to keep healthy snacks on hand in the office. Here’s a look at what I like to have at my fingertips to snack on throughout the work day.
Healthy Snacks for Work
Fruit & Nuts
Probably one of the very best options, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts provides a good balance of fiber and healthy fats. When in doubt, the best snack to reach for is always ‘real food’. Meaning, not a 100 calorie snack pack of packaged crap. Enjoying an apple with a serving of almonds is roughly 200 calories, and much more filling than a tiny bag of crackers! Now obviously, apples will not keep in your desk indefinitely, so keep a bag of almonds and bring a fresh supply of apples each week.
Peanut Butter & Fruit/Veggies
Peanut butter is an excellent choice for your snack drawer- assuming you can control your portion sizes! Keep in mind that a serving is 2 tablespoons. If you can’t keep your fingers out of the jar, consider keeping individual packets of nut butter (I’ve found peanut butter, almond butter and more at our local grocery store) instead, or portioning out servings in small tupperware containers at the beginning of each week. My favorite pairing is peanut butter and a banana, but also try apples, pears or even celery.
Granola or Trail Mix
When the 3 p.m. munchies really hit, this is my favorite thing to have on hand, but can also be the most dangerous! Again, portion size is key. Keep small containers filled with a serving of granola or trail mix, or portion out snack-sized baggies. Try my crunchy quinoa granola clusters for a mess-free option, as store-bought granolas can be full of extra fats and sugars. If you’re more of a trail mix person, Aldi has a variety of mixes for less than $4 for 20ish servings. I love the tropical mix with dried banana, mango and pineapple, and Jim likes the kind with peanuts and M&Ms.
Obviously this works best if you have access to a refrigerator in your office, but yogurt is one of the most filling snacks I know of and packs a lot of protein in one serving! Do yourself a favor and don’t buy the 100 calorie/whipped stuff. Look at the label before purchasing; you want a yogurt with minimal added ingredients and low in extra sugars. Greek yogurt is a good option- I like Chobani single-servings- or a low-fat plain yogurt. Add your own toppings to control the added sugar, like sliced fruit, sprinkle of granola or handful of nuts. (Check out this post for some creative ways to make a yogurt parfait.)
Veggies & Hummus
Again, you’ll need a refrigerator or iced lunch box for this one, but veggies and hummus are another fiber and protein combination that make the perfect snack. Minimize the work by purchasing a bag of baby carrots, and try out this hummus recipe (or this pumpkin version for a fall-inspired snack). I like to keep servings of hummus in small containers that can be prepped at the beginning of the week.
Not technically a snack, but it’s important to keep a water bottle close by throughout the day. Often when we think we’re hungry and in need of a snack, what our bodies really need is water! Before you reach for the snack drawer, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. If you’re still hungry, it’s snack time!
As I’ve mentioned (several times) the key to snacking is portion control. Ideally, a snack should range from 150-250 calories and contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. This is the key to satisfying hunger and keeping it at bay until your next meal. If you have trouble staying out of the snack drawer and individually packaged portions aren’t helping, try moving your ‘snack drawer’ to a different part of your office, if possible, or even keeping your snack stash in your car. Having to make the extra effort to snack will likely help to control your hunger a bit and rationalize whether you’re hungry or just bored.
What are your favorite healthy snacks for work?