It can be tough to navigate your way through the boxes of donuts and homemade candy or cookies from well-intentioned co-workers. Those things won’t do much for your waistline or your digestion, but what do you do when you’re absolutely starving on the job? Today I’m sharing seven ways you can enjoy healthy snacks at work.
Why Snack Throughout the Day?
If you’re truly hungry, that hunger can be distracting. Even if you want to munch on something because it seems like everyone around you is enjoying a snack, that preoccupation with wanting to snack but also wanting to avoid the candy, cookies, cake, and even bagels in the office kitchen can make it hard to focus. Besides the distraction factor, why snack at work?
- To stay awake and alert
- To maintain the same level of energy throughout the day, rather than experiencing unpredictable highs and lows
- To achieve better focus (and not just because you’ve stopped thinking about your growling stomach or what everyone else is eating)
- To take a short mental break from whatever you’re working on—a mindful moment to really taste and enjoy your snack (For more tips on staying mindful in the workplace, visit Intentional Workplace.)
- Keep yourself from becoming dehydrated (the GGS, for example)
The key is to have or know where to find healthy snacks at work that you can eat at the appropriate times of the day. Those aren’t always easy to come by in the office!
Mid-Morning Snack Options
In the mornings, you want to find light, easy-to-digest snacks that will keep your energy level humming along right where it needs to be. There’s no need to be slumped over your desk at 10:30 because you ate something heavy that requires a lot of energy to digest.
Glowing Green Smoothie
If you’re whipping up your Glowing Green Smoothie before work, it won’t take much extra effort to make a little more to go. The same holds true if you like to make your weekly batch on the weekends and freeze it. Grab a jar of it out of the freezer and let it thaw until you’re hungry mid-morning. If you work in a small office with a fridge/freezer combo in the kitchen, you may even be able to take a couple of jars to have on hand in the freezer so you’re always prepared.
This is kind of an obvious choice, but for some reason, it’s often overlooked in lieu of pastries and other unhealthy snack foods during the morning office hours. You can pick some up at a convenience store or a café, so it’s really easy to get your hands on it. And since you should eat lighter foods during the first half of the day, there’s no better time to snack on fruit. Slice some up and put it in a bag before you head out the door so it’s even more convenient.
Sometimes offices will send someone out for a coffee run. Request a cup of fruit or banana in place of a caffeine fix (or offer to make the run yourself). Fruit is a much easier request when someone else goes out in search of snack foods or drinks for everyone than, say, the crackers and salsa combo next on this list.
Veggies and Chickpea-less Hummus OR Gluten-Free Crackers and Organic Salsa
If you want something crunchy and savory, try sliced veggies with chickpea-less hummus (this one takes some foresight and you’ll have to make it at home) or pick up some gluten-free crackers (we like Mary’s Gone Crackers or Back to Nature’s Sesame flavor) and organic salsa when you’re on a break.
When You’re Hungry After Lunch
Once it’s closer to 5:00, you can start introducing slightly heavier foods to the mix, but you still want to eat snacks that will fill you up and help you power through the rest of the day.
Trail Mix OR Fruit and Nut Bars
The idea behind these two is basically the same—a mix of nuts and dried fruit. The trick is to avoid trail mix or fruit and nut bars with added sugars and processed ingredients. It’s easy to toss together your own trail mix at home, but if you’re in a pinch and need to grab something quick, Larabars are a good bet. The ingredients lists are very basic, so you’re not looking at the label wondering what exactly is in there.
The Chocolate-Apricot Nut Bars from WholeLiving.com might be good every now and then if you’re craving chocolate, and you can make them at home. Our only recommendation would be to try using raw almonds that have been soaked and dried, rather than toasted ones. Be sure to make enough to share!
Chia Seed Pudding
Really, it’s easiest to make chia seed pudding at home and then take it with you, but if you work in the type of office where it’s no big deal for you to keep vanilla extract, some cacao powder, and chia seeds in your desk, plus a container of almond milk in the fridge, you can whip this up, let it set for a few minutes, then enjoy your sweet, filling, healthy snack.
Classic snack choice, right? You should really only eat them raw and soak them first, but if you’re low on choices and down to this or bakery treats, the nuts will be the better bet. Since you can find these everywhere from the convenience store around the corner to the snack machine in your office building, it’s relatively easy to grab a pack to stave off that 3:00 desire to eat some of that leftover birthday cake in the kitchen from a co-worker’s brief lunchtime celebration. Remember to eat these later in the day, not as a mid-morning snack, since they’re heavier and harder to digest than most other options.
You won’t want to eat Seasnax (seaweed snack) all the time because of the oil content, but they’re surprisingly filling for what they are and you can find them at several different grocery store chains, which makes them good if you only have a few minutes away from the office to grab something to munch on later.
Take Extra and Introduce Your Co-Workers to Healthier Snack Fare
Why not start taking extras when you have your healthy snacks at work? Just as the co-worker with a sweet tooth shares her love for sugary dessert foods, you can give people a midday boost with good-for-you ingredients that you enjoy. Who knows—maybe some of them will catch on and begin bringing in their own healthy options to share with everyone.