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Today, the work snacking culture is built around cakes and chips. There’s rarely a chance when healthy options are easily available. When snack cravings arise, there’s usually a snack machine where people can purchase junk foods to satisfy their sweet cravings.
Complicating things further, is the fact that getting to the gym is not as easy as getting to that vending machine. Which is a shame, because all the stress work puts on you can be combated by working out.
Snacking can be healthy, but it requires strategy and planning. The following list contains healthier grab-and-go snack options that are better than the easily available treats at work.
1. GREEK YOGURT
It’s the perfect work snack because it’s small, easily storable and portable, and has up to 150 calories. According to Authority Nutrition, Greek yogurt is packed with benefits, including higher protein and lower carbohydrates. Like regular yogurt, it is a good source of vitamin B12 and has probiotics. Compared to regular yogurt, it has less lactose, which prevents uncomfortable bloating and gas. It has the same taste as the regular yogurt but is much thicker and creamier. With all of the nutrients, this is sure to stave off hunger and give a work day boost without adding too many empty calories.
2. NATURE’S PATH QI’A BAR
For a rich and savory snack, Nature’s Path Qi’a Bar is worth a try. These snack bars are composed of all-natural ingredients. It contains hemp, coconut and chia superfoods which boost energy. It also has dried fruits, dark chocolate and nuts. They currently offer five flavors including dark chocolate cranberry almond, roasted peanut dark chocolate, mocha cocoa hazelnut, blueberry cashew pumpkin seed, nuts & seeds & sea salt. The all natural ingredients packed into this tiny bar will provide energy to power through the rest of the day. Plus, protein helps to feel full between meals and less likely to be tempted by the vending machine snacks.
3. PIECE OF FRUIT + HANDFUL OF NUTS
Alone, fruit and nuts have their own separate power that they bring to the plate. Eating these two power foods together, they make a salty and sweet snack that staves off hunger. Fruits are naturally sweet, which will give a tasty and enjoyable treat while also providing plenty of vitamins and minerals. When pairing sweet tasting fruit along with a crunchy, savory snack of nuts, there’s also a serving of four to six grams of protein and healthy fats. For an idea of fruit and nut pairings, combine apples and walnuts, almonds and peach slices, or strawberries and mixed nuts.
4. PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
This treat is easy to make at home and take along to work. They can also be easily stored in a lunch kit or work refrigerator. To make peanut butter balls, simply roll them up with honey and oats. For a more creative snack, add other ingredients like raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes. Peanut butter balls can also be dipped in dark chocolate for an indulgent snack. It’s best to keep serving sizes to one to three balls. The calories can add up. For multiple servings, make the portions smaller by rolling into tinier balls.
This makes an easy addition to the snack drawer at work. Popcorn does not have to be boring to be healthy. There are many great brands out there that are light on salt and butter. There are even personal sized packs now. There are many options when choosing which brand of popcorn is best to bring along to the desk. Either go with a plain flavor to keep the calories under 100 or try creating a recipe with additions found in the kitchen. Sprinkle anything on top: chocolate, herbs, or spices. For instance, drizzling 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate adds 220 calories.
6. ALMOND BUTTER
Almond butter is similar to peanut butter, but it is just a bit healthier. It has the same amount of calories at two tablespoons per serving. However, almond butter has less protein. This butter has an advantage with more fiber, vitamins and minerals, and more monounsaturated fats. This snack can be enjoyed either with a spoon or used like any nut butter would be used. It can be spread on a piece of fruit like apple slices or on a vegetable stick like celery. It can even be rolled into balls like the method used in making peanut butter balls.
A small serving of seaweed has plenty of benefits. One being the high amount of antioxidants, which is good for heart health. It also contains magnesium, iron, potassium, and selenium. It’s a quality light crunchy snack that is under 50 calories. Nori is typically the type used in the seaweed packs found at the store. It can be enjoyed as plain sheets or combined with fruit or vegetables to make a more creative snack. It can be wrapped around sliced avocado or added to a smoothie. Another creative idea is to eat it with hummus for added protein.
8. ALMONDS AND PISTACHIOS
If each is eaten alone, they taste amazing. Combined, they offer a healthy snack with a complex taste. As previously stated, nuts are packed full of benefits. Almonds and pistachios are both the best to eat because they contain fewer calories than most nuts and are beneficial for weight loss and management. They contain protein and unsaturated fats. Pistachios have 6 grams of protein per ounce, which is higher than most nuts, including almonds. It’s best to eat the plain version of each. Added salt and sugars from coated versions take away from their nutritional benefits, as well as add excess sodium and calories.
Beef jerky can be healthy, even if many consider it junk food. It’s all about which brand is best. It is a low-fat product with an excellent amount protein, which makes it an ideal work snack. The trick here is finding a brand that does not contain harmful ingredients like MSG and nitrates. Instead of reaching for brands like Jack Links or Slim Jim, consider buying Think Jerky or The New Primal. Both are about 100 calories and less than 3 grams of fat. They are also sourced from grass-fed beef. These two brands also offer turkey jerky.
10. DRIED FRUIT
There’s been some hesitation in labeling dried fruit as a healthy, however, experts have said that this snack is okay to eat. The only downside is the size of fruit when dried out. It shrinks to about 75 percent of its original size. So that means in order to not over indulge in this sweet snack, the serving size must be small also. To resist overindulging, be mindful of the portions. A small box of raisins is adequate for one serving size. A one-fourth cup of dried fruit is equal to a half cup of fruit. That equals one serving of fruit to enjoy as a snack.
Snacking can be healthy, but it takes strategy and planning. Discovering healthier options will help make better-snacking decisions while away from home and while on the job. Another great way of ensuring you track your health at work is by investing in an activity tracker and recording your daily moves.
The takeaway of it all being that, instead of grabbing the usual sugary and salty snacks, the ten items listed above are sure to satiate any craving while keeping calories in check!