4 Healthy Snack Ideas to Take to Work
Years ago when I got up in the morning I would always have something for breakfast like cereal and milk with fruit and thought it would keep me full until lunchtime. Then I’d sit down in front of the computer to work. Two hours later my brain was focusing on meeting my deadlines but my stomach was focused on making noises that got louder the longer I ignore them. It never failed that a few hours after I ate, I was hungry again. I was ready to eat my mouse and mousepad!
I never was one to snack between breakfast and lunch. There were only 4 hours in between and I “should” continue to feel satiated until noon came around. It was a mind over stomach thing. But then it hit me one day and I wondered where it was written that we had to eat three meals a day? As mammals, we are designed to “graze” during the course of the day. This means eating smaller meals, more frequently, right? But that’s not how Americans eat today.
Now however, I understand that I need to snack wisely as I eat several small meals a day, which is not only easier on my body, but it keeps my focus throughout the day on fueling my body, rather than eating to calm the hungry monster in my stomach.
One of the most difficult aspects of sticking to a strict, 3-meal-a-day diet is keeping that balance when snacking at work. Long days at work often need to be broken up, only it’s not always easy to do. People snack to keep their energy levels up, to just break up the day or because it’s become habit and they have a drawer full of junk food for quick retrieval. While it can be easy to carefully plan the main meals of your day, planning your in between meal snacks can often prove problematic if you don’t put some prior thought into the idea. The good news is that it can be done very easily. With a little preparation and the right mind-set, you can ensure that those mid-morning or late afternoon snacks don’t ruin your diet! Let’s take a look at a number of simple snacks that are easy to assemble, they’re nourishing for the body and brain, and they taste good too!
1. Mixed Fruit
Fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, and yet it’s something that most of us don’t eat enough of. Taking an apple or banana in to work involves no preparation, little cost, and is a tasty way of boosting your energy levels. Add in a handful (1/4 cup) of nuts and you have a healthy snack that will satiate you for a few hours. For those looking for a little more variety, why not prepare a fruit salad with fresh fruits. Fruits are available year round now, so enjoy them. Chop up your favorite fruit and/or berries and you can have a delicious treat that won’t mess up your daily diet!
It took me a while to accept the smoothie idea because I didn’t think they would fill me up. But now that I’ve incorporated them into my days, I don’t get hungry in between meals anymore. Smoothies can be a great way of treating yourself during the working day. They’re fresh and filling! By preparing a smoothie to take to work, you can ensure that you’re getting enough fruits, veges and nuts in your diet, and give yourself an excellent energy boost when the afternoon lag sets in! Smoothies are so easy to make and they allow you to vary your snack from day to day, so enjoy the variety. You can purchase local foods that are in season and prepare packages of kale, spinach, bananas, sunflower seeds and fruits together in baggies and keep them in your freezer. Pull one out, add some juice or coconut water, and you have a portable breakfast or afternoon snack chilled and ready to drink.
3. Salads with other great veges
Why do many men think salads aren’t “manly” enough? A simple salad can consist of a hard-boiled egg and just a few of your favorite vegetables. The preparation time for a salad snack is minimal, but the benefits are huge. Eating raw vegetables gives us all of the benefits of the natural enzymes found in fresh foods. Tear up a bunch of greens and keep them in a container in your fridge. You can even buy already cut up vegetable mixtures, so putting them all together is a snap! Tasty and healthy, salads are one of the most under-utilized and under-rated workplace snacks. Most people don’t realize how filling they can be when other vegetables, fruits and proteins (beans, nuts, and cheeses) are added. Salads, and extra additions, keep well in the fridge, so if something comes up and it’s left for the next day, it’s okay as long as you keep your dressing separate. It’s time to ditch the chocolate bar and chips for a healthy, easy to prepare workplace snack!
Yogurts can be a great source of probiotics, vital for maintaining a healthy gut if you read the labels and choose yogurts rich in these awesome microorganisms. Much like fruit, yogurt involves virtually no preparation, and offers a range of flavors for a varied experience from day to day. Keep the milligrams of sugar down below 4 as much as possible (that’s 1 teaspoon of sugar). Also, by choosing healthy yogurts, your afternoon snack won’t ruin your appetite, nor your waist line! Add a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to add in more protein.
Do you have some snack ideas you use to keep your energy up daily? If so, please share them either here on my Facebook page. We’re always looking for more ideas.
Certified Holistic Wellness Educator & Coach
Cathy lives in Roanoke, Virginia and specializes in supporting families who want to improve the way they eat, feel and live. Her clients want to feel stronger, healthier and have more energy and vitality instead of feeling tired, stressed and exhausted at the end of each day. She is the creator of the Holistic Wellness Academy, an online training platform where anyone can learn how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives very affordably.