9 Healthy Snacks to Eat at Work
by Geoffrey Anderson
Your office can be a diet-killer if you’re not careful – it’s full of tasty temptations. The office vending machine, the donuts in the break room, your coworker’s candy bowl… the list is long.
The key to beating all these temptations is to bring healthy snacks of your own that you can keep at your desk. Healthy, hearty snacks will keep you full in between meals, reducing your risk of reaching out for that calorie-rich donut.
Need some ideas? Here are some of the best inexpensive snacks to keep at your desk at work:
The crunchiness of nuts can help calm your cravings for other crunchy fare like chips. Almonds are probably the healthiest ones to have, but any will do – even peanuts. All of these nuts contain good fats along with other heart-healthy minerals.
The only disadvantage is that their high-fat content translate into a high-calorie content. Finishing a bowl of nuts could put you over your daily calorie limit. Instead, stick to a handful – or two at most.
2. Cottage Cheese:
One of the key nutrients you should look for in a snack is protein. High-protein foods like cottage cheese promote greater satiety – you’ll feel full a lot longer.
This in turn helps you control your appetite and makes it that much easier to resist office temptations.
Cottage cheese isn’t exactly the tastiest of snacks, though – throw in some fruit and other healthy toppings to give it some flavor.
Although this is typically associated with breakfast, oatmeal can double as a quick snack. Be wary of the sugary varieties, though: These are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other bad ingredients that can do a number on your waistline and your health.
Although oatmeal’s taste may not be for everyone, you can add some healthy toppings to offset the flavor.
Sometimes, what you’re feeling may seem like hunger but it really isn’t. Occasionally you may actually be thirsty. Before you reach for one of these healthy snacks, drink a glass of water.
Chances are your body is actually just craving some fluids rather than food. As a result, water is a good calorie-free snack that can help you stave off cravings until you’re due for your next meal.
5. Protein Bars:
Protein bars can be a good snack, but you have to be very careful and read the labels. Unfortunately, a lot of protein bars contain an assortment of chemicals you can’t even pronounce.
Nevertheless, there are organic, all-natural bars that can fill you up without filling you out. All you have to do is read the label. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want that specific ingredient in your body.
This protein-rich fish is available in cans and pouches, which can be easily stored in your office. Aside from being a good source of protein, tuna also contains heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids; omega 3s have been linked to improved brain function and cardiovascular health.
There is one caveat, however: Tuna also contains mercury, which may adversely affect your body if consumed in large quantities. As a result, limit your tuna intake to 1-2 times a week.
Air-popped popcorn is an underrated healthy treat that should be part of your snacking arsenal. If the air-popped variety isn’t available, consider a 100-calorie pack. These snack packs do the hard work for you by controlling portions and preventing overeating.
Whatever you do, steer clear of any popcorn that’s labeled “Movie Theater” or something similar. You can be certain that these particular products are loaded with butter and salt – not to mention saturated fat.
8. Dark Chocolate:
Yes, even chocolate can be a healthy snack – in moderation, of course!
Dark chocolate should be your go-to choice because it’s chock full of heart-healthy antioxidants; milk and white chocolate contain too much unhealthy fat (and calories).
This doesn’t give you permission to eat chocolate to your heart’s content, though.
A piece or two of a dark chocolate bar is more than enough to get you through the day.
9. Peanut Butter:
A spoonful or two of peanut butter is an easy way to boost your protein intake and keep hunger at bay. Although most mass-market peanut butters contain hydrogenated oils and other unhealthy fare, you’re likely to find an all-natural version (one that only contains peanuts and salt) at your local supermarket.
Again, moderation is key: Peanut butter is high in calories, so too much can contribute to weight gain.
(Geoffrey Anderson is editor of MenScience Magazine, a premier men’s health blog. He’s written about diet and fitness for more than four years, including a stint at industry leader eDiets.com)