Healthy Snacks to Keep at the Office


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Working in an office can have a way of making you snacky. And if you’re caught unprepared, it’s all too easy to make a not-so-healthy choice (the cookies your baking-happy coworker brought yet again, the nutrition-less pretzels at the vending machine). Here are 13 ideas for office-friendly snacks, plus some “best practices” for snacking at the office.

A few tips on snacking at the office:
1) Be considerate of your coworkers — anything too loud (crunchy chips) or smelly (microwaved popcorn, canned fish) is a no-no for eating at your desk or prepping in the office kitchen.
2) Think of taking a walk instead of eating a snack — sometimes what you’re really craving is a little break. Re-energize yourself with a walk outside (or even just around the office) before snacking.
3) If you find that you can keep on eating … and eating, then bring snacks that are already portioned for you. Many of the ideas below fit the bill.

13 Snack Ideas
Peanut butter or almond butter: Those single serving (2 tablespoon) packets of nut butters can be great to have on hand, or store a whole jar of natural nut butter at the office (but mind your portion). Pair nut butter with a piece of fresh fruit (such as a small apple, pear or banana) for a long-lasting boost of energy.

Low-sodium soup: Keep a low-sodium soup on hand for a lunch or snack. Lentil soup is a good choice — the lentils give you protein and fiber, both of which keep you satisfied.

Dark chocolate squares: If you inevitably crave sweet stuff at the office, it’s best to be prepared. Store a few squares of dark chocolate in your desk drawer to keep your sweet tooth happy and avoid noshing on a bigger treat.

Hot chocolate packets: Sometimes a sweet drink is just the pick-me-up you need. Avoid a potential calorie (and cash) bomb at the coffee shop and use a packet (or less) of hot cocoa mix. Blend it with hot skim or low-fat milk for an extra calcium boost. If you’re really feeling proactive, make your own hot cocoa mix with natural cocoa powder (for the highest antioxidants) and sugar — I like a 2-to-1 ratio, which makes a less sweet drink.

Fruit-and-nut bars: They’re easy to pack and have on hand for a quick snack. Look for one with a short ingredient list (preferably just dried fruit and nuts with no added sugars).

Trail mix: Make your own trail mix with a half-cup of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal, a tablespoon of roasted nuts and a tablespoon of dried fruit.

Refrigerated options
If you have a fridge at your office, think of keeping these things on hand:

Yogurt: Keeping some containers of plain yogurt in your office fridge is a great idea for when hunger strikes — be it at snack time, lunch or breakfast. Fruit and nuts are good mix-ins, or try veggies. Mix in some diced cucumber and dried mint and oregano for an easy take on tzatziki (baked pita chips optional!).

String cheese: Tap into your inner kid and stock up on part-skim string cheese. Alternatively, other single-serving cheeses are great to add to a snack of fruit or veggies.

Cut-up veggies: Baby carrots are an obvious choice, but you can get more variety by prepping your own veggies and keeping them in Tupperware. Think of celery, red pepper, cucumber or jicama sticks, radishes or cauliflower florets.

Edamame: Keep a whole bag of frozen edamame in the office freezer or bring a serving and nuke it according to the directions on the package. Add a sprinkle of salt and you have a protein-filled snack with staying power.

Hard-boiled eggs: These can cross into the smelly territory, but they are oh-so-satisfying. If it’s too much of a pain to peel them at work, you can peel them ahead of time and bring in a small Ziploc baggie.

100-calorie guacamole packets: Single-serving packets of guacamole are a great way to get a dose of healthy fats. Choose one with a short, all-natural ingredient list. Pre-made guacamole can be a bit high in salt, so pair it with unsalted, baked tortilla chips.

Fat-free ricotta and berries: It tastes oh-so-decadent, but a quarter-cup of fat-free ricotta delivers just 50 calories (find a freshly made ricotta, if you can, for the best flavor). Add a cup of berries and a drizzle of honey or sprinkle of cinnamon and you’re looking at a snack that clocks in at 100 – 150 calories.

Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who thinks you don’t have to compromise good taste to achieve good health. A former associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, Kerri-Ann now freelance writes about food, nutrition and health trends and her work has been published on FoodNetwork.com, Yahoo! Shine and the Huffington Post, among others. She also puts her masters degree in nutrition from Columbia University to use teaching classes and counseling individuals on adding healthy behaviors to their daily lives. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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