When it comes to healthy snacks, scratch that, when it comes to ANY kind of healthy eating, it’s important to include some protein and, ideally, some fiber. Why? Protein and fiber help to keep your blood sugar stable, so you’ll have a constant supply of energy to get you through to lunch or your evening meal. There’s also the small matter of the energy crash and, I’m sorry, weight gain when snacks cause blood sugar to spike. Unfortunately, many of the snacks we’d routinely eat fall into this latter category, including crisps, chocolate bars, cakes and muffins, and many “healthy granola” bars.
As I’m sure you’re well aware, there are often many temptations during the working day including the tea and biscuits at 11am and 3 pm, the birthday cakes, which seem to be a weekly occurrence, the post-holiday treats, the Friday night office drinks, the coffee trips, let alone the multitude of lunch choices. Having said all that, the office can also provide a great opportunity to keep on top of your healthy eating goals. If you work a 9 - 5, Monday to Friday, the majority of your waking hours will be spent at work. Dedicating your regular working pattern to incorporate your health goals is a key way to stay on top of your priorities and smash your healthy eating goals. What can make it easier is when our minds are so distracted by the on-going to-do list, the meetings and calls and therefore are usually too busy to think food until we get really hungry or notice the time. Think about it, how many time have you been working so diligently it gets to 2.30 pm and you've not had lunch yet? Talking of distraction, a good friend once said to me that she prefers to enjoy her less than healthy treats when she can relax in the comfort of her home and take real pleasure and enjoyment in them. This is opposed to what we can tend to do which is to mindlessly wolf down a Fruit & Nut (my personal guilty pleasure) as you type an email or in the five minutes before the next meeting. I know which one I’d prefer! Finally, you’re also less likely to wander off mid-meeting to the fridge or shop to hunt for snacks, which you might do on your own time. If you are the type to wander off on a snack hunt, however, being prepared with healthier options will go a long way to set you up for healthy snacking success.
So what healthy snacks can you eat?
What you choose for your weekly work snacks will depend on the facilities you have at work. No fridge? You might want to keep a basic supply in your desk drawer or locker. Otherwise, you’re going to want to pack your snacks every day from home, or pick up supplies on your way into work. In practice, most of the people I see in my clinic have access to an office fridge. Perfect! This means you can keep small tubs of goodies like hummus, or yogurt in the fridge and store bulkier items like rice cakes, oatcakes, Ryvita, jars of nut butter, nuts, seeds and dried fruit in your desk drawer (that is what the big one at the bottom is for, isn’t it?!)
Here are my top 10 healthy snacks for work
1. Two oatcakes or one dark rye Ryvita with sugar-free cashew or almond nut butter (superior to peanut butter but, hey, if peanut’s all you’ve got, don’t worry). Pip & Nut nut butters are delicious.
2. Hummus with vegetable sticks including raw carrots, cucumbers, peppers, or celery
3. Fresh or dried fruit with nuts such. Go for a handful of fruit and nut mix, or a chopped or sliced apple with a nut butter of your choice
4. A small handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds and dried fruit such figs.
5. A small pot of Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt like this one from Coyo with a handful of raspberries, add some mixed chopped nuts, sliced almonds or a handful of granola for extra crunch and flavour
6. Half an energy ball. I have a great recipe for Energy Balls from Deliciously Ella.
7. A handful of roasted chickpeas. Another great recipe over here!
8. A large handful of cherry tomatoes and about cubes of feta cheese. This Violife non-dairy feta cheese is great!
9. A handful of homemade trail mix (you could make your own mix of mixed seeds, nuts, toasted coconut strips and goji berries)
10. Dark Rye Ryvita with cream cheese and cucumber or tomato slices
Another great tip; keep your own fruit bowl on your desk. Better yet, speak to Human Resources or your Office Manager about getting fruit delivered to your office as part of a wellbeing, healthy eating initiative.
I've got some great tips on meal prepping in this blog post. I’d love to hear any other healthy snack ideas that you have. Please leave any suggestions below. If you