By Isabella Broggini
Eating at least two balanced snacks throughout the day in addition to three regular meals is essential for keeping our metabolisms high and to avoid overeating at a single meal because we are famished. Many fitness experts are saying that eating small meals every 3 hours is actually the key to weight loss and to keeping our metabolism functioning at a high level. However, average American adults who spend most of their waking hours at work don’t always have access to healthy snacks throughout the day. Although most office kitchens are stacked with sugar-and-sodium-loaded foods such as cheetos and cookies, the typical office doesn’t usually offer many alternatives for those trying to eat healthy. For this reason, bringing homemade snacks to work can be the best and easiest way for you to keep a healthy diet throughout the day. Below are nine easy-to-make snack ideas that are nutritious (and delicious!) and perfect for spring:
Blending your favorite fruits and veggies can be an easy and fast way to prepare a portable snack full of vitamins and antioxidants to take with you to the office. Since this snack comes in liquid form, you won’t need to worry about packing silverware or about making chewing noises that will annoy easily-irritated colleagues. Add almond butter to your morning smoothies for extra protein and natural sweetness. Prepare this snack in seconds by using a magic bullet blender. If you don’t own a blender or you don’t have time to go grocery shopping for ingredients, get this snack on the go by visiting this delicious and healthy Downtown juice bar.
2-Homemade trail mix
Store-bought trail mix is often all-but-healthy, with excess sugary dried fruit and milk chocolate; but making a healthier version at home can turn this staple into a nutritious snack. To keep your homemade version healthy, stick to unsalted nuts and seeds (that will add loads of protein without the sodium), fresh berries (for a natural dose of antioxidants and fiber), and, if you need your chocolate fix, add a few small pieces of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao). Mix all of these ingredients into a small plastic baggie and voila: you have just created the perfect combination of brain foods to keep you productive at the office!
3-Hard boiled eggs
Eating adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis is essential to build muscle mass and to enable the effective repair of body tissues. Not all food that is high in protein is created equal however, and eating a juicy steak or protein bars is not the healthiest way to meet your daily required protein intake. Hard boiling eggs and taking them to work gives you access to a portable protein-filled snack that also provides a healthful amount of heart-healthy fats that will keep you full and help you maintain willpower when your colleague offers you a doughnut. Peeling the shell off of your hard boiled eggs before taking them to work in a plastic baggie will make this a quick, mess-free snack option.
4-Banana and almond butter
Taking a banana to work along with a small almond butter packet, makes for a filling midday munch complete with all of the essential macronutrients of a balanced snack: healthy carbs (found in the banana), protein (found in the almond butter), and healthy fats (also found in the almond butter). Banana plus almond butter also makes for a great post-workout snack because the potassium in the banana will help prevent post-workout muscle cramps and the almond butter offers protein that is essential for the adequate repair and building of muscles. If you happen to be allergic to almond butter, peanut butter is a great alternative, although it does contain a higher amount of sugar per serving.
5-Sliced apple and cheese
Sliced apple + cheese = heaven! Calling all cheese-lovers: this is the healthy alternative to your go-to snack of cheese and crackers. Fiber in the apple will keep you full for longer, and the calcium in cheese will help keep your bones strong. Cheese is also an excellent source of protein, and a great protein substitute for vegetarians. This snack is extremely easy to make: just slice up a whole apple and cut up your favorite cheese, mixing all ingredients into a portable plastic baggie. For a truly nutritious snack, stick to healthy cheese such as cottage cheese, feta, parmesan, and Swiss cheese.
6-Raw veggies and hummus
When getting your daily hummus fix at the office, try substituting your typical dipping device of chips for healthy raw veggies such as baby carrots and celery sticks. This will allow you to reach your daily veggie requirement while still letting you enjoy your hummus, which is a good source of plant-based protein. Raw veggies are satisfyingly crunchy and a great alternative to eating crunchy chips. To make this snack portable, throw your favorite raw veggies into a bag and add one of these convenient hummus packets to your lunch box.
If you’re feeling under the weather at work, try eating a vitamin C-packed orange for a quick boost to your immune system. This fruit is a great mid-afternoon snack even for healthy individuals; its high fiber content will help you avoid cravings and allow you to feel full for longer. If you’re used to getting your citrus fix by drinking orange juice, try switching to eating the whole fruit instead, and you’ll cut out the excess sugar that is making it harder for you to lose weight. The sweet flavor of oranges will have you feeling like you’re getting away with eating dessert!
Cottage cheese is one of the healthiest cheeses you can eat, not to mention one of the most versatile! You can make this a sweet snack by adding honey and berries, or make it a savory one by eating it with avocado or by adding seeds and nuts. The invention of snack-size cottage cheese containers has made this snack more portable, making it one of the healthiest ready-to-eat snacks on the market. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike, and it is also packed with bone-strengthening calcium.
9-Homemade protein bars
When choosing on-the-go snacks for the office, it can be tempting to settle for a store-bought protein bar. Unfortunately, although these bars are often marketed as “healthy,” many of the most popular brands are loaded with sugar or unhealthy and unnatural ingredients. For this reason, true health nuts are better off making their own protein bars at home. Although making your own protein bars from scratch may sound intimidating, there are plenty of healthy homemade protein bar recipes that take less than 20 minutes to make. Prepare a batch on Sunday and you’ll have a protein-filled snack to bring to the office for the rest of the week. This five-ingredient protein bar recipe offers a great place to start for those who are not experienced in the kitchen.