10 Healthy Snacks for the Office
Snacking can be an important part of your diet. Letting yourself go too long without food can lead to overeating at mealtimes, which, in turn, can cause you to pack on the pounds. Workers who sit behind a desk all day have to be especially mindful of what they’re eating. You need to focus on the task at hand, which means it’s not a good idea to deprive yourself, but you’re also not going to burn off excess calories while typing. There are enough office maladies that could be hurting you already, you don’t want to add obesity to the list.
While stress may entice you to eat a big, fattening lunch and it’s easy to buy a candy bar from the vending machine, you should consider munching on these yummy snacks. We promise they won’t break your caloric bank account.
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Chocolate Covered Edamame
A great option for chocolate lovers in need of a fix, these covered soybeans are packed with protein (which will help curb you appetite), dietary fiber (which will aid in digestion) and antioxidants (which are just plain good for you.) Trader Joe’s has a particularly good version of these sweet treats. Their Dark Chocolate-Covered Edamame is 200 calories per serving (about ¼ of a cup or 32 beans), but you won’t need to eat that many to be satiated. The crunchiness of the bean gives each bite some substance and the semi-sweet taste of dark chocolate handles those mid-afternoon cravings (without being overly indulgent.)
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Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars
Most granola bars aren’t dangerous to your diet, but Nature Valley’s Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars give you both sides of the food spectrum. Our personal favorite is the Peanut bars. (Almonds are more of an acquired taste and pecans tip the scales too far over to the sweet side.) The bars are each 170 calories. They are made of all-natural ingredients, have no trans fat and no cholesterol. They’re also packed with protein (4 grams per bar), which keeps you full without spoiling your dinner.
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Ants on a Log
Fans of The Office will be familiar with this popular children’s snack (it is Michael Scott’s favorite), which features celery, peanut butter and raisins. The classic version is recommended by the McKinley Health Center as a “smart snack” but there are variations if you like to change up your diet. Try “Gnats on a Log” by substituting currants for the raisins, “Ants on a Snowy Log” by using cream cheese instead of peanut butter or “Ants on a Slip ‘n Slide” by adding honey to the original recipe.
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Office workers who favor salty over sweet should stock up on Pirate’s Booty, a healthy version of popcorn and cheese puffs that comes in a variety of flavors. The most popular is the Aged White Cheddar version of its baked rice and corn puffs, which at 130 calories per serving (1 ounce) has not trans fat or gluten in it. The brand, started specifically to promote healthy snacking, also has vegan versions of the products.
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A snack for someone not afraid of carbs, rice cakes are great because they are low in fat and calories, but high in texture, which makes you feel like you are actually eating something. Quaker’s got a wide variety of rice snacks. One of the more popular versions, Caramel Corn, is only 50 calories per cake, gluten free and contains 5 grams of whole grain.
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Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Cheeses
A nice option for the office worker who looks to limit carbs, almost all Laughing Cow’s cheeses come in nice pre-packaged portion sizes that can keep you from over-indulging. Just pack one or two wedges in your lunch sack and leave the wheel at home. Or keep it simple by opting for the Mini Babybel snacks, which each contain only 70 calories, 5 grams of protein and plenty of calcium.
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Touted as a superfood, acai berries are full of antioxidants that decrease stress and increase energy. Since you can’t get fresh Acai berries in the U.S. and the dried versions lose some of their potency, you should substitute that midday energy drink with the natural version. Several brands make an acai berry juice you can find in your local grocery story. Sambazon’s got a few variations of the drink, along with an acai sorbet that’s only got 130 calories per half cup.
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Yes, all yogurt is a safe bet when it come to daytime snacking. However, we’re giving Greek yogurt the edge because it’s more filling, decidedly yummy and just as dietetic. Popular brand Fage’s yogurt cups have 300 calories per serving (about 8 oz). You can opt for a low-fat or skim version if you’re watching fat grams. Add some honey (or, perhaps, natural Agave sweetener) and some fresh berries when you feeling like changing this snack up a bit.
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Here’s a healthy alternative to those greasy, salty potato chips you’ve been buying from the company vending machine. PopChips aren’t fried (because that would be unhealthy) or baked (because we all know how those taste), but “popped” (they add some heat and pressure to the chips), which keeps them low in calories and highly delicious. We’ll keep it simple and recommend the original version of the chips, which are only 120 calories per serving (about 22 chips). They also only have 4 grams of fat (your traditional potato chips have about double that), no cholesterol, no saturated fat and no preservatives.
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If you can’t decide what exactly you’re in the mood for, you can opt for this perennial mix bag of snacks. Just make sure to read the labels, because not all trail mixes are low in fat or calories. Ones that have small indulgences (like a scattering of M&Ms) can be useful for curing carvings without overindulging. However, if you don’t trust yourself to only eat one handful, Snacktrition’s got a nice fruit and nut mix that is full of calcium and fiber. At 150 calories per one-fourth cup, it’s safe to snack on. Planters’ Fruit and Nut Mix, though slightly higher in fat, has a comparable calorie count. Of course, office workers with extra time on their hands can make their own.
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