It can be very difficult to balance a healthy diet during a hectic working day. It instead becomes easy to skip meals or rely on easier and less healthy options. This is where some tactical snacking can come in handy.
There are a number of healthy and easy snacks that you can take to work, boosting your energy and general well-being. These alternatives can replace the usual go-tos of chocolate bars or packets of crisps.
Below is a list of the best snacks to eat at work, focusing on their nutritional contents and health benefits:
Nuts are a highly recommended choice for a work snack. Their nutritional value can vary with the type of nut, but generally they are a great source of fibre and protein. They have also been proven to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol.
There are also short-term advantages that can increase your mood and productivity at work. For example, nuts such as almonds and cashews contain a lot of monounsaturated fats, carbs and proteins which, unlike sugary based snacks, provide a slow release of energy and will be more beneficial during work.
Blueberries are known as a ‘super-food’ for their endless health benefits. For example, they are preferred by many athletes as a snack due to their vitamin K levels, which open the blood vessels, allowing blood to travel more easily through the body. This is also why people who are prescribed blood thinners should consult a doctor before eating large amounts.
Blueberries are great but maybe they are not the cheapest fruit. But a great way of making your berries go further, and adding substance to your snack, is to mix them with a small oatmeal packet. Simply empty the contents into a mug and prepare as the packet instructs, then mix in the berries. If you want a bit more flavour, stay away from sprinkling sugar and throw in some nut butter instead.
3. Fruit with yogurt
Dried fruit is an excellent work snack as it is easily storable and provides a host of health benefits. Alternatively, fresh fruit will give you a jolt of natural sugars and energy. However, a single piece of fruit might not be enough to satisfy that mid-morning hunger.
A popular, healthy solution is to top off some natural yogurt with sliced fruit such as strawberries, bananas, raspberries or peaches. Natural yogurt is amazing for digestion and will make a delicious and easy snack for work when mixed with fruit. If you’re also looking to up your protein intake you could try Greek non-fat yogurt, which contains 10g of protein per 100g.
4. Crackers with toppings
This is a personal favourite as the snack has a lot of versatility. For example, using a whole-wheat cracker, spread a homemade tuna mayonnaise (easily made by mixing tuna and low-fat mayonnaise, adding herbs and spices for an extra kick) and finish with some celery or pepper.
When it’s all put together, this snack will be appetising and aesthetically pleasing. You can even make it as a quick and cheap canape for parties. This snack provides a number of nutritional benefits; the whole-wheat provides slow-release energy, the celery provides vitamins and the tuna mayonnaise offers protein and substance.
5. Roasted Seaweed
Roasted seaweed is traditionally used in sushi dishes but can also function by itself as a tasty afternoon snack. It has a unique, lovely taste with a crunchy texture and comes with a host of health benefits. Seaweed is high in vitamins B6 and B12, aiding brain function and development as well as red blood cell production. This makes seaweed perfect for a working snack as you can be sure your brain is getting the fuel it needs.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try and make your own sushi-style wraps by encasing low-fat rice and fish such as tuna or salmon in seaweed sheets.
6. Granola Bars
Granola bars are made by baking a mixture of rolled oats, nuts and honey or other sweeteners. They can also include raisins or dried fruit. The advantages of granola bars are that they are a great source of protein and slow-release energy. They can also be bought in most shops. This means if you forget your usual healthy work snack, you can easily nip out during your break and pick one up.
The important thing to remember with granola bars is that some are healthier than others. Take some time to read the label and nutritional contents. Ideally, you should look for a bar that has a low amount of carbs from sugar and saturated fats.
7. Vegetable muffins
One of the biggest advantages to baked goods is that they will stay good for a week if kept in an airtight container - you don’t even need a fridge. As a result, vegetable muffins are an outstanding and efficient work snack because you can make a large batch at the weekend and store them for the following week. The nutritional benefits depend on what you choose to include in the muffin.
An easy example is to grate a courgette and a carrot and finely slice some spinach and an onion. You will need to add this to some cheese and flour before combining with a mixture of eggs, milk and oil. There are hundreds of alternative recipes available online which will include exact measurements and cooking instructions.
8. Rice cakes
Rice cakes may be quite bland by themselves but they provide a great base on which you can add a number of healthy spreads. If you fancy something sweet, then smear on some nut butter or honey. Or, for a savoury treat, add celery or hummus.
The benefit to rice cakes is that they have a low amount of calories but will allow for a steady release of energy during the day. That being said, rice cakes also have a low fiber content, so be sure to balance that out using either the spread or an additional snack.