Snacking at your Desk: snacks you should stash and the ones you should trash
In an office setting it is difficult to have constant access to healthy snacks. Coworkers bring in cake for birthdays and donuts on Fridays, but rarely does anyone bother to bring in a veggie platter. Snacking is one of the most detrimental habits to a healthy diet only because of how hard it is to keep healthy snacks with you. But fear not! Below are seven healthy snacks you should be eating, and the snack traps to avoid.
1) Celery, Carrots, and Bell Peppers
The finger foods of the vegetable world, in terms of packing snacks you cannot beat a bag of vegetables. Celery is calorie free and has a satisfying crunch, while carrots and bell peppers have naturally occurring sugar that can give you the energy boost you need to help stay productive throughout the day.
In general you can’t go wrong with a piece of produce. All fruits contain healthy fiber, vitamins, and are low calorie snacks. Two of the most popular on the go fruits, bananas and oranges, already come in a carrying case which is a nice added convenience when choosing a snack.
3) Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a delicious, protein rich snack that comes in all different flavors. If you have a refrigerator at work I’d suggest loading up your fridge with multiple varieties. Choose carefully though, a fair amount of Greek yogurt has added sugar or even Oreo pieces that come inside. Check the ingredients!
4) Sugar Free Mints
Sometimes you aren’t actually hungry, but you’ve got the urge to snack. When this happens you need an action plan, step one, drink a full glass of water, step two, suck on some sugar free mints. Sugar free mints are zero-five calorie snacks that help curb your urge to grab a piece of candy, but be careful, too many of these will send you to the restroom in a hurry.
5) Hard Boiled Eggs
Another snack that comes with it’s own carrying case! Although you may find it easier to peel the shells off at home, this snack travels well either way. Hard-boiled eggs are a complete protein, they are very filling, and are only about eighty calories a piece. Hopefully your desk isn’t too close to your coworkers because these babies smell, and you may not want to become known as the hard-boiled egg guy.
6) Turkey Jerky
Turkey jerky is a high protein, low calorie snack that you can keep in your desk for as long as you’d like. It is convenient, delicious, and all that chewing burns a few calories. The only downside to jerky is the sodium content, but as long as you keep the serving size reasonable and aren’t adding too much sodium to the rest of your diet, you have little to worry about.
Nuts are high in fat, which makes them very filling; they are high in protein, which makes them good for fat loss. However the high protein and high fat makes them high in calories so when eating nuts as a snack make sure to measure them before indulging.
Snack traps are the snacks that dance around pretending to be healthy. The grocery store along with clever marketing agencies are doing their very best to advertise cheap, high margin items as health food. Avoid the noise.
Not all granola is created equal, with some effort you can make healthy homemade granola snacks, but you can rarely purchase it. If you buy granola at a grocery store, you are buying a highly caloric snack with added sugar and minimal health benefits. It feels healthy because we associate granola with nature and vegans, but it’s a trap!
2) Trail Mix
Trail Mix is also thought of as health food because of it’s association with hiking and outdoor adventure. When you are on a hike you burn lots of calories, and it is nice to have a snack that lasts a long time, is high in fat, and has some sugary bits for sweetness. When you are sitting in an office you can do without the added M&Ms in your nuts.
3) Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is healthy. It has a ton of beneficial properties: it’s high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, dried fruit is very high in calories and sugar. Naturally occurring sugar is better than artificial sugar, but when you take the water out of the fruit you can eat way more of the natural sugar than otherwise possible. Additionally the portion sizes of dried fruit are generally not productive for weight loss.
4) Pita Chips
Pita chips are the sneakiest snack on the market, advertised as healthier than potato chips, yet containing essentially the same amount of calories. Additionally pita chips demand hummus, and the combination doesn’t make for a low calorie experience. Vegetables are far superior vehicles for hummus consumption.
5) Candy/ Junk Food
Obvious but worth mentioning, candy and junk food are not good snacks even if they come in 100-calorie packs. I’m all for everything in moderation but eating a little candy in the middle of the day isn’t doing anyone any favors. If you cannot resist candy, use it as a way to celebrate, instead of snack.
Nuts make both the snacks and traps section of this article because there are a lot of unhealthy nut options out there. Cocoa roasted almonds are amazing but you are going to eat them all. Nuts are calorically dense and the more delicious they are the harder it is to stop eating. Nuts are only a good snack for those who can tolerate them relatively plain and plan their portion size in advance.