Healthy Office Snacks

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You want to snack smart at work, but it's tough. There's a vending machine down the hall and a coffee shop around the corner. And to make matter's worse, there's a birthday every week of the year and your boss always orders cupcakes.

So how do you find healthy office snacks and avoid the junk that makes your waistline bigger? Your best bet is to arm yourself by always having smart snacks within easy reach. After all, enjoying a small snack is a good idea for both work and weight loss. Eating something in the afternoon will keep your blood sugar even, pump your energy level up, and curb your appetite until you get off work.

The Best Healthy Office Snacks 

Stock your desk drawers with these yummy treats. Or encourage the office manager to fill the lunch room with these healthy office options. 

  • Dried fruit (Dried cranberries, cherries, etc)
  • Low-fat trail mix
  • Applesauce
  • Single serving fruit bowls (choose the variety without sweetened syrup added)
  • Reduced-fat or natural peanut butter to spread on a banana, an apple, pre-cut celery sticks or a Slice of whole-grain bread
  • Almonds (natural or roasted without salt)
  • Mini chocolate chips (Hint: Melt a few to make a dip to turn fruit into a special treat!)
  • Unsweetened cocoa or low-cal hot chocolate (Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets packets have only 25 calories, but it's so rich!)

If your office has a fridge, consider some of these snacks that need to be refrigerated:

  • Fat-free milk
  • Fiber-rich, whole grain cereal 
  • Light mozzarella cheese balls or string cheese
  • Flavored yogurt or Greek yogurt (Tip: Flavor unsweetened plain yogurt with honey)
  • Hard-boiled eggs (Tip: if you want a healthier hard boiled egg, remove the yolk and fill the middle with hummus instead.)
  • Low-fat drinkable yogurt
  • Deli meat for "roll-ups"
  • Veggie sticks (baby carrots, peppers, celery, radishes)

The Least Healthy Office Snacks

If you want to keep your diet on track at work, it's not just about what you eat, but it's also about what you don't eat. There are temptations everywhere.

The candy dish at the office strikes fear in the heart of any dieter. It's somehow magically full every time you walk by it! If you regularly help yourself, you may assume it's just lack of willpower. But have you ever considered that maybe it's not just the candy pulling you over to that coworker's desk? You may be craving the social time, not the sweets. Try chatting sans sweets a few days in a row and you may notice you don't even miss the edible treat.

If you stock the communal candy dish, consider these pointers for keeping tabs on temptation:

  • Try to choose hard candy — it only contains about 25 calories a piece and takes a few minutes to eat so you're not popping one after another.
  • Put the candy in an opaque container or one with a lid.
  • Stock the dish with candy that you're not crazy about.
  • Put the bowl elsewhere — a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study showed people ate two-thirds less candy when a dish was stored six feet away.

Tips

Fruit is often a top choice for an afternoon snack because the fructose provides a quick energy boost. Pair it with a little protein such as some low-fat cheese, yogurt, or peanut butter to give it extra "staying power" until dinner.

Nuts are a filling food thanks to their protein and fat content. Enjoy some walnuts or almonds in moderation as a good way to lessen your appetite and get some healthy fat.

If you find yourself seeking out a high-cal snack every afternoon, that's a sure sign you're not eating the right lunch. Get in a good mix of fat, protein, and healthy carbs at lunch. If your lunch has the proper nutrients and is filling, then a small snack (around 100 calories), such as a piece of fruit or an ounce of nuts should be satisfying.

Don't let stress-inducers like an approaching deadline or an upcoming meeting drive you to reach for food to tame tension. Try deep breathing for just a few minutes — it's effective and works quickly.

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