You may have a plan for healthy eating – a wholesome breakfast, home-cooked dinners with simple whole foods. But making healthy choices when you’re stuck in an office for 8+ hours a day can be more difficult than it seems. If you’re starving around 4pm, even if you have a solid nutritious dinner planned out at home, it’s hard to resist when your desk mate breaks out the bag of potato chips.
We asked our experts what their favorite healthy office snacks are and how to plan a little bit in advance to make sure your office fridge full of soda and sweets doesn’t throw your diet off track.
Best Healthy Snacks #1 – Nuts & Seeds
Here’s a list of my 5 favorite healthy snacks: I like keeping things simple with (1) nuts/seeds – almonds, or sunflower, (2) apple – also my favorite pre-workout snack, (3) greek yogurt, (4) veggie bag (takes more work but ideal snack), and (5) a simple bar, like an almond rise protein bar can work well for carrying on the go.
All of these selections are easy to carry to the office and eat, are relatively lower calorie, yet fill you up. That’s what I want out of a snack. Something to take the edge off, yet does not make me feel stuffed, or bloated. The sixth healthy snack, which really isn’t a snack but deserves mentioning, is water. I keep water at my desk. Staying hydrated definitely helps with controlling hunger and improving how you look and feel.
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
Best Healthy Snacks #2 – Carrots
The simpler the food, the better. Some great snacks to keep at the office are baby carrots, fresh fruit, raw (unroasted, unsalted) nuts and seeds, and unsweetened trail mix. You could also keep a few healthy protein bars, although these should only be used occasionally. It’s better to eat real, whole food than to rely on pre-packaged bars. Think of them as your “emergency” stash and eat whole foods as much as possible.
Best Healthy Snacks #3 – Flax Snax
Best Healthy Snacks #4 – Jerky
It depends if you have access to a fridge or not, in which case the possibilities are endless. If you are looking for something to keep in your desk and snack on while you are working my two go-to options are beef (or other animal) jerky and mixed nuts. Just make sure to keep an eye on the sodium content of both especially if your diet is already high in sodium. If not, a little salt in your diet is a good thing and will help athletic performance.
– Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT
Best Healthy Snacks #5 – Greek Yogurt
There are many healthy options to bring to the office. If you have access to a refrigerator, a single serving a nonfat Fage Greek Yogurt with an apple and 100 calorie almond pack provides over 20 grams of protein with fiber and healthy fats for fewer than 300 calories. An apple with 3 slices of fat free cheese will provide 12 grams of protein and only about 160 calories. If you don’t have a fridge, consider investing $10 in a small cooler with an ice pack. If this isn’t feasible, a protein bar is a good alternative. Nuts can also be a decent snack, though their high fat content makes portion control very important.
– Charlie Seltzer, MD