20 Healthy Snack Ideas for Work
There are literally tons of different options to choose from when it comes to snacks to eat at work. Most of us love munching on things, especially when we have to sit in an office all day, from Monday to Friday. But snacks don’t have to be unhealthy, and that is why I’ve made a list of my favorite healthy snack ideas for work.
The Wrong Type of Snacks
Working in an office and sitting on a chair all day, not moving around enough, and staring at a computer screen for hours on end can have serious consequences for our health. This type of lifestyle, without regular exercise and with poor diet choices, can lead to serious weight gain and can cause long-term health problems.
Unfortunately, snacking fits in this lifestyle. Lots of offices have snack machines available and all major supermarkets have ails fully stocked with all sorts of processed and unhealthy snacks. The temptation is high to eat snacks and our environment often makes it easy for us to get our hands on them.
That Irresistible Urge…
The irresistible urge to have a snack becomes greater in the afternoon when we’re feeling lethargic, sleepy, tired or just plain bored. This is exactly why snacks are so popular in work environments, snacks can give us a quick energy boost as well as a mental boost that can keep us going for the rest of the day.
More than often we choose the unhealthy type of snacks, such as biscuits, potato chips, chocolate bars, and so on. These snacks are loaded with all sorts of nasty ingredients, including processed sugar.
While many people believe that fat is our number one enemy, it is actually sugar that is the bigger threat to our health and weight. Eating unhealthy of snacks on a regular basis and not moving around or exercising enough, will leave us with excess sugar that turns into body fat. This is why so many office workers have excess baggage around the hips and the waist.
How Does Insulin Work?
Insulin is a very important hormone that is responsible for dealing with our sugar intake. Whenever we eat something, whether that is sugary or not, insulin immediately comes into action.
Almost all foods contain some level of sugar, and when we eat, glucose enters our bloodstream. What insulin then does it allows cells to absorb this glucose for energy. This is very good and also very necessary, but when we take in too much glucose, this gets converted into and stored as fat. And too much body fat can lead to disease.
That is also what happens when we consumer too many sugary snacks and we are not moving enough. Excess sugar leads to excess body weight because we are not burning off these calories we are taking in.
Another problem with eating sugary snacks is that you’ll very soon feel hungry again, leading you to eat even more snacks.
20 Healthy Snacks for Work to Keep You Going
Luckily, there are lots of healthy snacks available that will fill you up easily and give you enough energy to make it through the day. And all that with minimal risk of gaining weight. Healthy, natural snacks, without the nasty, processed carbohydrates that unhealthy snacks do have, but with nutrients that are good for you.
Here are my 20 favorite healthy snack ideas for work:
1. Low Carb Nuts Such as Almonds
Most nuts are quite low in carbs and high in essential fats and nutrients.
Almonds are by far my favorite nuts to munch on, because they are extremely satisfying in the sense that you don’t feel like eating any other snacks after having a handful of almonds.
The almond is a nutrition powerhouse, sometimes referred to as “the king of nuts”.
Almonds boast a range of nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese, copper, fiber, protein, and omega-3’s.
And they don’t contain any nasty, processed carbohydrates that so many conventional snacks do have.
Fruits are obviously also a very healthy snack to have in the afternoon, but the banana really stands out. Bananas have certain health benefits that other fruits don’t have.
Did you know, for example, that bananas can help fight depression? Bananas contain tryptophan, a chemical that gets converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that assists the brains in making you feel happy.
Loaded with minerals and vitamins, a banana will also give you an instant natural energy boost that can last for a couple of hours.
3. Protein or Nutrition Bars
You can find loads of different protein bars, nutrition bars and all sorts of other bars in your everyday supermarket. But the majority of them have a far too high sugar content, which is very unnecessary.
Sugar is added to satisfy the taste buds of the average buyer, but you should be looking out for nutrition bars with a relatively low sugar content and a high fiber and protein content and with ingredients such as granola and peanut butter.
4. Greek Yogurt with Berries
Greek yogurt is a great low-calorie healthy snack, with far less sugar and calories but twice as much protein than regular yogurt. And like most regular yogurts, Greek yogurt is very rich in calcium, which promotes bone and teeth health.
The main benefit of Greek yogurt over regular yogurt is that it offers digestive health benefits. Greek yogurt contains probiotics that keep the bacteria in your gut happy and healthy.
Make sure that the label of the Greek yogurt product you want to buy mentions that it contains live and active cultures.
Add some fresh berries for a sweet taste and you’ll have yourself the perfect afternoon snack!
5. Dark Chocolate
Don’t we all love a piece of chocolate every now and then? But did you know that dark chocolate actually has some great health benefits? Dark chocolate (min 75% cocoa) with hazelnuts is an absolute winner!
Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants, helps to control blood sugar levels, and just like bananas, dark chocolate also gives you serotonin which helps to improve your mood.
Read more about the health benefits of dark chocolate and why you don’t have to feel guilty when eating it in moderation.
6. Roasted Seaweed
Roasted seaweed (aka Nori) is that crunchy layer around sushi. Similar to making paper, roasted seaweed is made by shredding, drying and roasting nori seaweed.
The Japanese consider nori as a food of longevity and have been eating it since centuries. Very low in calories and high in iodine, vitamin B12 and potassium, nori has quite an impressive nutritional profile.
While most people would typically eat roasted seaweed as part of sushi, you can actually also just eat it just by itself. It may not be for everyone but I personally love a piece of nori seaweed as a light snack.
You can easily find roasted seaweed in your local supermarket, or otherwise online at Amazon or eBay.
7. (Baby) Carrots
Carrots are the perfect snack to beat boredom! Not only are carrots delicious and healthy, they also make you feel like you’re really eating something. Baby carrots are smaller and easier to take with you to the office.
If you prefer, you can steam or boil them for a couple of minutes before eating so that they are a bit softer and easier to eat.
8. Celery With Hummus Dip
I love dipping celery sticks in organic hummus at night watching a movie, but you can just as easily have this delicious combo-snack while doing your work at the computer.
Originally a spread from the Middle East, hummus is primarily made with mashed chickpeas typically blended with olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Original hummus, with real ingredients, is a great source of protein and fiber, and contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
9. Cucumber with Feta Cheese
Use sliced cucumber as green crackers and put some delicious feta cheese on top of them. Feta cheese certainly offers nutritional value but eat in moderation as it also contains sodium and saturated fats.
Check out this cucumber-feta bites recipe as another great example of a different type of snack.
10. Roasted Chickpeas
Hummus is made with chickpeas but you can also eat them by themselves. Roasted chickpeas are absolutely delicious and are a great snack for in the office.
What’s so good about chick peas? Chickpeas are typically high in plant-based protein and fiber and they quickly make you feel full so you don’t feel the urge to keep snacking They help to make you feel full, to improve digestion, and aid to heart health too
11. Natural Jerky
Easy to take with you, natural jerky has a surprisingly good nutritional profile (low in carbohydrates, high in protein) and you can’t go past the taste.
Make sure you choose the natural jerky, without any nasty preservatives or other ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Dates may not be your first choice when it comes to alternative, healthy snacks but they are in fact incredibly healthy.
Dates are high in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, B vitamins and vitamins A and K, and contain zero fat. Admittedly, the taste of dates is not for everyone, but they surely are a great afternoon office snack.
13. Free-Range Eggs
Eggs are an undervalued super food as far as I’m concerned. Boil a few eggs in the morning ans eat them as snacks in the afternoon. Not only will you be taking in loads of natural nutrients, you’ll also feel very satisfied.
Put a bit of light mayonnaise on them for some extra taste.
14. Cottage Cheese
Just like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is a great source of complete dairy proteins, provides you with all the amino acids your body needs to function properly. Cottage cheese also contains calcium and phosphorus which promotes bone health, and vitamin A and B vitamins.
The taste of cottage cheese may not be for everyone, but I absolutely love it. Add some berries for some more sweetness if you find cottage cheese hard to eat by itself.
15. Roasted Edamame Beans
Very popular in Japan, edamame beans are basically boiled green soybeans and they are an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
16. Sliced Peppers
Peppers are not only great for an Asian style stir fry, they also taste very refreshing when you eat them raw. Slice a few peppers in the morning, take them with you in a little container, and snack on them in the late afternoon.
17. Organic Potato Chips
If you’re an absolute fan of potato chips and you don’t want to give up on them, there are actually also healthy versions. And they are tasty too!
They are usually a bit pricier than conventional chips but they are worth it. You can get organic potato chips at most supermarkets or otherwise on Amazon too.
18. Whole Grain Brown Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
Spread a few brown rice cakes with organic peanut butter and you’ll have yourself the perfect afternoon snack that will quickly fill you up. I always go for brown rice cakes instead of white rice cakes, for the same reason as I prefer brown rice over white rice, as brown rice is lower in calories and higher in fiber.
Make sure the peanut butter is made with 100% peanuts with no added vegetable oil.
19. Kale Chips
Kale may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and you may even be tired by now of hearing about the health benefits of kale (yes kale is very healthy!).
But munching on kale in the form of chips is a great way to reap the health benefits of the nutritional powerhouse that kale is.
And it only takes you 20 minutes to prepare kale chips! Check out this recipe for delicious home-made kale chips.
Don’t want to make them yourself? You can also buy them online or find them in your local supermarket.
20. Green Smoothies
Admittedly, a green smoothie can hardly be classified as a snack, but with a decent blender you can create yourself a thick and filling smoothie with a good dose of fruits and vegetables. You’d be surprised how satisfying and energizing a nutritious green smoothie can be, especially in the afternoon at work, when you still have a few hours to go.
Check out some of my green smoothie recipes, or have a look at my list of recommended blenders that can make you the perfect smoothie every day. Prefer juicing over blending? Have a look at my recommendations for best juicers on the market.
Final Thoughts on Healthy Office Snacks
As you can see, snacking can also be healthy and nutritious. It’s so easy to slowly gain weight by munching on dirty snacks each day when you’re hard at work.
But it’s just as easy to turn snacking into a healthy habit by substituting unhealthy snacks by much healthier options. Sure, you may need a but more time to prepare some of these healthy snacks, but it makes a world of difference to your health by making these changes to your diet.
I would love to hear your healthy snack ideas for work too, so please leave a comment to share with us what you like to munch on in the office!