By Terri Eyden
The vending machine is the wrong place to go if your stomach is growling at you or you need a boost of energy – walk away while you can!
Working eight or more hours a day can make it difficult to eat healthy snacks unless you plan ahead. According to registered dietitians Katherine Brooking and Holley Grainger",eating every four hours helps keep your metabolism charged and your energy level high, which leads to enhanced productivity."
To move snack time into a healthful direction:
- Choose foods with higher amounts of the nutrients we need: fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamin C.
- Avoid foods loaded with things we need to eat less of: saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar.
Here are some healthy snacks you can take to work:
- Trail mix and/or dried fruits and nuts
- Tuna salad kits that include a can of water-packed tuna and crackers
- High-fiber, low-fat crackers (like reduced-fat Triscuits)
- Natural peanut butter on crackers, bagels, and/or fruit
- Low-fat yogurt with fruit
- Low-fat cottage cheese with fruit
- Reduced-fat cheese with low-fat, high-fiber crackers
- Leftovers from the previous night's dinner that you warm up in the lunchroom microwave.
- Hummus with celery
- Whole-grain pretzels
- Mozzarella sticks, string cheese, or Laughing Cow wedges
- Air-popped popcorn
- Nutrition bars (Cliff bars are especially yummy and filling)
- Rice cakes with hummus and topped with cherry tomatoes
- Rice cakes topped with a hard-boiled eggs and mixed herbs
- Multi-grain crackers topped with cheddar cheese and sliced green grapes
- Bananas topped with almond butter
- Apples with brie cheese
- Salsa with baked tortilla chips
Snacks for vegetarians from Vegetarian Times
Vegan snack ideas from About.com
Gluten-free snacks from With Style and Grace.com
Healthy snacks from The Healthy Snacks Blog:
- Trail mix: Combine healthful fats, such as pumpkin seeds, with dry-roasted, unsalted nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, and walnuts), or unique proteins like roasted edamame. Add dried fruit and whole grain cereal. Mix all the ingredients in a big ziploc plastic bag and you’re set.
- Smoothies: There’s no more refreshing way to load up on nutrients than with a smoothie. Blend together wholesome ingredients, such as plain Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, 100 percent juice, and ground flaxseed (for “good-for-you” omega fatty acids).
- Nutty sandwiches: Summer is a good time to get “nutty” with your sandwiches, as nut butters don’t require refrigeration. Begin with 100 percent whole grain bread and then top with your favorite nut butters (peanut, almond, or cashew). Add sliced banana, apple, raisins, or a bit of just-fruit spread. If you can’t eat nuts, use soy nut butter or sunflower butter instead.
- Fruit: Fruits are great snacks that give you a little boost between meals. They add vitamins and antioxidants to your day. If possible, add a cheese stick for better balance.
- Protein shakes or vitamin/mineral powders: Bring a packet of protein powder mix or mineral power mix and blend with low-fat milk. You’ll have a drink that offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, and protein to add nutritional benefits to your day.
Delicious and healthy snack recipes:
- From Better Recipes.com
Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Granola (when you're craving something sweet yet healthy)
- From Food Network.com
Alton Brown’s Hummus for Real
Ellie Krieger’s Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars
- From Snack Girl.com
Ants on a Log (with a Twist)
- From Whole Grain Gourmet.com
Multigrain Energy Bars
- From Allrecipes.com
Easy Snack Wraps