Raise your hand if your morning routine goes a little something like this:
Crap, I’m already running late for work because the kids are fighting/my hair is just NOT working today/I have nothing to wear/I lost 10 minutes of my life to Facebook/the dog just puked all over the carpet. *Looks in fridge* I guess I’ll just take this leftover spaghetti from last week to eat for lunch because I have no time to make anything else. *Opens container, notices something growing on it* Never mind, I’ll buy lunch.
And then similarly, your work day goes something like this:
It’s only 10 a.m. and I’m starving. Ohhh sweet, someone bought a box of doughnuts to the office! *Chows down on a Boston cream and gets back to work* How is it 1 p.m. already? I have so much to do, I really don’t have time to grab lunch. I’ll just see what’s in the vending machine/snack shack. *Buys a frozen Lean Cuisine* I guess this is healthy enough, it says ‘”lean” on it… and that looks like a piece of broccoli in there. *Unwraps and heats up Lean Cuisine, eats it at desk* Ugh, it’s only 3 p.m.! I’m starving. *Heads to vending machine and buys a bag of chips and a chocolate granola bar* Hopefully this will tide me over until dinner! *Gets home, feels ravenous. Eats cereal from the box while deciding what to make for dinner*
When you have a busy life and an even busier job that entails sitting behind a computer for most of the day, making time for healthy habits can be hard. Not only is it tough to take a break, get up and move around, but making healthy food choices can also be challenging.
Because most of us nine-to-fivers don’t always have the time to prepare roasted kale chips or homemade protein bars, I’ve come up with a list of snacks you can prep in a pinch and bring to work with you that will keep you fueled throughout the day until dinnertime. Bonus: You’ll save a ton of cash by bringing your own food.
- Bag of baby carrots or other pre-cut vegetables
- Container of hummus (I like Sabra roasted red pepper hummus)
- Red grapes
- Green apples
- Whole wheat Greek-style pita
- Natural peanut butter or almond butter
- Dried cherries or cranberries
- 0% Plain Greek yogurt
- Black chia seeds
- Vega Chai Nutritional shake powder
- Unsweetened almond, coconut or skim milk
- Natural cream cheese
- Babyel cheese snacks
- Ryevita crackers
- Jar of antipasto
10 easy, healthy snack ideas for the desk dweller
- Sliced apple with nut butter and raisins. Slice a green apple in half and cut out the core and seeds so each piece has a little hole. Spread 1/2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter on each side and sprinkle with raisins. 250 calories, 8g fat, 46g carbs, 5g protein.
- Baby carrots and hummus. Pack about 3/4 cup of baby carrots (or your vegetable of choice) in a container with 2 tbsp of hummus for dipping. 120 calories, 5g fat, 14g carbs, 3.5 protein.
- Hummus on pita bread. Spread 2 tbsp hummus on a small whole wheat pita (look for the kind with minimal ingredients — should only be about 140 calories per pita). Cut into quarters or fold and eat it like a caveman like I do. 210 calories, 5.5g fat, 32g carbs, 7g protein.
- Yogurt with dried cherries and chia seeds. Mix 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp dried cherries or cranberries and 1 tbsp chia seeds in a container. The chia seeds will expand in the yogurt, making it a heartier, more filling snack. 235 calories, 3g fat, 33g carbs, 20 g protein.
- Chai latte shake. Mix 1 scoop of Vega Chai Nutritional Shake with 1 cup of almond or coconut or skim milk in a protein shaker cup or water bottle. Top up with water. It may sound gross, but it’s actually really tasty and blends well with just water. This is a great low-calorie, high-protein snack option packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. 187 calories, 8g fat, 12g carbs, 15.5g protein.
- Grapes with mini Babyel cheese. Pack one cup of red grapes in a container and eat them with a mini Babybel cheese snack. Having something sweet (like grapes) with something higher in fat and protein (like cheese) will not spike your insulin levels as much as if you just had the grapes alone. This will help prevent the dreaded “sugar crash” later in the day. 160 calories, 5g fat, 27g carbs, 4g protein.
- Rice cakes with peanut butter. My all-time favourite snack. Simply spread 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (or almond butter, if you prefer) over two whole grain rice cakes. (Or you can be like me and spread like a 1/4 cup of peanut butter on, so by the time you get to work your rice cakes are practically swimming in peanut butter and you get it all over your hands and pants. Actually, don’t do this. I’m disgusting.) 160 calories, 7.5g fat, 17.7g carbs, 5.5g protein.
- Banana and peanut butter pita wrap. Cut a whole wheat pita in half and spread 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter in it on one side. Slice up a banana and place slices inside the half pita. A tasty high-carb snack when you need the extra energy. 270 calories, 7.7g fat, 47g carbs, 7.5g protein.
- Ryevita with cream cheese and antipasto. Spread 1 tbsp natural cream cheese (meaning one that’s as close to real cheese as possible) over two Ryevita crackers. Top each cracker with 1 tsbp antipasto. A great snack for those who prefer salty to sweet. 155 calories, 6g fat, 17.5g carbs, 1.5g protein.
- Orange slices and almonds. Slice up a medium-sized orange and have with 24 unsalted almonds (yes, you have to count them — although nutritious and delicious, almonds are fairly high in calories). 255 calories, 12.4g fat, 24g carbs, 13.3g protein.
What are your favourite desk snacks for work? Do you bring your own lunch or go out to eat more often than not? Are you a snacker or do you prefer a bigger lunch?