The morning rush can sometimes leave breakfast as an afterthought, or you may get up so early that by the time you get to work, you are hungry hours before lunch time comes around. Therefore, it is important to bring along some healthy snacks in your work bag. They can help you get through the day without hitting the vending machine. Here are some healthy snack ideas to prep and pack for nearly every diet restriction.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables may require some prepping the night before, but these fresh snacks are a great fibre-rich addition to any workday routine. Here are some ideas for using them in snack recipes.
Sliced fruit salad: Sliced strawberries, kiwi, and grapes sprinkled and tossed with a dash of cinnamon provide a sweet and refreshing snack option.
Apples and nut butter: Sliced apples tossed in lemon juice (to prevent browning) and served with a tablespoon or two of peanut or almond butter provides a fibre and protein filled snack option.
Cucumber salad: Slice cucumbers and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Also, add a dash of apple cider vinegar for a simple cucumber salad.
Ants on a log: This classic children’s snack is actually really healthy and delicious for any age. Top celery stalks with peanut butter and top with raisins or dried cranberries for extra flavour and fibre. If you want to put a twist on this snack recipe, fill your celery with hummus and use black olives as your healthy-fat filled ants.
Vegetables and dressing: Baby carrots or sliced carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower with a side of Greek yogurt dressing is a protein and fibre-filled snack option that is fairly easy to prep. If you are dairy-free or vegan, try mixing a tablespoon of Vegan mayonnaise and two tablespoons of almond milk. You can even use coconut milk yogurt together for a savoury, yet slightly sweet dressing. Add your favourite spices to taste. My favourite vegan mayonnaise is Hampton Creek Just Mayo which is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and kosher…and delicious.
Nuts and seeds
Simple yet delicious, mixing together nuts and seeds can make a satisfying and healthy snack option during the workday. The optimal snack serving size for nuts is about 1 ounce, which is equal to about 23 almonds, 18 cashews, 35 peanuts, or 15 pecan halves, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Combine nuts with seeds or dried fruit for extra flavour. One snack serving of seeds is about two tablespoons pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds out of the shell. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are calorie-dense though, so if combining nuts and seeds, combine half a snack serving of each to maintain a healthy snack calorie level of around 200 calories or so.
More protein, please
An extra protein packed snack during the workday can help boost your energy as the day rides on. Therefore, try one of these snack options to keep you going until its time to go home.
Yogurt: One cup of low-sugar yogurt with ¼ cup berries or diced fruit. You can also add a teaspoon or two of nuts or seeds such as chia or flax seeds for extra fibre and protein crunch. A dairy-free option with similar protein power would be a soymilk-based yogurt with a teaspoon of chia seeds, slivered almonds, and/or crushed walnuts.
Jerky: Jerky comes in all forms from chicken, turkey, beef, bison, and even alligator (at least in Oregon and Colorado). Even if you are vegan or vegetarian, there are seitan jerkies that provide around 10+ grams of protein an ounce. The only thing to watch out for is sodium, so try to stay around 300 milligrams or less if possible.
Cheese: Mozzarella, cheddar, and Colby jack are the common cheese that comes in convenient sticks and slices for portable protein-rich workday snacks. If you are dairy-free, vegan brands such as Daiya offer blocks of cheddar, Gouda, Havarti, and Monterey Jack-style cheese product that can be diced into blocks for easy portability in sandwich bags for snacks.
These snack ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possibilities. Combine a few to create your own combo so you can enjoy a small bite to eat before meal time without sabotaging your healthy lifestyle.