When “hanger” sets in mid-afternoon, we’re often left with no other choice than to hit up the vending machine or make our way down to the corporate cafeteria for some overpriced, processed fuel. But if you remember to leave a stash of super healthy desk snacks in a drawer, you’ll save money while boosting your energy levels, focus, and productivity during the 9-to-5 grind.
Not sure what to keep on hand? Try these delicious snacks that nutrition pros rely on to make it through the day.
Healthy desk snacks nutritionists eat at work
1. KIND bars
“I never leave home without a KIND bar in my purse or in the glove compartment of my car, and they can easily squeeze into a desk drawer,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. What she appreciates most is that transparent wrappers allows you to see the whole ingredients clearly, like nuts, seeds, oats, and dried fruit. “The decadent taste and sweetness from chocolate surprisingly only brings five grams of sugar, and it also gives six grams of protein and a whopping seven grams of fiber to help you feel fuller longer,” she says. She adds that if you’re only slightly hungry, KIND mini bars are a great lower-calorie option that delivers equally on taste.
When Taub-Dix needs an afternoon energy boost, her snack of choice is a handful of Blue Diamond whole natural almonds that provide six grams of protein (equivalent to the amount in an egg!), 35 percent of your recommended daily value for vitamin E, and 13 percent of your recommended daily value of fiber, along with a hefty dose of healthy fats that may help reduce cholesterol levels. “It’s great as a business travel-friendly snack or an afternoon pick-me-up that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and it’s easy to store in the can it comes in for easy access when you’re working on a deadline,” she says. If you’re looking for a spicy kick to keep you alert at your desk, Taub- Dix suggests going for their Sriracha or wasabi soy flavors.
3. Fruit and almond butter
There’s nothing more satiating than a crunchy, fresh piece of fruit paired with creamy, heart-healthy nut butter. “If you can, grab a fresh fruit from your workplace lunchroom or from the fruit stand on the corner, and pair a crunchy apple or pear with a tablespoon of almond butter,” says Taub-Dix. “An apple provides fiber and refreshing crunch, and the protein and healthy fat in almond butter help smooth out blood sugar levels when eaten along with the apple, and keeps you feeling fuller longer.”
4. Crackers and cheese
Impromptu charcuterie plate, anyone? Taub-Dix loves storing whole grain crackers in her desk. For an extra seven grams of protein and 20 percent of her recommended daily value of calcium, she pairs the crackers with individually wrapped string cheese to store in the office fridge (this way, the cheese doesn’t absorb odors from colleagues’ snacks!).
“My day is jam-packed, so the snacks I grab in between patients need to taste great, fill me up, and align with the advice I’m giving my patients,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RDN. Her go-to option is popcorn for its high fiber and high antioxidant value, made with a dollop of grass-fed butter and sea salt.
6. Quest protein snacks
It’s hard to find a decadent-tasting snack that also stabilizes blood sugar levels. Quest protein bars and protein cookies, “are easy to grab on the go and satisfy my cravings when I’m looking for something that’s a little sweet but doesn’t make me feel like I’m cheating,” she says. She notes that Quest cookies are certified keto-friendly, making them a great workday snack for those following a keto meal plan.
Here’s a dietitian’s guide to processed snacks:
“I always have walnuts in my desk drawer,” says Alexis Schulze, co-founder of Nékter Juice Bar and certified health coach.“I like raw walnuts because they have all the added enzymes for better digestion, and they’re rich in healthy omega-3s. Plus, she says since almonds are in basically everything these days, she tries to keep things interesting with this underrepresented nut.
8. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are another one of Schulze’s go-to healthy desk snacks. “They’re actually loaded with calming magnesium and manganese, which helps with blood sugar,” she says. The Go Raw pumpkin seed brand is her go-to since they’re sprouted and thus potentially better for digestion. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they come in awesome flavors like spicy fiesta with sea salt and sweet cinnamon.
9. Vegan Rob’s Dragon Puffs
Mindless munching that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and sluggish? Yes, please. “I’m not a huge sweets person,” admits Schulze, “[but] I am all about the salty, so I admittedly love a good Cheeto. But, when I want something to satisfy that salty craving, I’m loving Vegan Rob’s Dragon Puffs,” adding that thanks to their spice, they remind her of hot Cheeto puffs.
None of these satisfy your sweet spot? Here are 6 healthy sweet snacks that’ll satisfy your sugar cravings, without the crash. Or, venture out of your comfort zone and swap the popcorn for some nutritious water lily seeds.
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