I’ve done it a couple of times now. You probably have too. You’re running late out the door for work in the morning and completely forget to pack a lunch and snacks to get you through the day. You figure you’ll buy lunch – a salad, a bowl of soup. It’s no problem.
The problem occurs anywhere between 2 and 4 p.m. later that day when your energy is depleted and you’re ready to call it a day and, the worst part is, your stomach has no recollection of your eating that hamburger three or so hours ago (you decided to forget the salad that day). So, you turn to the trusty vending machine and opt for the Snickers bar thinking at least it has peanuts.
Watching what you eat takes some amount of pre-planning and thinking so that you keep your fridge and cupboards stocked with foods that can be grabbed as you’re rushing out the door. These are also foods that are ready to quash your hunger when you are at home in-between meals. So, while this may be a list of the top 10 healthier snacks to take to work, it just as well serves as a list of snacks to consult when you’re about to make a grab for the cookies or candy bars.
1. String Cheese: An immediate pick-me-up that doesn’t require any preparation time and is a good source of calcium. Just peel it out of the wrapper, eat quickly, and you’re instantly re-charged for the rest of the work day ahead of you. I find no distinction between the brand name or the grocery store knock-offs in terms of taste. So, I say skip the brand names and save money while going healthy.
2. Mini Salad: Here’s a simple idea. When doing your grocery store shopping buy a bag of Foster’s pre-cooked grilled chicken, one jar of Marie’s Caesar salad dressing and a bag of pre-washed and pre-cut hearts of romaine. These supplies should be enough to get you through the week. You can mix a small bowl of greens with a quarter cup of sliced chicken and a tablespoon of dressing. Toss everything together and you get a small serving of Caesar salad – simple enough to whip up on a 15-minute break.
3. Turkey Wraps: Go to any meat counter and get about a half a pound of turkey (pay attention to the amount of sodium it has) along with cheddar or swiss cheese slices. Wrap one slice of cheese with one slice of turkey for a simple and quick wrap.
4. Handful of Blueberries: I would suggest this only if they are on sale as containers of berries can be expensive (if purchased on a regular basis). This is a sweet snack that is also good for your complexion.
5. Trail Mix: I never buy the pre-made store trail mix since half of the ingredients I like and the other half, I never touch. Instead, I’ll go to Trader Joe’s and buy a back of almonds, a bag of walnuts and a bag of dried cranberries. Back at home, I’ll toss the ingredients together in a gallon-size ziplock and then portion out the mix into smaller snack-size ziplocks to take to work throughout the week.
6. Hard-boiled Egg: Eat these sparingly and consult with a doctor if you have high cholesterol. Hard-boiled eggs are good with a sprinkle of sea salt or black pepper. If you really are watching your cholesterol, pop the yolk out. The egg white still tastes just as good with a bit of salt.
7. Yogurt: Go with a plan, low-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkle in some walnuts. I like how they add a sort of meatiness to the yogurt, especially given the fact that I’m not totally in love with yogurt. But, adding the walnuts (or you can try almond slivers), makes it a pretty tasty treat in moderation.
8. Popcorn: Opt for the snack size bags that are about a third of the size of a traditional bag of microwave popcorn. If you’re craving something sweet, then sprinkle just a little bit of cocoa powder or honey in the bag.
9. Salty: If you are craving something like chips, try Chex Mix instead. There is a wheat version of Chex Mix that is just as good as the other flavors, but divide up the portions prior to the start of the week. Don’t bring a whole bag of Chex Mix to the office and then think that you will eat in appropriate increments. Instead, divvy up the contents of one bag into five, separate snack-size ziplock bags at the start of the week. You’ll get a hint of the saltiness you crave without polishing off a half or an entire bag at your desk.
10: PBJs: Well, not quite, but if you like peanut butter, try spreading crunchy peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat bread or a whole wheat English muffin. You’ll get your protein and whole grains into your diet. If you absolutely need something sweet, drizzle on a little bit of honey (how to know when you’ve put on too much honey? It’s dripping off the bread.)