So many of us spend so many hours sitting in front of the computer at work, and we need pick-me-ups to keep energized throughout the day. Besides coffee, we often seek a boost in the form of snacks; but opting for chips or candy from the vending machine is a calorie-packed trap we’d do best to avoid. Here are ten healthy and delicious snacks — nutritionist-approved! — that you should try instead.
Willow Jarosh and Stephanie Clarke, registered dieticians of C&J Nutrition, recommend this semi-sweet, healthful treat. “Chia seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in water, which means that they provide hydration along with protein and fiber,” says Clarke. “Make a simple chia pudding with mashed banana, milk, and chia seeds and keep it in a small jar in the fridge until you're ready to eat...or opt for a pre-made version like the Chia Pods from The Chia Co."
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This crunchy, protein-filled snack makes for a great salty fix, says Kayleen St. John, director of nutrition at Euphebe. “They’re easy to make homemade — drain a can of chickpeas and dry well, toss in olive oil, salt, cayenne and paprika, bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until crunchy,” she says.
Beef, turkey or chicken jerky
Opt for a lean meat snack; Whole Foods sells a pack of 365 organic turkey jerky for $7, and they also carry Krave Artisanal Sesame Beef Jerky, $6.
Peanut butter and fruit sandwich
Peanut butter has the protein you need, but the sugar-packed jelly that rounds out a PB&J makes the childhood favorite a less healthy option. Instead, “spread your favorite peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread, layer with your favorite sliced fruit (we are loving strawberries right now since they're in season), fold in half and enjoy as a snack that delivers protein, healthy fat, and high fiber carbs,” recommends Jarosh.
Scritchfield recommends this fermented drinkable yogurt. It will give you a good dose of probiotics, which aid in gut health and help reduce stress. Just sip at your desk, easy-peasy.
An apple and nut butter
Stephanie Middleberg of the NYC-based Middleberg Nutrition says it’s important to make sure you’re getting in some protein with your snack. She loves almond or nut butter with an apple. If you forget to pack the nut butter, you can purchase individual packets like Justin's, Artisana, Barney's at the bodega. “Add string cheese for a more interesting twist, or do dried mango plus almond butter (a favorite),” she says.
Healthy trail mix
Instead of a vending machine Snickers, to satisfy a sweet tooth while actually getting in some protein and vitamins, opt for trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate mixed in. Scritchfield suggests making your own in bulk and then portioning it out into small baggies for the week.
“Keep a bag of frozen edamame pods at work. When you need a snack, heat up a few handfuls in the microwave and snack away,” suggests St. John.
“Full of fiber and protein, this snack will also keep your mind occupied while you shell the edamame pods,” she adds.
Hummus and veggies
For an afternoon nosh, try crunchy, hydrating veggies — like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, mini cucumbers — dipped in hummus, a great source of protein and healthy fat.
“Think of it as dinner one. You want something savory and chances are you didn’t get enough veggies yet in your day,” says Scritchfield.
One to two squares of 85% dark chocolate
“If you’re craving something sweet and can’t resist — go for it, but be sure to go dark,” says St. John. She recommends one or two squares of dark chocolate that “will kill that craving while providing a solid dose of antioxidants and even fiber,” she explains. “The darker it is, the less sugar and more fiber there will be — win-win.”