Don’t do it – DROP the DONUT! Step AWAY from the vending machine. LEAVE the cinnamon rolls in the break room!! While most of us know what we SHOULD eat…far too often we find ourselves not only faced with temptation, but vulnerable because quite frankly we are STARVING!!
It’s like the saying goes, “Failing to PLAN is PLANNING to FAIL.” Research shows that eating every four hours helps to keep your metabolism charged and your energy level high. Before you dig in your drawer for spare change and head to the vending machine, plan ahead and stash low-calorie, nutritious snacks in a cabinet, drawer, or your briefcase. When it comes to PLANNING to eat healthy at the office, we’ve found the BEST thing to do is to KEEP IT SIMPLE, and like the Girl Scouts say “ALWAYS BE PREPARED”…with HEALTHY SNACK FOODS!
So here are 5 SUPER SIMPLE SNACKS to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the work day. Each of these snacks has less than 200 calories and are sure to satisfy when the 3 p.m. cravings hit.
- Popcorn with Parmesan
Take regular bagged popcorn to the next level by topping with 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese. The nutty flavor of the popcorn pairs well with the rich flavor of Parmesan resulting in a quick, 150-calorie snack. Simply top 3½ cups of 94%-fat-free popcorn with the cheese and your snack is served. If you don’t have an office fridge to stash your Parm, nosh on just the popcorn for only 100 calories. This salty snack counts as one of your three daily servings of whole grains and helps to increase your energy and mood.
- Flavored Nuts
Make the swap and choose nuts over chips for a crunchy alternative. Nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats but are calorically dense (about 170 calories per ounce) so measure out an ounce (about 24 almonds) and stick to that amount instead of feasting on the entire bag. Stash pre-measured baggies of nuts in an office drawer or in your purse to nibble on when the 3 p.m. hunger pains hit. Almonds and other nuts are a naturally high source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium and are rich in protein and fiber.
- Mini Pitas with Hummus
Use mini pita pockets to scoop up creamy hummus. Whether you make your own hummus or choose a favorite brand at the grocery store, hummus is made from chickpeas, a great source of soluble fiber. This soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Pair one serving of hummus, 2 tablespoons, with 3 mini pita rounds for a 150 calorie snack. If you want a protein boost, fill the mini pita pockets with an ounce of low-sodium deli ham or turkey. The fiber and protein combo gives the snack some staying power to keep you feeling full longer.
- Cucumber-Feta Bites
Cucumbers are a wonderful alternative to crackers during snack time. Top them off with a little cream cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, feta cheese, and walnuts or pine nuts for a protein-packed crunch.
Are you more inclined to snack in particular moods? Choosing foods with certain nutrients may give you a boost that junk food won’t deliver. ½ cup shelled edamame is only 100 calories, and will help satisfy you since it’s packed with protein and fiber! ADDITIONAL BENEFITS: Folate-rich foods like edamame may even out moods. In a few small studies, people with higher levels of folate in their systems reported less mood variability.