In this age of rising obesity and diabetes, everyone wants to lose weight and stay healthy. Our lives are becoming so demanding that sometimes we even have to skip our breakfast to reach work on time.
In an effort to curb our hunger we resort to snacking at work. It is something which is practically impossible to avoid. Also, everyone knows how hard it is to eat healthy at work.
Moreover, we tend to lean more towards unhealthy, sugary, fatty snacks.
Foods loaded with trans-fats and added sugars are the main cause of health issues. Such kinds of food can cause stress as well. They are so easily available and common that it seems impossible to resist them.
Is it the lack of knowledge or the lack of healthier snack options that makes us choose the unhealthier ones?
What if it was possible to lose weight by taking healthy snacks? In this article, I will help you to choose the right snack options for a healthier lifestyle.
Snacking on foods that are high in fiber, protein and vitamins provide energy and keep blood sugar levels stable. Healthy snacks help us remain focused and healthy. Whether you are confined to your desk or you are in the middle of a big project, healthy snacks keep you going on.
Being a certified nutritionist, I present an exclusive list of 25 snack options which are healthy and filling at the same time. These snacks will help you achieve your weight loss goals and can be easily kept in your desk drawer. Each snack is extremely rich in nutrients and has many health benefits.
So let’s check them out!
We have all heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are one of the most nutritious fruits. Their high soluble fiber content may aid weight loss and gut health.
Bring an apple with you to work to snack on whenever you are hungry. You can also dip a slice in peanut butter to make it more nutritious and tasty.
Things to watch out for - Avoid eating apple seeds as they contain cyanide which is poisonous. If eaten in excess, apples can cause tooth decay as they are acidic. Also, if you are diabetic apples can raise your blood sugar levels.
Bananas are delicious and healthy at the same time. They are rich in potassium, pectin, fiber and various other nutrients which have numerous health benefits.
To satisfy your snack cravings at work, treat yourself with a ripe banana. It will keep you full and provide you energy and nutrients. You can also dip them in peanut butter to make them more tasty and healthy.
Things to watch out for - Due to the high tryptophan content in bananas, eating too many may cause sleepiness. Also, overeating may cause weight gain.
3. Protein Bar
Protein bars provide protein and various other nutrients to the body. There are many types of protein bars in the market such as ones with low sugar or no sugar, one with low carbs, etc. They are a fast and convenient way to get more protein in your diet and taste quite well.
Things to watch out for - If you have digestion problems eating protein bars may cause gas, bloating, stomach cramps or diarrhea. Also, keep your intake to not more than one per day.
Almonds are very rich in protein, fiber, vitamin E, antioxidants, healthy fats, manganese, and magnesium. They can help control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
Keep a handful in your pockets and munch on them whenever you feel hungry. You can also add them to cereal or yogurt.
Things to watch out for - Eating too many almonds may cause digestive problems because of their high fiber content.
Like all nuts, walnuts are high in protein, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins. In fact, they have a higher healthy fat content than any other nut. They have various health benefits such as increased heart health, better memory, improved blood cholesterol, etc.
You can buy shelled or unshelled ones, whichever you prefer. Eating a handful of walnuts every day will provide you all its benefits.
Things to watch out for - Eating too many walnuts may make you gain weight as they are high in fat content. Also, it can cause softening of the stools and bloating.
Peanuts are not actually nuts, they belong to the legume family. They taste great and are rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. They aid weight loss, improve heart health and may prevent gallstones.
Munch on a handful of peanuts whenever you are hungry at work.
Things to watch out for - Peanuts are one of the most common allergens. If you are allergic to peanuts, they can create life-threatening responses.
As they are high in fat, don't eat them in excess. Try not to buy salted peanuts as they are loaded with sodium.
Also, all nuts contain high-oxalate content which increase the risk of kidney stones.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, healthy fats, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They have numerous health benefits such as increasing bone density, protecting against diabetes, aiding weight loss, etc. They can be eaten alone or sprinkled on to other foods such as yogurt and cereal.
Things to watch out for - Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber, so eating too much may cause gas or bloating.
8. Nut Butter
Nut butter is rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. They help improve blood cholesterol levels and are very heart-healthy. Peanut butter is the most common variant but almond butter, cashew butter, etc. are also available.
Things to watch for - Even though they are rich in nutrients, they are very calorie-dense. Therefore, keep track of your intake. Also, you should always check the labels as some contain hydrogenated vegetable oil (a source of trans fats), salt and sugar. Always try to buy 100% natural ones.
9. Trail Mix
A packet of trail mix is full of nutrients and is one of the best snacks to keep on your desk. A trail mix consists of nuts, dried fruits, berries and seeds and has all their benefits packed in one. They are easily available in markets or you can make your own trail mix if you want.
Things to watch out for - Due to high fiber content of seeds and nuts, overeating may cause gas, stomach problems or diarrhea.
Vegetables like carrots, asparagus, cucumber, etc. are great to snack on at work. They are loaded with phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Also, due to the high fiber content in vegetables, eating them keeps you fuller for a long time.
Things to watch out for - Eating too many vegetables may cause bloating, gas, or cause you to feel full because of their high fiber content.
11. Healthy Chips
Other than conventional fried potato chips, there are lots of healthier alternatives in the market. They may be baked, low in oil, made from grains and many more. Choose ones which are gluten-free and high in protein such as quinoa chips, multigrain chips, etc.
Things to watch out for - Even if chips are made from healthy ingredients, they are loaded with sodium. Avoid eating too much as it can make your body hold too much water and lead to high blood pressure.
12. High Fiber Whole Wheat Crackers
Crackers are usually unhealthy as they are made with refined flour and contain lots of preservatives and trans-fats. But you can find healthy ones as well which are made from multigrain, quinoa, vegetables, etc. They are high in fiber and protein and keep you satiated for a long time.
Also, you can add nut butter on your crackers to make them more nutrient rich.
Things to watch out for - Whole wheat crackers are rich in fibers which might cause digestive problems and diarrhea.
13. Energy Balls
Energy balls are small round balls made with nuts, berries, oats or seeds mixed together. They are extremely easy to prepare and can be stored for long periods of time. There are many recipes for making energy balls around the web and they can be made with ingredients already present in your pantry.
Things to watch out for - Though extremely nutritious and tasty, energy balls are easy to overeat. Keep a track of your intake to avoid consuming too many calories.
Yogurt is very nutritious and has many health benefits while having very few calories. It has been proven to prevent osteoporosis and heart problems, and aid in weight loss. It is high in protein and essential bacteria which promote gut health.
If you can, buy greek yogurt rather than plain yogurt. It is higher in protein and has shown to aid weight loss better than plain yogurt.
Things to watch out for - Eating yogurt in excess can cause diarrhea and stomach problems. Always check if the yogurt is sealed properly and not contaminated.
15. Granola Bar
Made from dried fruits, nuts, oats, and honey, granola bars are healthy snacks and are great at boosting energy. They are full of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Keep a few in your desk drawer and snack on one whenever you’re hungry.
Things to watch out for - Always check the labels before buying granola bars as some contain high fructose corn syrup and preservatives.
16. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a good source of healthy fats, minerals, plant compounds, and vitamins. They may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and chronic inflammation. Do not buy salted sunflower seeds as they are loaded with sodium, instead go for the shelled ones.
Things to watch out for - You may gain weight if you eat too much, as they are high in calories.
As with all seeds with high-fat content, sunflower seeds are prone to become rotten. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, place.
Replacing a chocolate bar or a packet of sweets with a handful of berries will greatly help reduce your caloric intake. Berries are nutritious, tasty and have a number of health benefits. They are loaded with antioxidants and fiber.
Keep a container full of berries of your choice on your office desk and snack on a handful whenever needed.
Things to watch out for - Eating berries can cause gastrointestinal problems and hypoglycemia. They can also increase the risk of bleeding if you're taking certain prescription medications.
18. Canned Fish
Canned fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals. You can have them as a snack or a meal in itself. They can be eaten straight out of the can and you can use them in a sandwich or salad.
Things to watch out for - Even though they are cheap, convenient and healthy, they are usually loaded with mercury and therefore you should avoid eating them too much.
Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They can reduce the risks of various diseases, aid weight loss and improve digestion.
You can eat them roasted or raw, either way a handful of chickpeas will give you the energy boost you require.
Things to watch out for - Chickpeas have high fiber content, so eating them can cause stomach cramps, gas and bloating.
20. Chia Seeds
One of the healthiest foods on the planet, Chia seeds are an amazing source of nutrients and are great for the body and the brain. They are very rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and have very few calories. They can be easily incorporated into the diet as they can be added to almost anything.
Things to watch out for - Due to the high-fat content in them, Chia seeds are prone to becoming rancid and therefore, must be kept in an airtight container.
21. Rice Cakes
Light, convenient and used as a low-calorie substitute for crackers and bread, rice cakes are fast gaining popularity throughout the world. They are made primarily from puffed rice and salt.
Even though they are flavorless on their own, you can top them with spreads like nut butter. They are gluten-free and very low in calories.
Things to watch out for - On their own, rice cakes are not very nutritious and you should combine them with healthy foods like peanut butter to increase the nutritional value.
22. Protein Shake
A protein shake is the easiest and the most convenient way to add protein in your diet. You can bring a shaker to work with protein powder already inside and just add water or milk whenever you want to drink it. They are available in different flavors and unflavored ones as well.
Things to watch out for - If you are lactose-intolerant you should avoid consuming milk products like whey protein. Consuming protein shakes in excess may cause increased bowel movements, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, etc.
23. Freshly Squeezed Fruit Juice
Unlike sugar-laden processed fruit drinks, freshly squeezed fruit juices are loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, fiber, and vitamins. The soluble fiber content in fruits has shown to help lose weight, lower blood cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
When you’re shopping for food, instead of buying popular fruit drinks, go for the freshly squeezed ones. They might be not be easily available like the packaged ones, but they are loaded with benefits. Also, if your office has a juicer, you can make your own juice with the choice of your liking.
Things to watch out for - All fruits contain natural sugars which can increase blood sugar levels. So, if you are diabetic you should avoid them.
24. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, and antioxidants. It has lower sugar than milk chocolates and there is nothing wrong in snacking on a few squares.
You can combine it with peanut butter or yogurt for a protein-rich snack. Also, choose ones which have 70% or higher cacao content.
Things to watch out for - The cocoa in dark chocolate contains caffeine and eating too much will cause you to experience caffeine related side effects such as anxiety, sleeplessness etc.
Also, they are high in calories and fats, so you avoid overeating.
Dates are very healthy and are high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. They can aid weight management and improve digestion. Also, they are extremely versatile and make an amazing snack. Munch on four or five dates when you are hungry to enjoy their benefits.
Things to watch out for - Although they are highly nutritious, you should not overeat them as they are relatively high in calories. Also, if you are diabetic you should avoid eating dates.
So, which of these healthy snacks are you going to keep in your desk drawer from now on?