Going with healthier snacking options at work can positively impact an organization’s productivity. According to Harvard Business Review, “Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.” Everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. With low glucose levels, it becomes much harder to stay focused on the work in front of you.
When choosing your next snack for work, be mindful of its nutritional value. As a general guide, look for snacks that are:
- Have a mix of nutrients
- Offer convenience
Alyssa Ardolino, RD, Nutrition Communications Coordinator for the International Food Information Council, points out that you should “try to have a mix of protein, carbs and fat in each snack.”
Here are 10 healthy snack options that you can keep right at your desk:
- Seeds – Seeds are a great source of protein, easy to store, and not messy. They can be eaten by themselves, and added as a garnish on top of other foods such as toast, yogurt, or oatmeal. You can try mixing different seeds together, such as pumpkin and chia seeds.
- Raw Nuts – Nuts are another great desk snack option because of its easy storage, long shelf life, and nutritional value. They contain significant amounts of fiber, protein, and fat. Studies have shown that nuts have been linked to reducing heart disease risk factors.
- Fruit – Fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth while providing you with good amounts of fiber and essential nutrients. Naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories, fruits are also high in water content, making them a filling snack.
- Nut Butter – Peanut and almond butters are tasty and versatile desk snacks. You can pair it with other foods such as apples, bananas, and breads. As a general rule of thumb, you want to purchase from brands with fewer ingredients and no added oils.
- Crackers – Crackers come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and nutritional values – with some options being healthier than others. When shopping for crackers, be mindful of the brand that you choose, and the amount of sodium, salt, and fat that it may contain.
- Granola – A beloved choice by many, a low-sugar granola or cereal is a great snack to keep at your desk. It can be eaten plain or added to different foods that you may consume throughout the day. Try sprinkling some onto your yogurt for some extra crunch!
- Granola Bars – One of the easiest snacks around, granola bars are full of protein, fiber, and healthy carbs. However, like crackers, it’s important to be mindful of the brand that you choose. Before purchasing, read the label and consider options with less sugar and sodium.
- Vegetable Chips – These savory snacks can be made at home by baking thinly sliced produce. But if you don’t feel like making them yourself, you can also find a great number of options at your local supermarket.
- Rice Cakes – Rice cakes may be bland on their own, but they’re a great option if you’re looking to pair it with something. Try smearing some nut butter, honey, hummus, or avocado onto a rice cake for a quick treat.
- Roasted Seaweed – Roasted seaweed can be a great alternative to chips or crackers. It has a wide array of vitamins and minerals, is low in calories and fat, and tastes great! Be sure to check your local food stores for seaweed snacks.
Having food for work is key for staying fueled and focused throughout the day. Some light snacks here and there can prevent hunger distractions, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and leave you satisfied until your next meal. And although most of us love the occasional office donut, it’s crucial to remember that eating unhealthy snacks should not become a daily habit. Healthier options (meaning foods with good nutrients and minimal salt, processed fats, and sugar) provide sustained energy, improved health and happiness.