Most days, you run solely on coffee. But when the effects of your beloved “survival juice” start to wear off, you head to the vending machines for a midday boost.
Sodas and sugar-infused juices bombard you. You stare at yellow dye, trans fat laden potato chips and way-too-sugary “chocolate” treats that make your teeth ache — not to mention, they cost an arm and a leg. The snacks that are supposed to be healthy, like nuts, are too salty or just aren’t readily availle in your typical vending machine.
A number of employees work through their lunch hour every single day, relying on a hastily ordered delivery or a trip to the vending machine for sustenance. Others end up digging in their desk drawers in the hopes of finding a forgotten treat.
Stop denying yourself real food, only to burn out. Instead, try these healthier, quick and easy snacks for a midday office boost.
1. Low-Sugar Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that adds beneficial fiber to your diet, keeping your digestive system happy and occupied. Carbs also fill you up faster, and it’s best to eat the healthy kind.
All you need is hot water and some instant oatmeal.
Consider making your own instant oatmeal packets for when a hunger pang hit you during the work day. For an extra protein boost and flavor, add your favorite nut butter to the mix.
2. Oven-Toasted Chickpeas
Crispy chickpeas are all the rage. You can buy pre-made ones at the grocery store for a convenient crunchy snack. You could even try making your own.
Over the weekend, soak dried chickpeas – or open and drain a can -, pat dry and then toast them in the oven. You’ll have a protein-packed, toasty treat to munch on when your energy feels low.
Lightly dust the chickpeas with sea salt or kosher salt for a sodium boost, and flavor them with any other spices. Cinnamon sugar will make a your crispy chickpeas a sweet treat.
3. Wasabi Dried Peas
Craving a spicy mid-afternoon punch? Wasabi dried peas provide protein and fiber, but little other nutrients and dense sustenance at 123 calories for every ounce serving. Pay attention to your portion size.
4. Poppy Seed Chia Pudding
Wait, pudding is healthy? What’s the catch?
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, healthy fats and fiber. Poppy seed chia pudding is delicious to start the day or as a midday pick-me-up. You can make it the night before and the keep it in the refrigerator at the office for when your hunger pangs hit.
5. Dark Chocolate
If craving chocolate, reach for the heart-healthy kind — dark chocolate. Adults who consume 3.5 ounces daily report lower heart disease rates, and the generous levels flavonoids — a type of antioxidant — improve thought processes, reduce blood pressure, combat cell damage and boost blood to the heart and brain.
Add dark chocolate to your favorite recipes, or snack on it raw when you experience brain fog. Dark chocolate bars come in many flavors: peppermint, salted caramel and orange, for example.
6. Low-Carb Nuts
A delightful combination of protein, fiber and healthy fats will keep you full and energized until the end of the day. Nuts are the perfect go-to snack.
For those who consume a low-carb diet, nuts with low net carbs — such as pecans, hazelnuts and almonds — offer all the above benefits. A quarter-cup is all you need for your midday boost.
7. Hummus With Assorted Veggies
By itself, hummus isn’t bad for you. It contains simple and healthful ingredients, such as protein and iron-rich chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
Every tablespoon of hummus is 25 calories, and if you eat hummus as a part of a Mediterranean diet, you help lower your cardiovascular health risks. The olive oil in hummus is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Substitute vegetables for the pita chips, which load you up on empty carbs and many calories. Dip assorted veggies, such as carrots or broccoli, into the hummus, and you’ve got an added boost of nutrients and a vegetable serving for the day.
8. Homemade Trail Mix
Most store-bought trail mix is full of unnecessary calories and won’t give you the pick-me-up you’re looking for. Instead, make trail mix at home from a variety of ingredients. Try combinations of dried fruit, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, dark chocolate chips and seeds.
9. Vegan, Gluten-Free Peanut Butter & Cheese Crackers
Whip up a gluten-free version of Cheez-Its and slather a nut butter between the crackers. Mix peanut butter and maple syrup for a seriously sinful treat without as much gut guilt.
The crackers contain gluten-free flour mix, gluten-free oat flour, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cold water, baking powder and assorted spices. Sounds tasty, right?
10. Baked Rosemary-Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
Ever had those hearty, homemade potato chips in a restaurant? They’re the ones you can’t stop dipping in the dressing and could do with a little less salt. Before you know it, the basket is empty, and you didn’t exactly say no to a second serving.
Make your own variation by thinly slicing up sweet potatoes with a mandolin. You can also use other vegetables for a chip variety but get the extra moisture out of watery veggies by patting them down with a paper towel.
Spray nonstick baking sheets with cooking oil, and layer chips with sprinkled spices. You’ll cook these for a few minutes, let them rest and bake a little longer for the perfect chip with both softness and crunch.
You can’t live on coffee alone, as much as you’d like to think so. Try these brain-building and energy-boosting snacks to power you through the midday slump at the office.
Most of the snacks are easy to throw together the night before for the day or week ahead. So, stop digging through your desk drawers and handing over your quarters to the vending machine. Munch away on healthier snacks.
You can still enjoy a little spice, sugar and salt — just without the guilt and the crash that follow.