Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but a little something in the afternoon to sustain that energy is just as important. A healthy, energy-boosting snack at the start of the afternoon slump is the secret to making the end of my day is just as productive as its start. Forget those stale doughnuts in the breakroom - a balanced portion of whole foods is a great way to stave off cravings for junk food, and can even help boost your metabolism by providing necessary nutrients. So you can have your rice cake and eat it, too!
Some great, easy options for snacks you can take anywhere include dried fruits, like apricots, dates, and figs, or nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. You can even build your own superfood trail mix! If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous and flavorful, here are seven powerhouse snacks for a whole week of health benefits that will help you make the most of your work days. They're even easy to pack!
1. Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Incredibly filling and good for digestion, a few spoonfuls of protein-packed Greek yogurt can keep you going till dinner and is full of gut-loving probiotics to keep your intestines on track. As if that wasn't enough, Greek yogurt is a great source of natural iodine, which boosts your metabolism so you use more of the nutrients you consume. Top off a few tablespoons with some fresh fruit for a snack you can really feel good about.
2. Cucumber and Carrots with Hummus
If you prefer your chickpeas spreadable, reach for some hummus next time you're getting groceries (or make your own). Hummus has all the health benefits of chickpeas, with the added good fats in olive oil. Try swapping out standard chips or crackers for raw veggies, like cucumbers and carrots. Besides being a delicious way to sneak more vegetables into your day, the fiber, vitamins, and water content of raw vegetables help you feel full faster.
3. Roasted Chickpeas
Meet your new favorite legume. High in fiber, bone-building minerals, and heart-healthy vitamin B, this snack gets seriously savory and crunchy when roasted with garlic and cayenne, as in this recipe. Once they're roasted, chickpeas are a perfect on-the-go snack, so make a big batch on Sunday and portion them out during your week for a healthy kick of protein that couldn't be easier.
Sprinkled with a little salt, these young soybeans become extra crave-worthy. Edamame is full of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. The beans are low on calories, but high on fiber content, so much on a handful without worrying about adding to your count. It's a perfect filling snack for days when you don't need the extra carbs, just a little brain food to make it past 3 o'clock.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin products are not just for October! These delicious baby plants come pre-packed as the perfect ratio of protein, fats, antioxidants, and minerals, like heart-helping magnesium and immune-boosting zinc. They may even fight inflammation and help with insulin regulation. Next time you need some pep, put down the espresso and pop some pumpkin seeds.
These smelly fishies are packed with protein, good fats, and minerals. It might be best to keep them out of the communal breakroom, but when spread on whole grain crackers, they make an indulgent, savory snack that will have your productivity skyrocketing. If sardines make you squeamish, try canned tuna instead for similar benefits.
7. Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Add some zest to your afternoon with this popular Mediterranean aperitivo. Besides being a winning flavor combination, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls make for a great healthy mini-meal. Tomatoes are full of fiber, vitamins C and A, and lycopene - an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their color and helps protect against environmental toxins, sunburn, and cancer. When paired with the slow-burning protein and fats in mozzarella, you have a filling snack that will help you focus while adding a serving of vegetables.
Banish boring calorie packs and sugary sodas from your desk! With this week of healthy and delicious snack options, you're sure to boost your productivity and stick to better, more nutritious eating habits. Plan for a mix of grab-and-go and more filling options, and you'll be prepared to fuel your body no matter what the work day throws at you. Just bring enough to share - you’re about to be the most popular person in the office!