Do you struggle with mid-morning or late-afternoon hunger? Do you visit the vending machines for your daily chips or HoHos? Does the candy bowl at the front desk call your name every time you walk by it?
It’s normal to get hungry throughout the day. The body works hard and a meal in the morning (if you have time), and a lunch (if you have time) are often not enough. Fast food, chips, or treats in the break room are often the quickest and easiest ways to get that fix needed to make it through the day. However, just grabbing whatever is in front of you will not always give you enough energy to be productive.
Good, healthy snacks do a few specific things for you during your work day. The Harvard Business Review explains that food impacts cognitive performance. So, it’s not JUST that those nacho flavored tortilla chips are bad for your body and any attempt at losing weight, but they will also not help your mental productivity. Choosing healthier options provide the energy and nutrition for better cognitive performance throughout your day. Snacks are also the most influential piece in one’s overall diet. The ease of access to poor quality snacks high in sodium, fats, and sugar as well as the tendency to over-snack can really throw any diet out of wack and out the door.
Now that you know a few reasons why healthy snacking is so important, what are some healthy snack options?
Here’s a list of 10 healthy snacks for the office directly from Inc.com:
Jerky has long been written off as an unhealthy indulgence relegated to gas stations and truck stops, but done right, jerky is incredibly healthy. It’s high in lean protein (which keeps you fuller longer), and it won’t raise insulin levels (which is great for weight loss). New artisanal varieties use premium meats and abstain from fillers, preservatives, and other artificial additives.
Recommendation: Field Trip Jerky
If protein is what you’re after, you can’t do much better than yogurt. A 6-ounce serving contains about 9 grams — not to mention a fair amount of calcium, vitamin B12, potassium, and magnesium. And, of course, yogurt famously contains beneficial probiotics that help maintain good digestive health.
Trail mix combines foods rich in fiber, fats, and protein in one delicious snacking experience. This means you’ll feel full longer, and you’ll be eating lower net carbs. But like any pop music masterpiece, it’s all about getting the right mix. Make sure yours gets its sweetness from natural sources, not from candy or chocolate pieces.
Recommendation: Bearclaw Kitchen
Cheese gets a bit of a bad rap for having high caloric and fat content, but it’s also a great source of vitamin D, calcium, and protein. Remember to practice moderation — and keep in mind that not all cheese is created equal. Organic is always a better option; the less processed, the better.
Recommendation: Horizon Organic
Crackers help satisfy your appetite in between meals, and they’re a much better option than fried fare. Here again, the less processed, the better. Look for crackers that are 100 percent whole grain and don’t contain saturated fat.
Recommendation: Cello Whisps
Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and has been linked to improved heart health, lower cholesterol, increased cognition, and even cancer prevention. The darker the chocolate, the better, because these varieties tend to be made with less added sugar and contain more antioxidant-rich cocoa.
In the right quantity and made the right way, chips are definitely a healthy snack. These days, artisanal brands are cooking their chips in sunflower oil, avocado, and coconut oil. And just as the best form of exercise is the one you’ll do, the best healthy snack is the one you’ll actually eat. If you love chips, there are lots of better-for-you chip options that will satisfy your craving without sabotaging your diet.
Recommendation: Deep River
If it seems like America is in the midst of a bar revolution, it’s because we are. Bars are so popular because they provide balanced, portable nutrition and can keep you full and energized for hours at a time. There are dozens of great bar makers offering healthy, great-tasting bars with just a few ingredients and minimal processing.
Nuts make a great snack, mostly because they contain healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), protein, and fiber. But really, they’re great because they’re delicious.
Recommendation: AgStandard Almonds
Fruit is a great office snack because it’s compact and portable, and some of them even come with their own natural carrying cases. If you get bored with ordinary fruits like apples and oranges, there are many kinds of dried fruit chews to get your daily dose.
Recommendation: Bare Snacks
Don’t let your hunger ruin your day! Without snacks, energy can be lacking and your cognitive performance lessens, thus making the day less productive than you (and those you work with) want. Give any of these 10 simple office snacks a try, or even mix up a few of them. Put fresh fruit in your yogurt or pair whole grain crackers with organic string cheese. Share your favorite healthy snacks with your office and look for the productivity and energy to increase! If you have any questions, ask your physical therapist for their favorite healthy snack, and what might be good for you.
Tags: cognitive performance, diet, energy, healthy snacks, office, office snacks, snacks