When the break room donuts are calling your name, it can be hard to stay on track with eating healthy. Sometimes it seems willpower isn't enough to keep you away from those high fat, high-sugar comfort foods.
But, prepping healthy snacks in advance can help you fight the urge to indulge.
By preparing ahead of time and bringing healthy snacks to work, you can cut the very real temptation down. Keeping delicious — yet nutritious — options readily available makes it easier to make a smart choice when you get hungry.
Not sure what to pack?
Here’s a look at 7 healthy snacks for work:
1. Raw nuts
Crunchy and delicious, raw nuts are a great energy-boosting snack for that mid-day slump. Walnuts, cashews, and almonds are healthy options to keep on hand. But because nuts are high in calories, you may want to portion each serving size into small snack bags to avoid overdoing it.
- Add to trail mix with dried fruit
- Toss a handful onto a salad
Why it’s a healthy choice: Nuts are full of amazing benefits, including lowering cholesterol when included as part of an otherwise balanced diet. Nuts are known to help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Most nuts are full of vitamin E, which may prevent artery plaque development and artery narrowing. This plaque buildup can lead to chest pains and heart attacks. L-arginine, known for creating nitric oxide, which opens arteries to improve blood flow, is another healthy substance you’ll find in nuts.
2. Roasted seaweed
Salty, crispy, and oh-so-yummy, roasted seaweed is a must-have snack option. If you’re craving a crunchy snack, instead of reaching for potato chips, this gift from the sea is a perfect alternative. You can opt for sea salt or flavored options — like sesame or wasabi — depending on your preference.
- Create your own sushi
- Add as a salad topper
- Eat it straight out of the package
Why it’s a healthy choice: Seaweed is full of great nutrients including iron, iodine, and vitamins A,B, C, and E. These vitamins and nutrients are important for the healthy functioning of the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Vitamins C and E in particular are crucial for immune health, wound healing, and protection from damaging free radicals.
The versatility of this green superfood is unbelievable. Full of vitamins and minerals, adding avocado to your plate is one of the best eating habits you can make throughout the day. The ultimate easy snack: Cut it in half and sprinkle a little sea salt and lime juice on it for convenience. Just add a spoon.
- Add it to a smoothie
- Spread onto a rice cake
- Cut in half and dig in
Why it’s a healthy choice: Why is avocado good for you? How can we count the ways? This green, creamy health gem has nearly 20 vitamins in a serving! That includes folate (a must-have in pregnancy), potassium (helps cramps and controls blood pressure), and lutein (good for the eyes). Low in sugar — but high in fiber — avocados are a great option any time of day.
4. Dark chocolate
Yep, this yummy treat is good for you in moderation. And while it may be tempting to wash it down with milk, don’t. Doing so erases any of the antioxidant benefits you may gain from the chocolate!
- Top with fresh fruit like raspberries
- Eat with a side of almonds
Why it’s a healthy choice: Did you know dark chocolate can boost endorphins and serotonin levels? If you want to feel happier, grab a 1-ounce piece of dark chocolate and savor it. Chocolate is also high in magnesium, which can help ease cramps.
5. Fresh fruit
You’ve heard the rule since you were a kid: Eat your fruits and veggies.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends between five to nine servings. The best part of keeping fresh fruit on hand is that most of it doesn’t need refrigeration. Think of all the produce you see out in the store that isn’t in the cold section. Kiwis, bananas, and oranges are a few healthful options that are easy to carry and snack on. Whether you like tart or sweet tastes, there’s a powerhouse of vitamins and antioxidants in most fruits.
- Make a fruit salad
- Blend into a smoothie
- Wash and eat
Why it’s a healthy choice: A diet filled with fruit may reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Fruits like kiwi and oranges are packed with vitamin C, a necessity for keeping a healthy immune system. Bananas are chock full of potassium, also known as the “good salt”. Potassium is a key player in keeping your body’s chemical and electrolyte processes balanced.
This delightfully creamy, thick spread is made of chickpeas and other heart-healthy ingredients like olive oil. Plus, it’s way healthier than those sodium-filled chips and dip that you might be tempted to chow down on in the break room.
- Pair with whole grain crackers
- Dip with carrots and celery
Why it’s a healthy choice: This Mediterranean diet staple is full of phosphorus, protein, and fiber. We need protein and fiber to keep us full longer, and phosphorus is known to help build strong teeth and bones. It’s surprisingly easy to make hummus at home, so if you have the time, toss chickpeas, tahini, fresh garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender. Start with less liquid than you might think, and add to it if needed.
7. Dried fruit
If you’re not a fan of toting around fresh fruit, consider dried fruit for an alternative. Whether you eat it straight from the bag or create your own trail mix, dried fruit is another easy, healthy snack for work. The sugar content tends to be high in dried fruits, so a smaller portion will spike your sugar levels faster than fresh fruit. Moderation is key with these little fruity health gems.
- Freeze-dried “chips” like apples or strawberries
- Create a trail mix with nuts
- Add to salads
Why it’s a healthy choice: The fiber count is high in dried fruits, and a 2005 study found the antioxidant levels in dried fruit vs. fresh fruit for some varieties is actually higher in dried ones. Figs and dried plums are the best choices for the most antioxidant benefits. Other amazing benefits of dried fruit? It reduces the risk of disease, keeps you satiated, and boosts colon health. Plus, most are full of iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium — all crucial nutrients for the human body.
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand Wherever You Go
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. It honestly just takes a little more thought and pre-planning. With our list of healthy snacks for work, we hope you’ll find a satisfying go-to snack that leaves you feeling healthier.
You don’t have to limit these snacks to the office, either.
Throw one of these healthy options in a gym bag or your purse for when snack attacks happen. Whether you're waiting too long at the doctor's office or you're stuck in traffic, you’ll appreciate having that “emergency snack” on you at all times. You're less likely to overindulge if you have a filling snack to hold you over until your next meal.
What are your favorite healthy snacks for work? Share in the comments below and inspire fellow readers with your healthy snack ideas!