If you eat an early lunch, odds are you need a little pick-me-up or hold over come mid-afternoon. There are plenty of tips for healthy, energizing snacks, but are you really going to eat “four whole grain crackers spread with one tablespoon of hummus?” No, you’re not.
Luckily, there are easier mid-day snacks to keep you going. Whether you like to plan ahead, or want something always on hand last-minute, here are some easy, healthy mid-day snack ideas that don’t require a lot of time to prepare while you’re at the office.
Plan Ahead Snacks
If you’re the plan ahead type, you can make these snacks the morning of or the weekend before so they’re ready to go as you head out the door. For even easier grab-and-go, portion these snacks into individual servings so you don’t have to worry about it before work.
Roasting whole chickpeas in the oven makes for a crispy snack. They’re also a great vehicle for a wide variety of seasonings and a much healthier alternative to chips.
To make your own DIY roasted chickpeas, thoroughly dry whole chickpeas then toss them in a healthy coating of olive oil. Spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until they’re golden brown. When you pull them out of the oven, toss them with whichever spices you like!
Olives & Cheese
Finger foods were meant for snacking, so why not bring your own snack box to work? Buy a block of cheese and dice it into cubes. Toss a few cheese cubes and olives into a container and you have your own go-to snack without running to the store. Buying a large block of cheese and bulk olives from the olive bar means you’ll have enough to make snack packs for the whole week.
No Bake Energy Bites
There are many variations for no-bake energy bites, but the basic idea is that it’s oats and a nut butter rolled into a ball with a few add-ins for flavor and nutrition. Once you find a base recipe you like, try switching out the nut butter and adding different add-ins for variety. Toss in things like coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips, and dried fruit for flavor and items like flax seeds and protein power for an extra nutritional boost.
Warning, these things can be deliciously addicting, so portion them into individual servings and only take one serving to work with you each day.
Keep in the Office Snacks
Some days, it’s a struggle to get out the door on time, let alone pack an extra snack. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a few healthy snacks at the office. These options are shelf stable and can be stashed in a cabinet or your desk until needed. (Try keeping them out of sight, like in a desk draw, so you’re not constantly tempted to graze.)
Who says oatmeal is only for breakfast. Buying a box of instant oatmeal packs and stashing them at work means you’ll always have a handy, healthy breakfast or midday snack when you need it. Just be sure you opt for a low-sugar variety.
Added bonus: Oatmeal is good for your cholesterol!
Popcorn is the perfect “mindless munch” snack without unconsciously consuming at lot of calories. The key is to buy microwave popcorn that isn’t covered in artificial butter. Instead, opt for a butter-free sea salt variety. Many natural microwave popcorns are fine, but check the ingredients to make sure there’s nothing additional or unexpected added.
Eat what you want then offer the rest for your co-workers. Just be careful not to burn the popcorn in the company microwave!
Raw nuts are a natural go-to for healthy snackers. Many nuts are high in protein and healthy fats, meaning you don’t need a lot to make you feel full. But eating the same type of nut every afternoon can get boring and make you tempted to deviate or just go hungry.
Try a healthy trail mix instead to keep the flavors interesting. Opt for one with healthy nuts and not a lot of added sugar (many pre-packaged trail mix have candy added). You’ll also want to keep an eye on the sodium content of store bought trail mix as a variety of salted nuts can drive up the overall sodium. For a more controlled option, buy your favorite healthy trail mix items in bulk and make your own at home then bring a bag to work.