For many of us, working from home in 2020 was not without its difficulties: Increased fatigue, dog barking, and lack of time to oneself have changed the reality of work as we know it. And whether you were used to fancy office perks like endless free snacks or your eating habits were limited to a perfectly packed lunch box, the way we eat during working hours has changed too.
In some ways, working from home makes endless snacking easier, but if you make the wrong choice, you could find yourself grounded and forced to seek energy in the nearest bag of chips. To understand which foods help rather than harm us during the long days of remote work, we asked a handful of registered dietitians to share with us their wisdom on healthy eating and the foods they personally use and recommend when hunger strikes.
What is a good healthy snack? A good snack is tasty, filling and energizing, says dietitian Susie Finkel, founder of Well Digested Nutrition, about her philosophy on snacking.
From a nutritional standpoint, you should think of a snack as a minimum time because ideally it should contain protein, healthy fats and fiber, says Kelly McGrane, a registered dietitian who helps with the Lose! calorie counter app. These three nutrients are essential for a slow and steady release of energy. So instead of giving you a quick energy boost and leaving you hungry an hour later, a well-balanced snack will keep you full until your next meal.
Protein, fat and fiber are essential for feeling full, adds Monica Auslander Moreno, founder of Essence Nutrition, but many snacks on the market are carbohydrate-based, which without other nutrients can make you even hungrier than you were to begin with.
And another clue: Don’t choose snacks you don’t like just because you’ve heard they’re healthy, says Finkel, who notes that celery, despite its good reputation, has never done anything like that to her. The perfect snack satisfies your taste buds, quiets your hunger and gives you the energy to last a little longer until your next meal, she says.
Mr. Moreno recommends checking the added sugar on the product’s nutrition label. While many nutritious foods are naturally high in sugar (dried mangoes, for example), you should stick to snacks that contain little or no added sugar, which you can see by the clear labeling in the sugar section of food labels.
One more line of labels to check: Fiber. Fiber fills you up, helps balance blood sugar and boosts cholesterol metabolism, says Moreno. I like to look for a snack that contains at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
There’s no doubt that browsing snack options online can be exciting, but with the help of nutritionists, we’ve put together a list of their favorite healthy snacks on Amazon that are as delicious as they are nutritious.
Larabar Protein Bar
Mr. McGrane prefers these comfort bars because they’re made with a handful of recognizable ingredients and contain plant-based proteins that keep you feeling full longer. Chocolate almond butter brownie contains 4 grams of fiber, 8 grams of fat (only 1.5 grams of saturated fat), 11 grams of protein and only 2 grams of added sugar.
Icelandic dishes Skair traditional yogurt
There’s nothing innovative about eating yogurt as a snack, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. According to McGrane, the Skyr yogurt from Icelandic Provisions is their flavored yogurt because it’s slightly less acidic than other Icelandic brands, but is still high in protein and low in sugar. Blueberry flavor contains 15 grams of protein filling and only 6 grams of added sugar. McGrane recommends sprinkling some chia seeds or fresh berries on top to add fiber, making this a very complete snack.
Hippey Organic Chickpea Puffs Vegan White Cheddar
When that crunchy thirst comes, take it and you won’t be hungry an hour later. One serving of chickpea flour provides 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and only 0.5 grams of saturated fat, McGrane says.
Illuminated Bada Bob Bada Boom, 24-Pack
Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as someone who can nibble beans. But we’re here. These adorable snacks are filled with high-protein, high-fiber beans in three flavors: Barbecue with sea salt, sweet sriracha and mesquite. (There are also options for other fragrance blends and individual flavor packs). Don’t hit the small but mighty beans: Each 100-calorie serving of this snack contains 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Almonds coated with dark espresso chocolate
I challenge all chocolate lovers! They’re perfect for when you’re craving sweetness because they’re not too sweet, but have a rich, dark chocolate coating that makes them edible, says McGrane. Each 1 ounce serving contains 12 grams of fat (only 3 grams of saturated fat), 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and only 6 grams of total sugar.
Rhythm Superfoods Beetroot chips, pack of 4
For chip lovers looking for a healthier alternative, these dried beet chips offer a surprising amount of protein and fiber (4 and 7 grams, respectively) for such a modest load. The ingredient list of the snacks is impressive, as the only ingredient is organic beetroot – really!
Purified Snacks Bio dried fruit, pack of 4
Unlike many dried fruit snacks that contain a disappointing amount of added sugar, this product relies entirely on the natural sweetness of the fruit. If you crave sweet, any of these four flavors will do.
Chronology of Medjool’s organic production at Woodstock Farms
Finkel, who recommends pairing dates with peanut butter or nuts, loves these special dates for snacking. From a nutritional standpoint, macronutrient balance is key to the success of snacks, she says. Celery on its own is not very tasty, but in combination with peanut butter and raisins it becomes a delicious snack. The same goes for dates, so don’t be afraid to snack on two decent snacks that, when combined, prove to be a nutritious snack.
Wild Banana Salmon
One of the great advantages of working from home is that no colleague can smell what you are eating – so you can feel comfortable with that. According to Finkel, these salmon (or tuna) pouches are perfect for the lunch blues: Salmon contains 20 grams of protein per sachet and is delicious with crackers or vegetables.
Classic Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal cups with chia and flax.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own oatmeal mix, this is a great option, says McGrane. Each cup is filled with a roll of organic oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds and salt. So these oat cups are packed with essential minerals and are rich in fiber and protein. McGrane likes them without added sugar and recommends adding fresh or frozen berries for extra flavor and nutrients.
RX bar variety pack, 24-pack
The RX protein bars have built a real reputation thanks to their AB-free ingredient list. Each bar contains 12 grams of protein, with egg whites, dates and nuts at its core. Keep a few in your purse, desk drawer or car, as they will come in handy in an emergency when you need a snack.
Hemp harvest in Manitoba Yes! Bars
According to Finkel, it’s a good choice for nuts for which there are few bar options. Containing healthy fats, carbohydrate energy and 10 grams of protein, these handy bars will make you hungry and get you back into the fight with the world in no time.
Edamame dry roasted, 12-pack
It’s so easy to snack with the intention of eating only a handful of things, only to find out you accidentally ate multiple servings and your stomach hurts. With these individual packages of dry roasted edamame, you no longer have to guess at portions and can satisfy your salt cravings thanks to the simplicity of soy and salt.
88 acres of organic sunflower oil
Another nut-free option that makes snacking easy. This brand offers a host of unique sprays and bars (watermelon butter, anyone?) that Finkel says look like gourmet products. Single-serve snacks can be very helpful for those who feel overwhelmed by snacks or don’t have time to prepare something at home, she adds. In addition to individually packaged spreads that can be poured over almost anything, she says yogurt and applesauce cups, cheese sticks and bars are easy to take and combine without thinking too much about it.
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