Depending on your line of work, you may find it hard to eat throughout the day. With proper fuel, being productive and focused at work is much easier. If you don’t have time to eat a full meal, try to keep healthy snacks close by so you can grab something nutritious while working. Keep reading to learn about healthy office snacks to help you feel energized.
Regularly eating throughout the day helps you maintain consistent energy levels so you can be productive at work.
If you can’t find time to eat a full meal, try to pack nutritious and enjoyable snacks that are quick to eat.
A well-balanced snack should contain at least two food groups, and we recommend choosing a protein and a carbohydrate for quick energy.
Food provides energy
Eating regular meals throughout the day gives you the energy to function and be productive at work. However, eating can be challenging if last-minute work demands and unexpected meetings disrupt your schedule. Instead of feeling bright-eyed and ready to work, you may feel sluggish and unproductive from lacking energy.
Your body will tell you when it needs fuel. Other signs that you aren’t eating enough include:
- A growling stomach
- Hunger pangs
- Feeling cold
If you aren’t eating enough at work, it may be harder for you to focus. Simple tasks that generally take fifteen minutes can take twice as long, which isn’t a productive use of your time. You can try eating nutrient-dense snacks every few hours to counteract the energy slump.
Healthy office snacks
A nutritionally balanced snack should include at least two food groups: we recommend picking protein-rich foods, as well as a source of fiber. These nutrients are digested slowly, which helps you feel full longer after eating.
1. Unsalted trail mix
Mixed nuts are rich in energy and fiber and contain some protein. Additionally, they’re high in healthy fats that support cardiovascular health and help you feel full after eating. They’re also non-perishable and easy to store at work. Aim to eat a handful, or approximately half a cup, of nuts daily for good health.
2. Fruit cups
Fruits naturally contain sugar molecules called glucose, which are your body’s preferred energy source. Eating a fruit cup can help you feel more alert if you're feeling sluggish and tired. Try to pick a brand that uses water in its product instead of fruit juice to keep your refined sugar intake low.
Popcorn is rich in fiber and is a very healthy snack option. It is very lean when air-popped, and two cups is an appropriate serving size for an adult. Add flavor to your popcorn by dressing it with olive oil and garlic powder, or keep it simple with a pinch of salt.
4. Vegetables and hummus
Fresh vegetable sticks are hydrating and crunchy and pair perfectly with a hummus dip. Get creative when picking out your vegetables, and add as much variety as possible. Every vegetable offers unique health benefits, and mixing up your snack choices increases the diversity of your nutritional intake.
5. Yogurt cup
All yogurts contain carbohydrates, which provide energy, and Greek yogurt is exceptionally high in protein. It’s also cold and refreshing, which may increase your alertness if you’re sensitive to food temperatures. Jazz up your yogurt by adding unsweetened coconut flakes and freshly cut pineapple.
Ideally, you should eat most of your food versus drinking it to get as much fiber as possible. However, an occasional blended smoothie is okay to consume, especially if you add nutritious ingredients. An easy smoothie you can make uses strawberries, spinach, Greek yogurt, hemp hearts, and a spoonful of almond butter.
7. Oatmeal energy balls
Most no-bake energy balls include oats, ground cinnamon, dried fruit, ground flaxseeds, chocolate chips, and runny nut butter. They are energy-dense, and one or two servings are enough for most people. The mild sweetness pairs perfectly with a warm cup of tea.
8. Quinoa salad with mint
Make a batch of quinoa salad with your favorite vegetables at the start of the week. Add freshly cut mint (and other fresh herbs if you want) for a refreshing zing of flavor. Quinoa is rich in fiber and contains a small amount of protein, and you can serve yourself a bowl of this salad whenever you need an easy snack.
9. Banana wrap
A banana wrap is a classic snack because it’s simple to make and easy to digest. Make a banana wrap using whole-grain tortilla bread, peanut butter, and fresh banana slices. Sprinkle ground cinnamon for extra flavor.
Drinking enough water is vital for maintaining your energy levels throughout the day. Although bottomless coffee cups may sound like a good idea, regular water or herbal teas are a better option to avoid consuming too much caffeine.
If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, add fresh fruits and herbs to add flavor naturally. Popular combinations include lemon slices with ginger, strawberries with basil, and cucumber with mint.
Eat when you’re hungry
Try to eat as soon as your body tells you it’s hungry. Ignoring the signs of hunger can make it harder to tune into your fullness cues, and you may find it harder to recognize when you’ve had enough food. People who struggle to identify their hunger and fullness cues are likelier to overeat at meals, which can trigger an emotional cycle with food.
Keep non-perishables at your desk
Non-perishable items are shelf-stable and can be stored at your desk. Keep whole-grain crackers on hand, trail mix, and small tuna cans for a quick and easy snack. Remember to restock your items so you always have energizing snacks available at work.
- USDA. MyPlate.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety.
- Stat Pearls Publishing. High Fiber Diet.
- BMJ Open. 'Am I Really Hungry?' A Qualitative Exploration of Patients' Experience, Adherence, and Behavior Change During Hunger Training.