Eating healthy at work can be a challenging task for anyone, with hours away from home leading to a reliance on takeaway options or sugary or high fat snacks from the vending machine. But by planning and preparing some healthy snacks for work, it can be easier to make more nutritious choices throughout the day. Here are 20 of the best options for healthy snacks in the office.
First, what makes a healthy snack for work?
Snacking between meals can help to reduce cravings and reduce overeating at main meals, but it is important to choose the right snacks. A healthy snack should contain protein – important for muscle growth and repair but is also satiating, meaning it will keep you feeling full for longer. It should also contain healthy fats and some fibre – great for gut health and overall health, and keeping you satisfied until the next meal. A little bit of colour also goes a long way – this means adding fruit or vegetables to your snack to add flavour and the micronutrients your body needs! If you’re someone who works in an active job (such as landscaping or other trades), you might need larger portion sizes, or even a little more carbohydrate in a snack than a person who works in a sedentary job.
How often should I be snacking?
You might also wonder what’s normal when it comes to snacking, should you snack once a day or is three times a day better? The answer here is that it really depends on the individual. A snack is what you are consuming outside of your 2-3 larger main meals, so this includes drinks such as coffee and tea as well.
If you’re in a job that requires a lot of movement or you’re exercising before or after work, then you might find you need multiple snacks to help satisfy your appetite and support your energy needs. Depending on how long there is between your main meals, a pre-workout and post-workout snack might be suitable.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who is less active or is sedentary throughout the day at work, 1-2 snacks a day might be more appropriate for your energy requirements.
We know that when it comes to healthy snack it’s easier said than done, so we’ve compiled a list for you of all of our favourite work snacks to help take the guess work out of healthy snacking!
Want more? Read why snacks are the key to weight loss success.
What are some healthy work snack ideas?
1. Greek yoghurt with toppings
Unsweetened Greek yoghurt is a deliciously healthy snack. It’s high in protein to help keep you feeling full for longer, and is also a source of calcium and probiotics. To make this a complete snack, add your choice of toppings on top! We recommend adding fruit for their vitamin content and for the sweetness, and also a healthy fat to assist stabilising blood sugar levels.
- Flavour combos include:
- Raspberries and macadamia
- Blueberries and walnuts
- Mixed berries and chia seeds
- Sliced banana and almonds
You can make this snack in advance, layering the ingredients together in a small container and storing it in the fridge at work. If you don’t have time to prepare this at home, it’s an easy snack you can pick up on a quick dash to the grocery store. Simply purchase a small single-serve tub of Greek yoghurt, a punnet of berries and some nuts to top it off.
How to add more kJ for the active person: A small handful of granola and drizzle of honey are a great way to add extra energy for the active person, making this a suitable pre-workout snack at the end of a long work day.
2. Wholegrain crackers or rice cakes with toppings
Wholegrain crackers or rice crackers are the perfect vessel for tasty, nutritious toppings. Some of our favourites are Ryevitas or Vitawheats. Wholegrains are a key component of a healthy diet, providing valuable micronutrients and supporting gut health. Pairing these with protein and healthy fats creates a filling and healthy snack to sustain your concentration and productivity at work.
- Topping combos include:
- Hommus and sliced cucumber
- Low fat ricotta and sliced tomato
- Avocado with lemon and a little salt and pepper
- Tinned tuna with cucumber slices
- Natural peanut butter, sliced strawberries and cinnamon
Crispbreads or crackers with toppings are an easy option to pack with you for a work snack. Simply slice your topping ingredients and place in a small container, then wrap your crackers in glad wrap or in a container and assemble the toppings while you’re at work to prevent the crackers from going soggy.
How to add more kJ for the active person: If you have higher energy requirements, use these topping ideas to top a slice of sourdough or wholegrain toast instead.
3. Mezze plate
A mini mezze plate is a great way to eat a variety of nutrients in one go, and also satisfy cravings with the one meal. You can have a combination of sweet, savoury and salty options in the one snack! Sound too good to be true? Don’t be worried about this being too big to be a snack, we bulk out the mezze plate with lots of vegetables as they are low in energy but high in fibre so keep you full without overdoing it.
- We recommend plating a mezze plate with a source of protein, a source of healthy fats and some colour (vegetables or fruit). Here are some combos to try:
- A boiled egg, sliced cheese, carrots with hommus and a few nuts
- Sliced ham off the bone, sliced cheese, baby qukes (cucumbers), tzatziki and a few olives
- ½ avocado with cherry tomatoes, olives and bocconcini
- Tasty cheese, apple slices, walnuts and a square of dark chocolate
It might sound like a bit of work to put this together in the office, which is why we recommend prepping it in advance! Simply place your ingredients into a container the night before and store it in the fridge at work. You can eat it from the container or arrange on a plate if you choose.
How to add more kJ for the active person: adding wholegrain crackers, pita bread or a slice of sourdough is an easy way to boost the kJ content of this snack and make it a substantial pre-workout snack in the afternoon.
4. Protein smoothie
If you have a Nutribullet style blender at home you can make smoothies in advance, and bring them to work for a healthy snack. Homemade smoothies are often lower in energy and sugar compared to a store or café-bought smoothie. It’s also a really easy way to sneak in fruit and vegetables into your work day to keep you feeling energised and healthy.
- Our easy protein smoothie formula combines protein, healthy fats and colour into one easy to drink vessel. Here are some flavour combinations to try:
- Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries, a few macadamias, coconut water and plain Greek yoghurt
- Blueberries, walnuts, coconut water, plain Greek yoghurt
- Mixed berries with chia seeds, milk and plain Greek yoghurt
- Diced mango, dried coconut, milk and plain Greek yoghurt
- Handful of baby spinach with diced mango, chia seeds, coconut water and plain Greek yoghurt
Homemade smoothies are best consumed as soon as possible – prepare yours the night before work in a reusable cup or the cup from your blender, and store in the work fridge until ready to consume. A tip is to place all the dry ingredients in a zip lock bag to freeze and in the morning all you need to do is empty the ingredients into a blender with the liquid and yoghurt. This will save you plenty of time in the morning.
How to add more kJ for the active person: Add extra ingredients such as rolled oats, banana, dates or honey to boost the energy content. Smoothies can be a suitable pre-workout or post-workout snack.
I don’t have time to prepare snacks, what about pre-made options?
1. Trail mix and fruit
Trail mix is an easy snack to store at work for when you need an emergency energy boost. Full of healthy fats and fibre, trail mix will help to boost your concentration in the afternoon and fight off the 3pm energy slump. Pair with a piece of fruit to also boost your vitamin intake to keep you feeling healthy.
2. Roasted chickpeas and fruit
Roasted chickpeas are another easy snack to store at work so you have an emergency snack option on hand at all times. They’re now easily available in most grocery stores and come in a range of flavours so are a tasty and healthier replacement for packets of chips. Pair with a piece of fruit to make this another satisfying snack.
3. Air popped popcorn and fruit
You might not think of popcorn as being a healthy snack, but we aren’t talking about the butter-coated cinema popcorn here! Air popped popcorn packets are easy to source from grocery stores, are shelf stable so can be kept in your desk at work for when you need an emergency snack, and actually count toward your wholegrain food intake! Air popped popcorn is relatively low in energy so we recommend pairing this with fruit or a small handful of nuts to keep you satisfied.
4. Pre-chopped vegetable sticks with dip
Vegetables are absolutely key in a healthy diet but are often under-consumed by most people if you are trying to squeeze all of your vegetables in at dinner time only. Eating vegetables with your snacks makes it a lot easier to meet your vegetable quota. They are also high in fibre to support gut health and keep you feeling full and satisfied through the work day. Pair them with a high protein dip such as hommus or tzatziki and you’ve got yourself a very healthy and satisfying snack! Most grocery stores now sell pre-chopped vegetable sticks in their convenience meals or salad section. Simply pair with individually packed dip tubs also available in grocery stores.
Want more? Read our guide to eating healthy at work!