Instead of gorging yourself on coffee and cookies during work, try the healthier option with these snacks
You eat a big breakfast and even a satisfying lunch, but it never fails that by 3 p.m. you're famished. Though the office vending machine, with all of its not-so-healthy options, may be good for a quick fix, a better long-term solution would be to stash away a few healthy snacks at your desk. But which ones?
"Focus on the kinds of snacks that are filling, with adequate amounts of protein, fibre and that are nutrient dense, in that they provide a lot of vitamins and minerals that are low in calories," said Lisa M. Davis, chief nutrition officer of Terra's Kitchen healthy food delivery service.
There are many options that fit those parameters, so to narrow the field Davis and other experts shared some of their top choices.
Healthy Snacks: Sweet Potato and Beetroot Chips PICTURE: Food Network
This is a great alternative to your garden-variety fried chips. Yes, those greasy little pieces of heaven are delicious, but all of the excess salt, fat and sugar are no good. Instead, Davis recommends grain-free tortilla chips. "It's cool because people who are gluten-free, vegan or following a paleo diet could munch on these," Davis said. "They're crispy, tasty and go great with pico de gallo, salsa or just on their own." You can also try sweet potato and beetroot chips, which are another healthier option.
Healthy Snacks: Dark chocolate is better for your health, thanks to the antioxidants found in the cocoa PICTURE: Creative Commons
If you have a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is one of the healthiest ways to satisfy a midday craving. Studies have shown it can decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of death from a heart attack.
"Dark chocolate contains less added sugar than milk [chocolate] and it's also higher in antioxidants thanks to the cocoa," said Nichola Whitehead, a registered dietitian and a British food blogger.
You can nosh on a single square, but Whitehead is all for combining dark chocolate with cashews for a sweet and savoury treat filled with protein.
Red bell peppers
Healthy Snacks: Did you know that red bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges? PICTURE: Pexels.com
This low-calorie option is chock full of fibre, potassium and vitamins A and C. Red bell peppers are also pretty portable once you slice them up and put them into a resealable bag, but it's best to keep this office snack refrigerated.
"Most veggies can taste bitter or even a bit sour, but I love starting people off with red bell peppers because they're very sweet," said Ilana Muhlstein, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. "Not only do red bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges, they are also low in sugar."
Hummus and carrots
Healthy Snacks: Healthy Snacks Hummus with crudités Picture: Shaun Rankin
Like chips and salsa, carrots and hummus are a perfect match.
"Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are a great source of both fibre and protein to keep us fuller for longer, while carrots are not only rich in fibre but vitamin A, too, which is essential for healthy vision," Whitehead said. You can pack a zip-top bag full of baby carrots with your lunch, and if you have access to a refrigerator at work, keep a small container of hummus stored for daily use.