Does work have you feeling drained – and not just on Mondays?
Don’t you just love a good work-from-home snack? It’s is almost impossible to get through a full day at the office without feeling the urge to nibble — especially these days, when you can probably see your kitchen from your computer. Somehow, we still don’t seem have the time to eat a proper lunch, as we find ourselves strapped to our desks, rushing to meet deadlines before the kids get home.
Munching on healthy snacks can be a great way to stay fuelled and focused. But working from home, it’s all too easy to reach for instant-gratification treats that are high in sugar and fat.
So keep these naturally energy-boosting snacks near your desk for a healthy, tasty pick-me-up whenever the munchies strike as you work from your home.
1. Go nuts
With an established reputation as tiny nutritional powerhouses, nuts are stellar sources of protein and fibre, which work together for long-lasting energy release. Packed with heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, as well as vitamins and minerals, nuts been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and improve memory retainment. Almonds, walnuts and pistachios in particular also contain magnesium, a key nutrient that helps regulate blood cells. (The calories can add up, so keep your serving size to around 15 nuts.)
2. Take a caffeine break
There’s no denying the energetic kick-in-the-pants caffeine affords, but go for a latte or cappuccino instead of black coffee; the added dairy makes it a high-protein option. If you prefer to go easy on the java, have a cup of green tea instead. This alternative source of caffeine is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that improves mental alertness and combats weariness.
3. Chocolate? Yes, please!
But make it dark. There’s no better way to satisfy your sweet tooth than with a few squares of antioxidant-rich 70 percent (or higher) dark chocolate, which is said to boost focus and memory. Additionally, it’s good for heart health and lowers cholesterol. Sign. Us. Up.
4. Pick popcorn
No longer just a snack for the peckish while watching Netflix, popcorn makes for a satisfying alternative to potato chips, pretzels and crackers — when it’s not coated with butter and salt. Pop your own and lightly drizzle with olive oil and your favourite spice blend, or look for pre-popped bags that are low in calories and free of trans-fats and GMOs.
5. Do dairy
Cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese are full of amino acids – the building blocks of protein – that cut hunger, boost metabolism and build muscles. They’re also low-glycaemic index (GI) carbs, which means the sugars break down slowly to keep the energy flowing. Packed with good-for-your-gut bacteria, calcium and vitamins, yogurt is a solid snack choice; a single serving of Greek yogurt is equivalent to a 7-ounce portion of skinless chicken breast! (Flavoured dairy has a higher sugar content, so if you prefer the taste, choose low-fat versions).
6. Grab some fruit
Besides drinking the optimal eight glasses of water a day, you’d be wise to consume foods with lots of H2O, too, like melons, berries and apples. (Just don’t shred them into smoothies; you lose a lot of the fibre when juicing fruit.) If you don’t have fresh fruit on hand, you can do unsweetened dried versions, like figs, dates and apricots.
7. Eat an avocado
Speaking of fruit, this one’s a rare example of a high-fat, low-GI food. It’s full of monounsaturated fat that helps lower blood cholesterol levels and benefits the heart. This fat is similar to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, which have been correlated with brain health, improved moods and greater energy. Sounds to us like like lunch is served!
8. Snack on seeds
Seeds are one of the best office (or now, work from home) snacks: Not only are they easy to store, they’re also a quiet snack your co-workers and co-habitators will appreciate. Pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds are especially rich in protein and fatty acids and can help to curb cravings. You can eat them straight from the packet; sprinkle smaller seeds, like hemp and ground flax, over your yogurt or salad.
9. Opt for oatmeal
Choose wholegrain or “pinhead” oats; they have a lower GI, which helps balance blood sugar levels. (Rolled oats, on the other hand, are cut thinner and processed, so the energy turnover rate is faster.) In the evening, you can make a jar of overnight oats for a ready-made breakfast in the morning. (Swirl in some chia seeds for a barely-detectable boost).
10. Get your granola on
This lip-smacking treat consists of oats and nuts that’s sweetened with honey and baked until it’s crisp and golden brown. It keeps well in your desk drawer for a quick and nutritious snack. You can eat it plain or add it to milk, your yogurt or salad (sounds weird but is super yummy). Look at labels for natural ingredients with no added refined sugars or preservatives, and crunch away!
Originally by Cheryl Leong, Simply Her, September 2014 / Last updated by Brooke Glassberg
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