When hunger strikes in the middle of your work day, it’s important to keep in mind that not all office snacks are created equal. Eating nutritous snacks will help you to maintain energy throughout your work day. Choose the wrong snacks, such as sugar-laden foods filled with empty calories, and you’ll not only feel lethargic, you’ll reek havoc on your diet. Whether you’re reaching for a snack because you’re truly hungry or because you’re bored, you should make the most out of it. Consider keeping some of these nutritious foods–and great energy sources–around your office so you won’t be tempted by the treats in the vending machine.
Choose Foods with Protein
Most nutritionists will tell you that it’s a good idea to eat five to six small meals a day, each one of them containing a serving of protein. If you’re already eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, that leaves two snacks in your work day to consume protein. One great protein-filled office snack is nuts. Almonds make an especially healthy snack. Not only are they high in protein (with an ounce containing about 12 per cent of your daily protein intake), they’re a substantial source of healthy monounsaturated fat.
Another great source of protein is cheese. Stock the fridge in your break room with low-fat cheese sticks and cubes. In addition to your protein, you’ll obtain a decent serving of your daily calcium needs. If cheese doesn’t appeal to you, consider keeping the fridge stocked with 8 ounce milk cartons. With its combination of protein and carbohydrates, a class of milk is an energy powerhouse.
Choose Foods with Complex Carbohydrates
Eating protein is important, but it’s especially effective when eaten with a complex carbohydrate. Your energy will soar when you consume the two together. A sugary snack, such as a candy bar, will spike your blood sugar quickly. The spike is short lived, and afterwards you’ll be left feeling tired and unenergized. Conversely, consuming some lean protein with a complex carbohydrate will slowly break down and enter your blood stream, leaving your energy at a stable level for a couple of hours.
Fruits are great sources of complex carbohydrates. While eating any fruit is fine, berries are some of the best fruits out there. Raspberries, for instance, are a significant source of fiber. Along with blueberries, they are also an excellent source of antioxidants. However, when it comes to eating a snack, any form of fruit is a better alternative to packaged snacks.
Whole grains are another source of complex carbohydrates. When you’re choosing a grain for a snack, look for something labeled 100 per cent whole wheat.
Putting It All Together
So, essentially, the snacks that will provide you with the most energy are that ones that combine lean protein with complex carbohydrates. A little bit of healthy fat (such as the kind found in almonds and nut butters) is fine, too. An example of a great nutritious energizing snack is a handful of almonds with a cup of berries, or a medium sized apple with a handful of low fat cheese cubes.
Whatever you do, avoid foods with too much added sugar or too many man made ingredients.