Days at the office are long, and hunger can strike at the most inconvenient times. If your stomach is grumbling just hours after breakfast or you feel like dinner is too far away, it's important to eat a snack. Snacking the right way with healthy fats, light protein, high fiber and appropriate portion sizes can keep you energized and focused — plus it can help promote weight loss.
But the unhealthy junk-food options in most vending machines and office break rooms aren't always the best solution for those workday bouts of hunger. Forget the candy, potato chips and sad desk snacks and turn instead to these recipes: They're nutritious and simple enough to make at your desk or in the shared office kitchen. Now healthy snacking can be as integral to your daily routine as checking your email.
1. Mini Banana-Almond Butter Sandwiches
There are few snacks cuter and more convenient than these banana-and-nut butter mini sandwiches. Bananas should be a kitchen staple both at home and in the office. They're filled with fiber, potassium and vitamins C and B-6. And while it's more likely that you have peanut butter than almond butter in your work fridge, it might be time to invest in a jar of the almond variety. High-quality almond butter without added sweeteners is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and vitamin E. Combine these two powerhouse ingredients into easy-to-make mini sandwiches for a snack that's as 'grammable as it is delicious.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Mini Banana-Almond Butter Sandwiches
2. Avocado Tartare on Sesame Rice Crackers
When it comes to snacking, satisfaction is everything. And nothing hits the spot quite like the rich creamy goodness of an avocado. Yes, avocados contain fat, which is why limiting your serving size of the green fruit is important. These avocado "tartare" crackers are a great way to keep your portion size in check while still enjoying all of that nutrient-rich, healthy unsaturated fat. Served on a light and crispy sesame cracker with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, this snack has all the texture and flavor you could ever want.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Avocado Tartare on Sesame Rice Crackers
3. Goji Berry, Almond and Cacao Trail Mix
If your office vending machine doesn't supply goji berries (ours doesn't), it's worth going out of your way to buy a pack and keep them at your desk. Studies show that goji berries can up your energy levels while lowering fatigue and stress — and if there's anything we need from our snacks while at the office, it's that. And as if feeling great wasn't reason enough to make this trail mix, it doesn't end there: Goji berries can improve eye health, reduce the damage done from UV radiation and protect against the development of cancer. Add some heart-healthy cacao nibs and protein-packed almonds to the mix and you've got yourself a low-calorie, zero-prep superfood snack.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Goji Berry, Almond and Cacao Trail Mix
4. Sriracha Popcorn
Plain popcorn is a high-fiber and antioxidant-rich food. Plus, it's low in calories and (assuming you're not drenching it in butter) fat-free. Tossing the popped kernels in a small amount of olive oil can actually add to the nutritional value of this basic snack — given that olive oil is loaded with antioxidants that help protect the heart and blood cells from damage — and adding a small amount of Sriracha hot sauce can help curb appetite and aid in weight loss. Add as much spice as your heart desires, it will make for a much more satisfying snack that you'll likely eat less of.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Sriracha Popcorn
5. Chopped Mango With Chili, Lime and Salt
In case you needed a reason to eat fruit as delicious as mango, know that it's packed with fiber, vitamin A and folic acid. And although they are wonderful on their own, if you've ever had fruit from a street cart in Mexico or Los Angeles, you know that mangoes taste even better when sprinkled with hot chili powder, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of salt. And because spice can curb hunger, adding that cayenne can help you lose weight even while you're seated at your desk.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Chopped Mango With Chili, Lime and Salt
6. Matcha Latte With Almond Milk and Honey
You don't need any fancy equipment to make this simple, antioxidant-packed drink. If you can't find a whisk in the office break room, grab a fork to stir this delicious creamy tea concoction of matcha powder, almond milk and honey. Matcha (or Japanese green tea powder) is filled with antioxidants, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K along with a bit of caffeine to help perk you up in the afternoon, and its health benefits make it a superior alternative to that afternoon cup of coffee. If you're new to matcha, stock up online at DoMatcha.com.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Matcha Latte With Almond Milk and Honey
7. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Believe it or not, chocolate can be part of a healthy diet. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that dark chocolate can actual lower blood pressure. The key is limiting portion size and making sure you're only using chocolate with a high cacao percentage. (The higher the cacao, the less sugar in the chocolate.) Eating too much sugar at work can cause your blood sugar to crash, making it hard to focus and stay alert. Dipping antioxidant- and fiber-rich strawberries <ahref="http: www.livestrong.com="" article="" 115553-health-benefits-strawberries-blueberries-="" "=""> </ahref="http:>into dark chocolate — which you can melt quickly in the office microwave — gives the fruit a thin layer of chocolate that will satisfy without spiking your blood sugar.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
8. Edamame With Soy and Sesame
Edamame is loaded with protein, which helps keep your energy levels up through those long afternoon meetings. This low-calorie snack couldn't be easier to make in the office microwave or more fun to eat at your desk! Drizzle the warm edamame pods with trans fat-free sesame oil and soy sauce before sprinkling sesame seeds over the beans. The seeds give the snack added crunch along with B vitamins, extra protein and healthy unsaturated fat.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Edamame With Soy and Sesame
9. Parmesan-Stuffed Dates
When that hankering for something sweet arrives in the middle of the afternoon, resist the urge to head to the vending machine for candy. Dates are an all-natural, potassium-filled way to satisfy that sweet tooth — and they don't need refrigeration. What's more, they're packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals that help promote cardiovascular health. Stuffing them with Parmesan cheese ups the umami factor, and adds calcium and protein to the scrumptious snack.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Parmesan-Stuffed Dates
10. Nori-Wrapped Avocado
We can't seem to get enough of avocados, and neither should you. Even though they are nutritious and delicious on their own, wrapping slices of them in crispy nori (or seaweed) gives this snack added nutritional value along with a wonderful crunchy-and-creamy texture. Nori contains vitamins and minerals, including iodine, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron and folic acid. A 1993 article in the Journal of Applied Psycology reports that nori is also high in dietary fiber, zinc, copper and selenium. And if you close your eyes and pretend while eating this treat, you may even be transported from your office to the sushi bar.
Recipe & Nutritional Info: Nori-Wrapped Avocado
What Do YOU Think?
Do you snack while at work? Do you find yourself eating unhealthy snacks at the office? Are you going to try some of these easy-to-assemble, healthful office snack recipes? Let us know in the comments!