Americans love to snack. Whether we snack for hunger, boredom or just a craving, we are snacking more now than ever before. Research shows that 91% of adults snack at least once a day and almost 50% of Americans replace meals with snacks at least 3-4 times a week.
Clearly, snacking is a trend. But what does that mean for your health? The most commonly consumed snacks are highly processed, with little to no nutritional benefit – chips, candy, etc. Even snacks that are touted as being healthy (e.g. granola bars or “veggie” chips) are really just candy bars or potato chips in disguise. It’s also easy to go down the rabbit hole of grabbing a bag of chips and typing away at your computer before realizing the entire bag is empty.
The good news is that you can snack in a healthy way, enjoy what you’re eating, and stay properly energized throughout the day with the right choices and habits.
Snacking in a healthy way is something we’ve perfected in our own office at Zesty. Despite being in the business of corporate catering, most of us need a little fuel between our office lunches and dinners. To figure out the best way to do this, we’ve started stocking our own shelves with a delicious array of tasty, wholesome snacks. And we’ve all reaped the benefits.
Our pantry is packed full of snacks that are made with real ingredients, sourced from local vendors, and are always changing to give us variety and reflect seasonality. I love popping into the kitchen between meetings and checking out what’s new in our snack stash.
Here are my favorite Zesty dietitian-approved office snacks, whether you’re in the mood for something savory, salty, or sweet.
- Spicy Avocado
- Take half of an avocado, top with a sliced hard-boiled egg and drizzle with hot sauce or cayenne pepper. In addition to the rich nutrient profile of avocados themselves, people who eat avocados consume more fiber, potassium and vitamins K & E. Eating more avocados = a healthier you.
- Greek-Style Cottage Cheese
- Add olives, halved cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper to a cup of cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is low in calories and rich in protein, calcium and other nutrients, and the combination of heart-healthy fats from the olives and nutrients such as beta-carotene found in tomatoes make this a super-star snack.
- Kale Chips
- For an easy grab-n-go option, try Rhythm kale chips. Kale doesn’t only have to go in a salad. Kale chips are crispy, crunchy, and salty, while still providing all the nutrients that have made this super-food so popular over the last decade.
- Funny Farm Foods make a delicious, individually packaged white goat cheddar jalapeño popcorn. You get the crunch and satisfaction you crave from chips plus a health benefit. Popcorn is a whole grain rich in Bb vitamins and fiber.
- Crackers + Hummus
- Look for whole grain crackers or chips like these Way Better Sweet potato chips and dip into an individually portioned cup of hummus.
- Fruit + Nuts
- My most recent favorite is a fresh apricot with a handful of pistachios. This snack is simple and satisfying, and the fiber in the fruit combined with the fat and protein in pistachios makes for a satisfying office snack to prevent an afternoon crash.
- Yogurt, Berries + Coconut
- Combine Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries and coconut chips for the perfect sweet and satisfying treat.
- Yes, you read that right. Even dietitians enjoy chocolate. The key is eating it in small amounts and selecting sweet treats made from real ingredients. If the label contains less than 5 ingredients and you can pronounce every one, you’re off to a good start. My favorites are OCHO coconut minis and UnReal dark chocolate peanut butter cups – both companies are committed to providing sustainable sweets that aren’t made with artificial ingredients.
Snacking right depends both on what you eat, and how you eat it. Snacking should be a bridge to get you between meals so you don’t approach your next office lunch ravenous. With the right fuel, you can make smart decisions and stay productive throughout the day.
It’s also important to stay mindful when you snack. Try to take a break, eat at the kitchen table or in a break-room, and take your eyes away from your computer screen. You’ll enjoy the food more and start to see snacking in a new light.
What’s your favorite office snack?