The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Office Snacking
Picture this: It’s 5:00 p.m. on a Summer Friday at your office. A few diligent keyboards click away. Hunger pangs roll like tumbleweeds through the now empty valley of your stomach. Dinner is a speck on the horizon. In spite of having stuck to a healthy breakfast of antioxidant-rich mixed berries and a leafy-green-and-protein-rich salad, you saunter over to your only convenient access to sustenance: the vending machine. Here, the closest you will get to fresh produce is the Garden Salsa variety of chips or the “natural flavors” populating the gelatin fruit snacks on offer. According to New York City–based nutritionist Heather Bauer, office snacks no longer have to be so grim or so desperate. The dietary coach and founder of Bestowed—a subscription service of the healthiest prepackaged, single-serving foods on the market—spends her days combing the aisles of grocery stores and delivering curated findings to a checklist of supermodels and celebrities. But before you overhaul what you’re eating, she says, consider when and how much you’re consuming first. “When people start [snacking] all day it becomes a problem,” says Bauer of what she refers to as the “mindless munching” that’s often to blame for the occupational hazard of gaining five to ten pounds. Instead, a few simple strategies can keep you feeling satiated all day long and sticking to your nutritional goals. It starts with your morning. “People think they should have breakfast first thing, but your body isn’t hungry, you end up eating again once you get into the office,” setting off a pattern that can snowball your day. Instead, waking up with coffee or tea, then waiting until nine or ten o’clock for your first meal will give you a leg up on your afternoon cravings. Next comes four cups of water, followed closely by lunch at one or two in the afternoon. If possible, hold off on snacking until at least an hour after lunch to both allow your body time to digest and avoid forming the habit of needing something sweet immediately following your soup and salad. As for choosing the ultimate snack, Bauer’s criteria is straightforward: Treats that are organic, non-GMO, contain less than 180 calories, and are high in fiber and protein will help you stay full. For something sweet, she directs clients toward a fresh apple or orange, “What I call a hand fruit—one compact serving. In a perfect world, we’d have a garden
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growing in our office.” Beyond that, Greek yogurt will provide all of the benefits of protein and probiotics, while bars such as beet- and sweet-potato driven Veggie-Go’s will get you over the hump of pining for a cookie while fueling you with immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. In the realm of the savory, Allgood Provisions Trail Mix is a favorite, but the risk of accidentally consuming all of its multiple servings (which can add up to almost 1,000 calories) in one sitting can prove too tempting. In such cases, she recommends SunBiotics’s prepackaged handful of Probiotic Almonds or to-go packets of Justin’s Almond Butter spread over an apple or gluten-free crackers. Organic popcorn, Brussel Bytes, and Ips egg white–driven Protein Chips will satiate the urge to crunch. But nothing beats the iron-rich, low-calorie benefits of sustainably harvested Sea Snax seaweed. “They come in the classic sheets, a Bugle-like version called Chomperz, and in a stick form. My clients either love them or hate them.” An extra-long day may lend itself to a second treat, too. This time, “switch to liquid,” says Bauer, who reaches for gut-friendly bottles of GT’s Enlightened Kombucha when she tires of drinking water. “It’s tasty and makes you feel full.” A decaf coffee with almond milk or a scoop or two of Great Lakes Gelatin (a flavorless form of protein that dissolves without changing the texture of your beverage) will contribute to your energy and satiety. Consider snack time wrapped.