Healthy Snacks to Keep at Your Desk

When the mid-day munchies hit, reach for a snack that will fill and fuel you.

February 16, 2021
reusable snack bag

Snack-Sized Stasher Bags

Looking for an alternative to plastic baggies for packing snacks and lunches? Stasher's food-grade, toxin-free silicone storage bags are perfect for the entire family.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

The office can be a labyrinth of temptations: donuts in the breakroom, birthday cakes for colleagues, the co-worker who loves baking and brings in all his goodies.

One way to avoid the inevitable unhealthy eating that comes with work is to keep a supply of healthy and filling snacks at your desk that you can tap when you need them. They also provide a great source of energy when you are lagging. These snack foods are both healthy and will keep fresh when placed in sealed containers. Having these treats on hand whether you are working from an office or at home can keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks and also get you up and moving, another important part of keeping healthy during your work day.

We asked Atlanta-based certified fitness coach Johnnie L. Perry for his go-to healthy snacks.

Keep These on Your Desk (Hermetically Sealed):

Of all the processed foods you will find at the gas station, beef jerky may be one of the best choices believes Registered Dietitian, Jessica Spiro. Jerky can be high in sodium so look for a low sodium option if available. Pair with plain or flavored almonds, mandarin oranges and a cup of hot tea. Jessica Lee Levings, MS, RDN also suggests that a cheese stick with a piece of fruit, a serving of beef jerky, and 5 whole grain crackers can create a balanced dinner.

Photo by: Holley Grainger

Holley Grainger

ADDITIVE-FREE JERKY

With the rise in protein-based diets like keto and paleo, there's definitely been a jerky explosion in recent years. An array of "craft" jerky companies have formed to address the need for a flavorful and healthy protein. Turkey jerky, venison jerky and even plant-based jerkies are springing up as people search for a protein-packed snack.

How to Make Turkey Jerky

Try this easy DIY jerky recipe.

Benefits:

— Helps you get daily protein requirements

— Helps you stabilize blood sugar

— Keeps you from grabbing junk food

Serving Size:

Depends on the type, but typically 1 ounce

Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Trail mix combines dried fruit, nuts and other ingredients for a healthy “on the go” snack.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX

Packaged trail mix you buy at the grocery store can be loaded with things you don't want, like added sugar, salt and preservatives as well as mix-ins like chocolate chips and candies that add empty calories. Make your own trail mix instead, and ramp up the nutritional value.

[almonds, cashews, walnuts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds]

Benefits:

— Helps lower cholesterol

— Makes you feel full throughout the day

— Gives you energy

Serving Size:

Handful

When the mid-day munchies hit, reach for a snack that will fill and fuel you.

ALMONDS

The perfect health food in so many ways, almonds are packed with vitamin E, magnesium and potassium and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) that can lead to heart problems. They contain calcium and phosphorus, which build strong, healthy bones.

Benefits:

— Gives you energy

— Makes you feel full throughout the day

— Helps improve brain function

Serving Size:

Handful

Kale and Roasted Chickpea Salad

Cook up this healthy, protein-rich treat.

ROASTED CHICKPEAS

Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are the building block of many healthy Mediterranean treats including hummus and falafel. They are delicious roasted, adding both fiber and protein to your diet. They also make a great addition to that salad bar salad you're eating at your desk.

Benefits:

— Good source of fiber

— Vegetarian-friendly source of protein

Serving Size:

1 cup

Photo by: Shutterstock / jianbing Lee

Shutterstock / jianbing Lee

DRIED APRICOTS

Apricots are packed with fiber, beta carotene and vitamins A and C. And the good news is that dried apricots are even more packed with beneficial nutrients like potassium, iron and calcium than fresh apricots. Dried fruit like apricots also contain more antioxidants than fresh fruit, per ounce. Just be aware that dried fruit can pack on the calories if you eat too much, and some dried fruits sold in the store even add sugar to this already sweet snack.

Benefits:

— Good source of fiber

— Good for those with high blood pressure

— Low-sodium snack

Serving Size:

1/4 cup

Winterbor, Redbor, Dwarf Curled Vates, Lacinato kale

‘Kale Blend’

Get your flavonoid-packed greens fresh from the windowsill with this hearty kale mix. The blend contains the classic varieties frilly ‘Winterbor,’ reddish-pink ‘Redbor,’ and blue ‘Dwarf Curled Vates.’ Heirloom ‘Lacinato’ kale, also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale, completes the mix.

Photo by: Burpee

Burpee

KALE CHIPS

One of the easiest snacks to make at home, kale chips are made with ordinary grocery store kale tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees. And what kale gains in flavor from roasting, it doesn't lose in nutrients. The fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C, calcium and potassium that make kale a nutrition guided missile are not lost when you roast it (unlike other foods like potato chips which are high in calories, fat and sodium). To save time, buy pre-washed bags of kale.

Kale Chips Are Nutritious-Meets-Delicious

Whip up this trendy, healthy snack with kale from your garden.

Benefits:

— High in vitamins C and K

— Loaded with antioxidants to help detoxify your system

Serving Size:

Approximately 10 chips

Snack the Rainbow

Snack the Rainbow

When it comes to eating healthy between meals, preparation is key. Having a variety of quick, wholesome snack options at the ready is critical, especially when the most tempting choices are often those that require minimal effort to prepare. Advice I give to my clients is to keep ingredients on hand that might be thought of as a deconstructed charcuterie board: washed and sliced vegetables such as radishes, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper; berries, grapes, apples, citrus, and other seasonal fruit that has been chopped, sliced, peeled, or washed; cheese that has been sliced or cubed; and at least a few palate-pleasing accompaniments like hummus, pesto, olives, nuts, and unsweetened dried fruit. Within this edible rainbow at your fingertips, every snacking session can be interesting, unique, and completely satisfying.

Photo by: Leesa Morales

Leesa Morales

Keep These Pairings in the Fridge:

A ready supply of pre-sliced or chopped veggies and an assortment of healthy options like hummus, nitrate-free turkey and guacamole can be the beginning of a great snack. Curate your fridge at home, or at work, with these tasty combos.

  • Celery Sticks + Nut Butter
  • Bell Pepper Slices + Hummus
  • Sliced Veggies + Guacamole Dip
  • Banana + Nut Butter
  • Sliced Tomatoes + Feta
  • Greek Yogurt + Berries
  • Turkey Slice(s) + Cucumber
  • Turkey Slice(s) + Spinach (Rolled Up)
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs + Cashews

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