It’s 3 pm, and the crash begins. You start feeling lethargic and irritable, while the ‘hangry’ monster in you slowly starts surfacing. And since the stomach can be a tough organ to calm especially when it comes to food, you soon find yourself hovering over the bowl of complimentary candy on the office reception desk, and grabbing a large-sized coffee on your way back to your seat.
It happens to the best of us. It’s understandably hard to snack right and healthy when you’re on the go, and no one understands this better than nutritionists. So convince yourself to let the sugar and caffeine go; they will only send you further down the vicious crash-and-burn cycle. Instead, consider these healthy, delicious snacks that earn a huge thumbs-up from nutritionists around the world.
1. Roasted Chickpeas
Nothing packs in a more satisfying punch of protein and fiber than garbanzo beans often termed as chickpeas. 1 cup of boiled or cooked garbanzo beans (without salt) gives you 14.5 grams of protein along with 12.5 grams of dietary fiber.1 Because fiber takes so long to digest, it stays in your tummy for longer while making it work harder. This will not only keep you full for long but will also act like a garbage truck, transporting all the toxins inside your tummy out of your system when your body finally excretes it. Plus you’ll get a long-lasting energy boost of 269 kilocalories while giving your body a healthy dose of essential nutrients like iron, zinc, phosphorus, and B vitamins.2 How great is that?
How to make: Drain your garbanzo beans and pat dry with a paper towel. Roast them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes till they turn brown and crispy. Once out of the oven, flavor them with your favorite seasoning. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice, give them a rub with some pepper or herbs, or even sprinkle them over with some paprika if you prefer something spicier. Return to the oven and allow them to bake for 15 more minutes till the beans absorb all the flavors. Store in an airtight container and enjoy whenever your tummy starts rumbling!
2. Nut Butter and Banana on Bread
This snack tastes like a childhood dream coming alive and is a real treat to your taste buds. Yet, it gives you a great energy rush without the empty sugar calories, that will hold you well until it’s time for lunch.
Whether you use peanuts or almonds to make your own nut butter, nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Bananas are loaded with important nutrients like potassium and magnesium and are full of antioxidants that are, once, again, great for your overall health. Plus, bananas contain pectin and resistant starch – two compounds that control your blood sugar and keep your digestive health in tip-top shape. For this reason, this snack also makes for a great post-lunch snack, especially if you’re the kind who hits the gym after work.
Eat this with whole grain bread for an extra dose of fiber and your appetite will be well satisfied.
How to make: Toss in your almonds or peanuts (whatever you prefer) along with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil into a food processor. You may add a sprinkle of salt as well, though this is not necessary. Start your food processor and let it do its work until you get a grainy but creamy consistency. This becomes your homemade nut butter.
The next time you head to work, spread some of this onto some whole grain bread and top with a few slices of bananas.
3. Greek Yogurt Parfait
This snack is ideal for those who like to indulge their sweet tooth in the middle of the day. A 170 grams cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt gives you 17.3 grams of protein, along with essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.3 This by itself is not too sweet, but it does give you the complete freedom to play around with your favorite toppings. The combinations are endless! You can either sprinkle over some magnesium-rich almonds which also contain tyrosine that triggers the release of mood-uplifting dopamine levels. You could add a handful of blueberries or some dark chocolate shavings that are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Or, if you prefer, add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg!
How to make: Scoop some Greek yogurt into a mason jar and sprinkle over with toppings of your choice. Screw on the lid and take it to work! If you have a freezer in your workplace, be sure to put your jar of yogurt in it, this snack tastes even better when it’s chilled!
4. Avocados With Whole Wheat Crackers
Avocados have been in the spotlight for being a fruit that’s high in dietary fiber content. One cup of pureed avocado has approximately 16 grams of dietary fiber, which means it will prevent your tummy from emptying itself out faster.4 Avocados also contain healthy unsaturated fats that keep your heart healthy and strong. Therefore, they make a great substitute for foods that are high in saturated fat content. Pair some mashed avocado with whole grain crackers and you have yourself a well-balanced nutritious snack!
How to make: Scoop out the flesh of a ripe avocado and mash it well with the back of a spoon. Season with some salt and pepper. Spread this onto some whole wheat crackers and sandwich together. Carry them in an airtight box.
5. Strawberries And Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another great source of protein that will give you energy that can last you till your next meal. Topping it off with fresh strawberries will give your body a much-needed boost of vitamin C and antioxidants that don’t just boost your immunity but will also prevent your blood sugar from spiking. That way you don’t have to worry about sugar crashes and nasty hunger pangs.
How to make: Crumble some cottage cheese into a mason jar and throw in some chunks of freshly chopped strawberries. Screw on the lid and pop it in your bag to take with you!
Note: Since cottage cheese is bland, you can try sprinkling it over with some cinnamon to keep the flavors interesting.
|↑1, ↑2||Basic Report: 16057, Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑3||Basic Report: 01256, Yogurt, Greek, plain, nonfat. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Basic Report: 09038, Avocados, raw, California. United States Department of Agriculture.|