Long days in the office mean less time eating full meals and more time trying to find snacks to satisfy your hunger. While making sure to eat full meals is important for staying healthy, there are snacks you can munch on without worrying about the health effects. Here, Amanda Foti, registered dietitian for Selvera, shares the six best foods and portion sizes for an afternoon snack at your desk.
Salty, crunchy and packed with protein, edamame is just 100 calories per serving and you get 14 satiating grams of protein! Dried edamame is a lower-calorie alternative to nuts, which we often over-snack on. Aim to eat only a fourth of a cup.
We often mistake thirst for hunger, so before you look for a snack, try sipping on some water first. Your desire for food could just be your body telling you you’re dehydrated. If you’re still looking to munch, try chewing on a piece of gum, which will also keep you focused. You should be drinking anywhere from 48 to 64 ounces of water a day.
15 grams of protein will chase away your hunger pains and hold you over until dinner, while the sweet and savory flavors are enough to get your mind off of the office candy bowl. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to six ounces of Greek yogurt for a new burst of flavor.
Afternoon snacks are often associated with grazing behavior, so pick something without all the added sugar and/or fat and relatively low in calories. Grapes also contribute to hydration, so they’re a sure win! Eat about one cup of grapes to keep the calories low and the benefits high.
Did you know popcorn is a whole grain and a great source of fiber? If your hunger is for a salty crunch in the afternoon, opt for an air-popped 100-calorie bag of popcorn or three cups of air-popped popcorn to control portion sizes and satisfy your craving in a much healthier way than chips.
When times get hectic and your meetings are back to back, you may not have time for a lunch, but you want to avoid skipping a meal. Having an “emergency bar” on you is the perfect solution. Look for at least 10 grams of protein, less than seven grams of sugar and around 200 calories for the best option.
What You Shouldn’t Eat
Foti also fills us in on the three foods that you may think are good to snack on, like granola, multigrain crackers and veggie sticks, but are actually terrible. Here’s why:
Packaged varieties of granola are typically high in fat, sugar, and calories for a small portion. One way to avoid this is to skip the store-bought granola and make your own or choose oatmeal instead.
“Multigrain” crackers mean a variety of grains and not all whole grains, which is what is healthy for you. Instead, look for 100-percent whole grain flour as the first ingredient to get the biggest fiber boost in your snack.
As for veggie sticks, Foti says that these “veggie fakers” hide behind vegetable powders that are added to these products, not real vegetables, so they do not provide the same nutritional value.