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25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity

25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity

Snacks are awesome. They bridge the gaps between our meals, provide us a little mental reset, and can oftentimes lead to a healthier weight.

How does this magic work exactly? Well, let me tell you:

Incorporating snacks into your mid-morning and mid-afternoon can balance out your blood sugar, preventing those dreaded spikes and crashes. A proper snack can also lead to sustained energy by providing you with energy all day long.

Remember, food is fuel. So without adding gas to your tank, you will quickly run out leading to decreased productivity and a crabby mood.

What about the healthy weight you may ask? When you provide your body with proper fuel throughout the day, you don’t meet meal time with starvation. You have more control when you dinner plate lands on the table, leading to decreased portions and less chance of over-eating. In fact, oftentimes I recommend snacks to most of my nutrition clientele.

The perfect snack follows a simple formula: Protein + Produce. This will give you carbs for a quick energy bump combined with fiber and protein for sustaining that energy. This snack duo also lends itself to be quite portable. A no fuss approach to feeling better throughout the day is always welcome.

Here are some healthy snacks for work to sustain your energy, keep your focus locked in, and promote that healthy weight:

1. Cucumber Sandwiches

    Cucumber sandwiches follow that perfect snack combo of protein + produce. The light and refreshing cucumber “buns” are a great delivery system for the protein-rich turkey slices.

    Cucumbers are also a great source of hydration as they are made up of mostly water! And, yes, you can eat your water.

    ~ Get the recipe here!

    2. Tuna Salad Cucumbers

      Cucumbers again?! Yup, these little fruits (not even a veg) are so easy and friendly for all snackers.

      Creating open-faced tuna salad sandwiches is a great way to have snack that will keep you going until your next meal. The tuna provides you with healthy fats that pairs nicely with the crunch of the fibrous cucumber.

      ~ Get the recipe here!

      3. The Classic: Trail Mix

        This classic combination is a tried and true method of snacking for a reason. It’s super easy, fun to mix up, and provides a nutritious punch.

        Check out this list of some great trail mix variations and ideas! Be sure to go for low-sodium nuts and no sugar added dried fruits to keep unwanted empty calories at bay.

        ~ Get the recipe here!

        4. Apple Cookies

          You can call these dessert nachos or apple cookies. But either way they make one heck of a snack!

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          Easy to pack and prepare, these apple cookies are loaded with delicious fuel for your mid-morning pick-me-up. And as a bonus, these are very simple to customize to whatever flavor combinations you fancy!

          ~ Get the recipe here!

          5. Banana Hemp Seed Sushi

            Hemp seeds are great! In case you don’t know why, hemp seeds are loaded with vitamin E, iron, and healthy fats.

            Pair these little powerhouse seeds with the power of peanut butter and a nutrient dense banana, you have the perfect combination for a snack! Thinking back on perfect snack formula of protein + produce, this snack follows that to a T!

            ~ Get the recipe here!

            6. Almond Butter and Banana Open Sandwich

              Another classic as it should be; but with a twist. In order to save time and shave off a few extra calories, use your banana as your delivery system. Top it with extra goodies and eat with a fork and knife or dive in to make it finger food!

              This recipe is great to have all the ingredients for in your desk drawer!

              ~ Get the recipe here!

              7. Baba Ganoush

                Baba Ganoush is like hummus’s forgotten cousin. It’s delicious and in my book, doesn’t get enough recognition! This eggplant based dip is a great source of fiber, copper, and vitamin B. You can use carrot sticks or seeded crackers to much this perfect snack down!

                ~ Get the recipe here!

                8. Blueberry Pudding

                  Chia seeds are little protein packets. And when soaked, they make a delicious pudding.

                  Bump up that pudding with fresh fruit and you have the perfect sweet treat to keep you going until lunch-time!

                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                  9. Cowboy Caviar

                    Cowboy caviar is a typical Sunday football food, however, have you ever thought of making a little extra for the week’s snacks? With all the beans and veggies, it is loaded with sustaining energy.

                    Pack this in a small to-go container with your favorite chips and you are all set from lunch to dinner!

                    ~ Get the recipe here!

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                    10. Greek Yogurt & Crushed Almond Banana Popsicles

                      Greek yogurt and crushed almond banana popsicles are the perfect snack swap for when you are feeling something sweet. Much better for you than the vending machine but they are just as indulgent!

                      In this snack recipe, the Greek yogurt and almonds provide the protein that covers the banana (aka produce of course).

                      ~ Get the recipe here!

                      11. Roasted Garlic Kale Hummus

                        Hummus alone should be on everyones list of superfoods! And this one is blended with kale for an extra nutrition bump. The roasted garlic provides a great flavor without making it too spicy.

                        I highly recommend this hummus with your favorite whole grain crackers or cut veggies!

                        ~ Get the recipe here!

                        12. Avocado Deviled Eggs

                          Deviled eggs always feel so fancy to eat. Now add whipped avocado into the mixture and they are indulgent! Another great example of creating a snack that follows the winning formula of protein + produce.

                          As a bonus, the avocados provide a hearty dense of good for you fats and flavor!

                          ~ Get the recipe here!

                          13. Peach Caprese Skewers

                            This snack couldn’t be simpler to make and take! You can keep them in skewer form or throw all the ingredients into your Tupperware container to eat as a salad.

                            Be sure to slice a ripe peach as the sweetness of the peach pairs wonderfully with the creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and the acidity of the tomatoes!

                            ~ Get the recipe here!

                            14. Hard Boiled Egg and Avocado Bowl

                              Eggs are an excellent source of protein, packing 6 grams in each large one. This seasoned snack bowl is great for an afternoon break or morning nosh. Plus the red bell peppers not only add flavor but also a great dose of vitamin A, C, and B!

                              ~ Get the recipe here!

                              15. Protein Packed Oatmeal Cups

                                You can probably go ahead and call these muffins, but they are healthy muffins!

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                                Using your favorite protein powder, these protein packed oatmeal cups are fully customizable to your liking. You can add fruit (yes, please!), nuts, spices, and a bit of sweetener.

                                The oatmeal base gives you a nice dosing of fiber that will help these muffins last you until you get to sit down for your next meals.

                                ~ Get the recipe here!

                                16. Salmon Avocado Toast

                                  One man’s Sunday brunch order is another’s power snack. To keep from getting too out of control with the calories, opt for a thin slice of toast and 1/4 of an avocado. Top it with high-quality smoked salmon to bask in the Omega 3 healthy fats!

                                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                                  17. Kale Berry and Acai Power Smoothie

                                    Smoothies are a wonderful invention. No time to eat? No worries, drink your snack!

                                    This kale berry and acai power smoothie is chockfull of nutrients, fiber, and protein creating a winning combination!

                                    ~ Get the recipe here!

                                    18. Vegetable Quinoa Chickpea Salad

                                      This is a great snack that can be made in bulk for the whole week. With the chickpeas and quinoa paired with the cucumber and other veggies, this is a light salad that does a wonderful job of bridging the gap between meals.

                                      ~ Get the recipe here!

                                      19. Apple Chai Energy Balls

                                        These are so perfect for those cozy days when you are stuck inside working. These apple chai energy balls are packed with fiber, antioxidants and protein.

                                        Be sure to use old-fashioned oats for more nutrient dense energy balls.

                                        ~ Get the recipe here!

                                        20. Peanut Butter Smoothie

                                          Everyone loves peanut butter. This peanut butter smoothie is the perfect combination to make it a great snack! Pour yourself a small glass and sip away the hanger!

                                          ~ Get the recipe here!

                                          21. Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

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                                            Is this permission to eat brownies for a healthy snack? When they are made of black beans it is!

                                            The best part about these brownies is that you can’t tell they are healthy at all. The beans provide the protein that compliments the antioxidants of the chocolate and nuts.

                                            ~ Get the recipe here!

                                            22. Chipotle Lime Edamame

                                              Edamame are whole soy pods that are excellent covered in any flavor combination you can think of! You can make these little guys right at the office with a bag of frozen edamame heated in the company microwave and then topped with all the ingredients.

                                              Simple, easy, and beats that weird buttery popcorn smell that floats down the hallway on Friday afternoons.

                                              ~ Get the recipe here!

                                              23. Cheesy Spinach Quinoa Cups

                                                These are great for on the go and freeze really well! That means you can make them in batches to last you weeks at a time!

                                                The spinach and cheese creates an indulgent snack that won’t cost you tons of calories and hold you over to make it to that 4 o’clock meeting.

                                                ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                24. No Bake Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

                                                  These bars are loaded with good-for-you nuts and seeds. Keeping these in your desk drawer will help curb those hunger pains and afternoon 3 pm slump we all know so well.

                                                  ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                  25. Fancy Rice Cakes

                                                    Rice cakes can be bland on their own, but when you top them like this they are anything but!

                                                    These rice cakes are transformed into delicious snacks that will have you rushing to the break room!

                                                    ~ Get the recipe here!

                                                    Final thoughts

                                                    Snacks are an essential part of balanced eating! It is so important to keep our bodies fueled with good ingredients to keep them working as proficiently as we need them to.

                                                    Adding snacks to your day will help you meet deadlines, improve productivity, and not fall asleep on your keyboard each afternoon.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Roman Rodriguez via unsplash.com

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                                                    Julia Whelan

                                                    Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist

                                                    13 Brain Healthy Foods That Keep Your Brain Sharp Naturally 25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity 17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals How to Drink More Water Easily When It Seems Like a Major Chore

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                                                    Published on February 21, 2020

                                                    15 Core Strength Workout Exercises for Beginners

                                                    15 Core Strength Workout Exercises for Beginners

                                                    When many people think of a core strength workout, it immediately brings to mind cheesy ab routines that have run on TV infomercials for years.

                                                    I don’t blame you if you’re one of those people!

                                                    I, too, used to think the term core strength merely encompassed the abdominal muscles.

                                                    However, after several years of training (mostly in the sport of powerlifting) and much research, the picture has become clearer.

                                                    What is Core Strength?

                                                    A strong core is supported by more than just muscles, despite what many may think. In fact, the strength of one’s core is closely related to the quality and depth of one’s breathing.

                                                    Much of our society is simply not breathing properly: not taking deep belly breaths with a focus on filling the base/full 360-degree core.

                                                    They should be expanding the lower rib cage before air occupies the upper chest and lungs.

                                                    Many people do not breathe deeply, instead spending most of their days just touching the surface of their breathing capacity by entirely relying on upper chest breathing.

                                                    How to Breathe

                                                    So, before attempting any of the exercises below, first work with your breath.

                                                    Take a somewhat thick string (such as a shoe string), and wrap it around your waist so it is crossing over your navel (much like a belt worn high).

                                                    Ensure that you can fit two fingers between the string and your navel – thus not tying it tightly, and giving yourself room to breath into the belly without restriction.

                                                    The objective here is to wear the string throughout the day, and use it as a physical queue to focus your efforts on deep belly breathing.

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                                                    When you breath deep into your belly correctly, you will feel the string becoming tighter around your entire core.

                                                    After trying this approach for a couple days, dive into the below exercises without the string but while still maintaining focus on your breathing.

                                                    Core Strength for Health

                                                    Core strength is a vital aspect of overall health, and we’re going to examine several exercises that not only build core strength effectively, but also create core stability – which is arguably even more important!

                                                    15 Essential Core Strength Exercises

                                                    1. Kettlebell or Dumbbell Suitcase Carry (“Farmers Walks”)

                                                    You’ll notice many of these exercises have conveniently clear names, and this exercise is no exception. It functions much like it sounds.

                                                    Farmers Walks essentially allow you to pick up a moderately heavy weight and hold it on each side (left first, then right) while walking steady (focusing on core breathing) for 10-15 paces.

                                                    You should not be walking lopsided; you should be maintaining a straight, neutral spine, and allowing your core to support that stability.

                                                    Learn more kettlebell moves: The Benefits of Kettlebell Workouts You Might Not Know (+8 Exercises to Try!)

                                                    2. Lunges

                                                    These can be performed with or without weight, and with or without side bends. If performing with weights, this is a great core strength exercise to perform directly after Farmers Walks.

                                                    Side bending is done without weight and works by reaching your arm over and creating a half moon crescent shape during the lunge movement – the arm you arch should be on the same side as the leg with its knee on the ground.

                                                    3. Glute/Hip-Bridge

                                                    This is a very simple movement of laying down on the ground with your legs shoulder-width apart, then raising your butt off the ground to create an arch or “bridge.”

                                                    You can perform this movement with repetitions, which then become “Hip Thrusts,” or you can hold the top position for 3 seconds before returning down.

                                                    You can keep your arms laying flat on the ground for a more complex/difficult hold or use them to support your lower back for an easier movement.

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                                                    4. Bird-Dog Exercise

                                                    Lean forward to place your hands on the ground, positioning them directly under your shoulders (shoulder-width apart) with your fingers facing forward.

                                                    Reposition your hands and knees as necessary so that your knees are directly under your hips and your hands are directly under your shoulders.

                                                    Now, extend your right arm straight forward, meanwhile extending your left leg straight back. Repeat on the opposite side – with the left arm extended straight forward, and the right leg extended straight back.

                                                    5. Front Plank

                                                    Get into a push-up position with arms shoulder-width apart and bring your elbows to the ground. That’s it! Hold the static position without your knees touching the ground for as long as you can and repeat.

                                                    Learn more about the benefits of planking: 7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Planks Every Day

                                                    6. Side Plank

                                                    This core strength workout is similar to a front plank, but you are turning to each side and resting entirely on one elbow or the other.

                                                    Perform with the other arm extended straight into the air, or kept straight/parallel, running down the side of your body.

                                                    7. Goblet Squat

                                                    This is a fun one! You can perform this with a kettlebell (ideally), dumbbell, or even a heavy book!

                                                    Basically, you are standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, and your feet pointed out to a 45-degree angle. Descend into a deep squat and use the weight you’re holding to counter-balance.

                                                    Stay in the bottom position for 7 or more deep breaths before ascending.

                                                    8. Hanging Leg Raises

                                                    This exercise is excellent not just for core strength and stability, but also for overall shoulder health.

                                                    While hanging, be sure to maintain a straight back and shoulder line – remain stable and in control throughout the entire movement.

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                                                    Don’t swing your legs up and down, rather raise them and lower them in a slow and controlled manner.

                                                    9. Barbell Overhead Press

                                                    You might not think overhead pressing would correlate to core strength, but it does! You cannot perform a straight line overhead press without first stabilizing and bracing your entire core.

                                                    I suggest you film yourself from the side when performing the movement, and watch to ensure your bar-path remains in a straight line over your head.

                                                    10. Dumbbell Overhead Press

                                                    This move is much like the barbell overhead press; however, it requires more core and shoulder stability.

                                                    Bonus Exercises for Advanced Lifters

                                                    If you’ve been exercising or lifting weights for years, try the below exercises if you haven’t already done so.

                                                    If you’re already utilizing these core strengthening movements, simply consider incorporating them even more into your routine since they’re just that effective!

                                                    11. Dragonfly or Dragon Flag (by Bruce Lee)

                                                    Popularized by famous martial artist Bruce Lee, this movement requires you to have a decline bench or similar, which will support your entire weight.

                                                    Lay flat on your back on the bench, with your feet closer to the ground (on the decline).

                                                    Now, grab the bench behind your neck, then raise your legs from the lower position while stabilizing your upper body with your arms and core.

                                                    12. Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

                                                    This exercise is a complicated movement whereby you start from a laying-down position on the floor, and in 6 to 10 steps, raise the kettlebell overhead in a straight line.

                                                    Then, maintain that same straight line (holding the kettlebell up overhead) while you rise from the floor.

                                                    13. High Bar or Low Bar Back Squat

                                                    The high bar squat is the most optimal position if focusing on core stability, and is preferred by Olympic lifters for that reason.

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                                                    However, the low bar squat will typically still build core strength but allow for a more maximal load, and is thus preferred by powerlifters.

                                                    14. Deadlift (Sumo or Conventional)

                                                    Personally, this is my favorite exercise, and a great way to build core strength along with testing one’s central nervous system capacity.

                                                    Without getting into a detailed breakdown, I suggest having a peek at my video below, and checking out my YouTube channel where I cover how to efficiently deadlift, Squat, and more!

                                                    Why try deadlifts? Read 10 Benefits of Deadlifts You Probably Never Knew

                                                    15. Front Squat

                                                    Front squats are arguably the best way to build overall core strength – hitting the anterior chain and posterior muscle chain. They are performed in one of three ways.

                                                    First, by crossing the arms over and holding the barbell above the chest (resting on the clavicle), or, second, by not crossing the arms and keeping hands shoulder width apart while holding the bar.

                                                    The third approach is the same as the second, but if wrist mobility is an issue, a pair of straps can be utilized to hold the bar in position with each hand/wrist.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    Core strength shouldn’t be isolated by any means; it should be considered an integral part of the whole ecosystem that is human physiology.

                                                    Core strength is associated with digestion and elimination, and can even be attributed to psychological wellness for that reason. Our gut is considered by many (me included) to be a second brain, and if our digestion is in check, so too will be our minds.

                                                    Try your hand at these core strength workouts to help your body reach its full potential, and to stay healthy – both physically and mentally.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Daniel Apodaca via unsplash.com

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