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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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                                                    Last Updated on October 30, 2020

                                                    15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                                                    15 Strength Training Exercises Specifically for Runners

                                                    When you incorporate strength training for runners into your training regime, it will have a great payoff when it comes to running faster and increasing endurance. Studies have shown incorporating a strength training program to your running routine improves your overall running economy.[1]

                                                    Here are 15 strength training exercises specifically for runners.

                                                    1. Planks

                                                    The plank is a very important core exercise that will help give you more control and balance while running. Having a strong core will also keep you more stable if you have to navigate uneven surfaces.

                                                    The plank is a simple exercise and involves balancing on your forearms and the tips of your toes so that your back is “straight as a plank.” You want to focus on keeping your abs tight and imagine sucking your belly button up into your spine to have them properly engaged.

                                                    Aim for 30 to 45 seconds for a few rounds. Ultimately, you want to hold them as long as you can with proper form.

                                                    2. Side Planks

                                                    When it comes to strength training for runners, side planks are amazing. The same concept is applied as the normal plank, but you are now engaging your core differently and adding in your oblique muscles, too. This time, you are going to lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.

                                                    You will lean on your right forearm and lift your hips off the ground keeping your head lined up with your torso and ankles. Keep your other hand on your hip to help you balance, and focus on not moving or swaying. Keep your abs tight, and hold for 30 or 45 seconds, or longer if you can.

                                                    3. Clamshells

                                                    For this exercise, you are going to need a simple resistance band. Start with the band wrapped around both legs just below the knee. Your starting position will be on the ground, lying on your side, with your top hip and shoulder pointing towards the ceiling.

                                                    Your hips will be on the ground. Keep your back straight and your feet together, and lift up with your top knee as far as you can with the resistance.

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                                                    Pause for a second at the top and lower back down under control. You can do 10 reps on this side before switching over and doing another 10 reps, and aim for 2 to 3 sets.

                                                    Clamshells are going to help strengthen your abductor muscles, giving you stronger hips and more stability while running, making it great for strength training for runners specifically.

                                                    4. Single-Leg Bridge

                                                    You will start lying on your back with your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, with knees bent. Straighten out one leg so it’s out in front of you in the air, and lift your body up by pushing with the leg on the ground.

                                                    You want to flex your abs and glutes while pushing upward, and try to keep your hips level throughout the motion before returning to the ground. You can also hold your body in the upright position for 5-10 seconds before returning to the ground to get more engagement before switching over to the other leg.

                                                    The single-leg bridge will help strengthen your glutes, which are crucial for running power and stride strength.

                                                    5. Standing Calf Raises

                                                    This is a simple exercise when it comes to strength training for runners, but one that is very important for strengthening the calves. The stronger they are, the less fatigue you will experience during running. You will need to find an elevated step or platform for this exercise.

                                                    Stand on the platform with your heels hanging off the edge. Find something stable to hold on to for balance, and start by lowering your heels down until you feel a stretch in the back of your calves. Then, push your heels up, like you are trying to see over a fence. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

                                                    6. Arch Lifting

                                                    You will start standing with your feet directly under your hips, and this is best done without shoes. You will rotate the arch of your foot upward while keeping your toes and heels in contact with the ground.

                                                    Don’t let your toes tighten, and try to hold for a few seconds at the top before returning to the ground. You can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, and this is going to help strengthen the arches of your feet.

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                                                    It’s easy to neglect the feet in any strength training regime, but the stronger your arches are, the better it is to keep your running stride strong and prevent less fatigue in the feet.

                                                    7. Half-Kneel Hip Flexor Stretch

                                                    Strong hips are paramount for running, and the hip flexors can easily become strained and overused. This exercise will help to strengthen them and provide more power and stability while running.

                                                    You will start kneeling with one foot forward and the other knee bent underneath the hip. Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and shift your body weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hips. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds before switching over to the other leg.

                                                    8. Alternating Lunges

                                                    These are going to develop power and strength in your quads and glutes to help give you a more powerful stride. You will start standing with your hands on your hips, looking straight out in front of you.

                                                    Step forward with your right leg and lower down just before your opposite knee touches the ground. Then, push through your heel to return to the standing position before performing the lunge with your left leg. Alternate between the right and left leg so that each one has done 10 reps. Shoot for 3 sets.

                                                    9. Jump Squats

                                                    These can be done just with your bodyweight and help to develop explosive power in the lower body. The jump squat is handy for when you have to run hills and need more power for harder stretches of your run.

                                                    The best way is to start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. You will drive through the heels of your feet and explode upwards. As your bodyweight brings you back to the ground, control your weight as you go back into the squat position to fully engage the muscles.

                                                    This is a great exercise for strength training for runners, but make sure not to let your knees move inwards and keep your abs tight, your head up, and your chest out. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.

                                                    10. Skater Hops

                                                    This will help to build leg and core strength, along with improving balance. You will start standing upright but then bending the knees slightly like you’re about to sit down. You will then drive off your right foot, jumping a few feet out to the left.

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                                                    Land on your left foot while your right foot swings behind your left leg. Then, drive off the left foot using the momentum of your right foot swinging back. You will keep doing these side hops ten times on each leg and the motion should look like a speed skater shifting side to side.

                                                    11. Bulgarian Split Squat

                                                    This will be similar to the lunges but will really ramp up the resistance for the quads and is a great strength training exercise for runners. You are going to need an elevated surface or bench to stand in front of. The starting position will be standing upright with your head up and hands on your hips.

                                                    Start with your right foot behind you, supported by the bench. You will start by lowering your hips to drop your left leg down to around a 90-degree angle, stopping just before your right knee hits the ground.

                                                    Next, push up through the heel until you are back at the starting position and perform ten reps, under control, before you switch over to the right leg. Perform 3 sets of this.

                                                    To make this even tougher, you can hold dumbbells in your hands hanging at your sides.

                                                    12. Arabesque

                                                    These will help in activating and controlling your hips. You will start off by standing on one leg, hands on your hips, and making sure your hips are level and balanced. You can then put your arms out to the side to give you more balance.

                                                    Start by tipping your torso forward as your non-weight-bearing leg extends out behind you. You can slightly bend your knee to help with control, and you want to have your back and extended leg as level as possible. You should end up basically parallel to the floor with your shoulder, hip, and ankle in a straight line.

                                                    When you’ve gone as far forward as you can, return to the starting position and perform 8 repetitions before switching to the other leg.

                                                    Perform 2 to 3 sets. These are all about quality over quantity, so if you can only do 4 or 5, that’s fine.

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                                                    13. Hip Bridge

                                                    This is another great exercise to target the glutes, which are the source of your running power. Start by lying on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes, and then lift your hips up towards the ceiling.

                                                    Your hips, knees, and shoulders should be in a straight line. Hold at the top for a second and then lower back down under control. Perform this 12 times and do 3 sets. If these get easier, you can hold a weight or medicine ball across your stomach for more resistance.

                                                    14. Push-Ups

                                                    This is a classic exercise in strength training for runners, and for good reason. As much as you want to focus your strength training on the lower body, you can’t neglect your upper body. Your arms are helping drive and propel you while running, and a strong upper body helps with your overall balance and stability.

                                                    You can start lying facedown on the ground with your palms facing downwards and elbows tucked into your sides. Focus on pushing through the heel of your palms upward, stopping just before your elbows lock out. Lower back down under control and stop just before your chest touches the ground.

                                                    Focus on keeping the elbows tucked into your side, and avoid having them flail outwards. You can perform 10 reps for 3 sets.

                                                    15. Squat to Overhead Press

                                                    This is a full-body exercise that works a majority of your muscles and builds power, explosiveness, and coordination. You will need two dumbbells, and you will start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, with the dumbbells held up by your shoulders.

                                                    Send your hips back, and lower down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, press the dumbbells overhead and return them to the starting position. Go for 10 reps and three sets.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    As much as you’d like to, you can’t be running all the time. It can lead to overuse, injuries, and burnout. The perfect way to offset this is with strength training, making sure you perform your cross training with proper form and technique and avoiding mistakes to prevent injury.

                                                    These exercises will make you a more efficient and resilient runner allowing you to improve your distances and times.

                                                    More Workout Tips for Runners

                                                    Featured photo credit: Chander R via unsplash.com

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