Quick and Healthy Snacks for the Busy Professional
Do you have a busy and demanding job that doesn’t allow much time for snack preparation? Well look no further. I have collected several snack ideas that are not only healthy options, but also require little to no preparation.
My husband has a desk job working a ton of hours so of course he doesn’t want to spend time preparing snacks before going to work. Oh wait, I forgot he has me, his loveable, extremely helpful cook and baker wife who just happens to be a dietitian who cares about his health. With that said, I also don’t have a ton of extra free time to prepare extravagant snacks for him or myself. So we often rely on these ready-to-eat snacks that require little effort to prep. I have also included a few products to give specific examples of the snacks (of course, this list is not all-inclusive).
Hummus and vegetables or pretzels
Product ideas: SabraTM Hummus with Pretzels (single serving): these convenient packages are perfect for being on-the-go, or a great snack to keep in your office desk. With 260 calories, 19 grams of fat (but only 3 grams saturated), and 7 grams of fiber, this product is a great go-to snack that will leave you satisfied. SabraTM also sells individual 2 oz hummus containers which are a great to eat with carrots or red peppers.
A great source of healthy fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fats) and protein.
Product ideas: PlantersTM NUT•rition Mixes have great mixes in convenient packages.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter provide about 190 calories and 16 grams of fat (only 3 saturated), and is a great source of protein with 8 grams per serving. It’s a great shelf-stable protein source that’s easy to keep at your desk. Dip celery, peppers, or pretzels in the peanut butter for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Fruit is full of fiber, along with several essential vitamins and minerals. Some types of fruit require zero prep time, like bananas, others require only rinsing, like apples and pears. Most grocery stores also have pre-chopped fresh fruit in individual sized containers to grab and go (albeit more expensive but a great grab-and-go snack if you’re pushed for time). And don’t forget dried fruit (raisins, craisins); just be aware dried fruit is much more calorically dense than fresh fruit. A small box of raisins is about 130 calories (about ¼ cup) compared to a cup of grapes is about 62 calories. In terms of satiety, eat the dried fruit and drink an extra glass of water!
Package fresh veggies in zip-lock bags to grab on the go, or buy these convenient packs with dip already included. Just like fruit, you’ll find plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals in vegetables. Fiber not only helps your digestive tract, but also helps keep you fuller longer.
There are a ridiculous number of snacks bars (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc) that you’ll find at the grocery store. The main components I recommend you look for in a snack bar are the calories and fiber content. I personally focus on the fiber content which helps keep me fuller longer, while keeping the calories in check as well. For a basic granola/breakfast bar a good guide is to look for bars with less than 15 grams of sugar, and at least 4 grams of fiber. Now I’ll also keep calories below 200 since it’s used as a snack and NOT a meal replacement.
Protein bars are quite popular for athletes, but can also be beneficial for the average person. However, I do not suggest eating them to replace meals on a regular basis. On days that you’re rushing from meeting to meeting or forgot your lunch, grabbing a protein bar is a good choice. This can help prevent overeating at the next meal or eating a candy bar from the vending machine. For a basic protein bar a good guide is to look for bars with at least 10 grams of protein, less than 15 grams of sugar and less than 350 calories for a meal replacement or less than 200 calorie as a snack. One of my husband’s favorites is the Supreme ProteinTM bar, particularly when he’s craving chocolate!
Whole Grain Cereal
Throw some whole grain cereal in a plastic container or zip-lock bag and bring it to work. Stick with cereals with whole grain (whole wheat, whole corn, etc.) as the first ingredient, less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber.
Product Ideas: QuakerTM Oatmeal Squares (my family’s favorite), KashiTM GOLEANTM or Honey Nut CheeriosTM
Cheese and Crackers
String cheese is a great protein source and part-skim options have only between 50-70 calories and 4-5 grams of fat. Eat them with some whole grain crackers and you have a great snack option.
Whole Grain Product Suggestion: KashiTM Crackers Original 7 grain
With just a little thought involved you can make improvements to your overall diet by including some of these healthier snack options. Hope this helps you make healthier choices when you’re pressed for time!
What are your favorite quick and healthy go-to snacks?