IF you have ever worked in an office, then you would know that office life can get pretty hectic. And with limited meal options available at work, binging on the junk available can be quite tempting. But if slowing down to grab a nutritious meal or finding healthy snack options at work is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, then you can do right by your body and diet by making sure that you have an arsenal of healthy snack options to choose from tucked away in your drawer or insulated lunch bag.
What snack items do you have in your drawer at work? Consider switching out some of the junk for some of these healthy options.
Some of us may just want a couple of handfuls of granola, others may want to grab a few bars from the supermarket shelves (make sure to choose the ones with no added sugar) but you can always make your own at-home mix and it doesn't take a lot out of you. All that is required is for you to pour nuts, seeds, granola, oats, dried fruits and anything else that you like into a bag, and voilà!
Sure enough, you might be tempted to grab a few packets from the supermarket, and that is fine, but if you are up to it you can always make your own at home and you will have total control over the sodium and sugar levels of all the items. If you want guidance on portions, though, use a snack-sized Tupperware or Ziploc bag and pour half-cup of wholegrain and the same quantity of low sugar cereal, a tablespoon of roasted nuts, and a tablespoon of dried fruit. And if you would like some seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are a good addition.
Veggies can make great snacks, even for office purposes. Prepare a nice assortment of your favourite vegetables — for example, carrot sticks if you don't have baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, string beans, broccoli and cauliflower. After assorting them, place them in a Tupperware container, store in the office fridge, and you should be good to go. Veggies are best had fresh, so if possible prepare them the morning before work.
Buy different types of your favourite nuts, and mix them as you desire. Nuts are not just tasty, but they are rich in antioxidants and are a great source of many nutrients, including protein, fat, fibre, magnesium and vitamin E. They are also very versatile — you can add a little crunch and flavour by roasting them in your oven or by adding some seeds as per your liking.
For some of your favourite fruits, it's best not to cut them up if the possibility of them browning bothers you. Instead, choose smaller ones when making your purchase in the first place. Any fruit item can make a great snack, and there are many local and foreign options available, including apples, bananas, pineapples, oranges, mangoes and grapefruit, as well as raspberries, grapes, cherries and strawberries.
If you don't want to eat individual fruits or you want to have a variety of fruits in a single serving, then you can always do a fruit salad, and add a splash of lime on your fruits as this will reduce the chances of browning.
If you are looking for more options or simply don't want to carry fruits to work, especially if you don't have an insulated lunch kit or fridge at the office, then dried fruits are ideal. Dried raisins, cranberries, dates, apricots, papaya, pineapples, and sun-dried tomatoes are now a dime a dozen on the market. The best option is to always dehydrate your fruits, but be careful when choosing these because many of them have packed sugar content.
Tip: Learn how to dry your fruits at home without a dehydrator using plain old sunlight or your oven.
Most of us have a guilty pleasure — if dark chocolate happens to be it, then you just got lucky. Dark chocolate will make the perfect addition to your office snack options not only because it has very little sugars, but because it is very rich in antioxidants, which have been linked to a host of health benefits including improved heart health and lower cholesterol.