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Healthy snacks for your desk drawer

If you need a snack at work, what will you reach for?
If you need a snack at work, what will you reach for?

We all get hungry at work. Some of us every day (I'm one), and others just sometimes. Snacks are almost a necessity. Yet, if you choose the wrong snacks, day after day, it can lead to weight gain, lack of energy, and decreased productivity. On the other hand, the right snacks will prevent the munchies later in the day, keep your energy levels up, and help you work better. Here are some of my favorite snacks to keep at work.

Trail Mix: Trail mix can give you a nice, healthy blend of carbohydrates, protein, fats and fiber. Commercially packaged trail mixes are convenient, but may contain unwanted sugars,extra fat, and even trans fats. Your best bet is to make a large bag of trail mix yourself. You can use your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Some recommendations include almonds and walnuts, as they contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts; and Brazil nuts due to their high selenium concentration. Choose at least two different nuts and/or seeds, and at least one dried fruit.

Instant Oatmeal: If you are looking for something to stick withyou, oatmeal is the way to go. While most people can't make regular oatmeal at work, instant oatmeal can be made in just a couple minutes in the microwave. Just one packet will provide slow digesting carbohydrates for lasting energy, fiber to keep you full, and even a bit of protein. If you keep nuts or dried fruit in your desk, these can be mixed in to make it even better. Beware, many brands add lots of sugar, and even some partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) in their instant oatmeal. Look for an organic brand for a healthier choice.

Healthy Chips: Chips are the perfect snack food. They can be eaten almost anywhere. Unfortunately, they are also perfect for consuming unnecessary calories and putting on unwanted weight. To satisfy your need for something salty and crunchy, check out bean chips and hummus chips. Beanitos are made with black or white beans, while Kashi hummus chips are made with baked hummus. Both contain a healthy dose of fiber and protein, without the fat of regular chips. As an added bonus, you will be consuming beans, a healthy food choice most people under-eat.

Canned Fruit: Fresh fruit is something that is hard to stock. It needs to be bought frequently as it spoils. Canned fruit is a great solution. While it doesn't quite equal fresh fruit, canned fruit still provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Plus, there are a number of fruits to choose from, providing variety of healthy nutrients, and preventing your taste buds from being bored. Consider this option 1b to fresh fruit.

Dry cereal: Cereal can be a great snack during the day, even without the milk. Think of it as second breakfast. There are plenty of healthy options that include healthy doses of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even protein. This can help make up for anything you may have missed with your first breakfast of the day. Keep a box in your drawer to pull out and much on a few handfuls when hunger hits.

By keeping these healthy snacks in your drawer, you will have more energy for your day. As an added bonus, you will keep off unwanted weight from those dire vending machine runs. So what are you waiting for? The grocery store awaits.

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