Whether you work from home, the office or all over town, healthy snack options provide sustained energy and steady glucose levels.
When hunger pangs strike during the work day, grabbing something from a vending machine or corner store is easy, but it can come with a price. Typical snack options like chips, granola, crackers and snack bars are often ultra-processed and made with added sugars and refined grains. While they may give you a quick hit of energy, these ingredients also cause glucose levels to spike and fall just as quickly, leaving you sluggish. Many of these foods also contain refined seed oils linked to poor metabolic health.
Supermarkets offer plenty of specialty grab-and-go options but don’t overlook these tried-and-true snack staples. Keep your kitchen stocked with these Levels-approved options:
- Raw sliced vegetables (such as celery, cucumbers, carrots or bell peppers) are full of various antioxidants which prevent cell damage and may lower chronic disease risk.
- Raw fruit (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or apples) satisfies a sweet tooth with some naturally occurring sugars while tempering blood glucose spikes with fiber.
- Plain unsweetened Greek yogurt contains probiotics and makes a good base for nutritious toppings such as nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. Probiotics support a healthy gut and help control inflammation.
- Nuts (my personal favourites) (such as cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts or hazelnuts) and seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds) don’t require refrigeration and offer healthy unsaturated fats.
Snack Shopping Advice
When you’re shopping for workday snacks, here’s what to look for:
- Go for options that provide fiber, protein and healthy fats. A snack consisting primarily of carbs will give you a quick energy jolt but later leave you feeling sluggish. However getting a balance of these nutrients slows down the rate of digestion and release of glucose into your bloodstream, stabilizing your blood sugar so you can stay energized and satisfied for longer.
- Be wary of deceptive labels on snack products. Always check the ingredient list and nutrition facts.
- Avoid snack bars full of added sugars, artificial sweeteners or additives. Opt for those with a short and clean ingredient list as well as protein and fiber.
- Upgrade from chips and crackers made with refined grains and refined seed and vegetable oils to low-carb and grain-free alternatives made with healthier oils (like avocado or coconut oil).
- When you want dried fruit, go for unsweetened varieties, stick to a single recommended serving size to keep the sugar content moderate and pair with healthy fats and proteins.
- Buy snacks that fit into your workday setting. For instance if you don’t have access to a fridge, stick to shelf-stable snacks that won’t go bad. Or if you’re constantly on the move consider single-serving options.