For many of us, working from home has not been without its challenges for most of 2020: zoom fatigue, dogs barking, and not an ounce of time alone have changed the reality of work as we know it. And whether you used to be used to fancy office perks, perhaps endless free snacks, or reduced your eating routine to a perfectly packed lunch box, the way we eat during work hours has also changed.
In some ways, working from home makes it easier to nibble on endlessly, but if you pick the wrong thing to nibble on, you can zap and search for energy in the next bag of chips. To understand what kind of food can help us rather than hurt us during those long days of remote work, we tapped a handful of registered dietitians to share healthy wisdom about snacks and the products they personally turn to and which they recommend when hunger occurs.
What Makes a Good, Healthy Snack? “A good snack is delicious, filling, and energizing,” says registered nutritionist Suzie Finkel, founder of Well Digested Nutrition, of her snack philosophy.
Think of a snack like “a mini-meal in terms of nutrition, since it should ideally contain protein, healthy fat, and fiber,” says registered nutritionist Kelli McGrane, a contributing nutritionist for calorie counting app Lose It !. “All three nutrients are the key to a slow and steady release of energy. That way, instead of giving you a quick boost of energy and leaving you hungry an hour later, a balanced snack will keep you satisfied until your next meal. ”
Protein, fat, and fiber are the keys to feeling full, adds Monica Auslander Moreno, founder of Essence Nutrition, but many snacks on the market are high in carbohydrates, which without any other nutrients can make you even hungrier than when you started.
And a word to the wise: “Don’t pick a snack that you don’t like just because you’ve heard somewhere that it’s ‘healthy’,” says Finkel, noting that despite its healthy reputation, celery never does the trick for them did. A perfect snack will satisfy your taste buds, satisfy your hunger pangs, and give you energy to work through your activities a little longer until your next meal, she says.
Moreno recommends looking for “added sugar” on a product’s nutrition label. While many nutritious foods are naturally high in sugar (such as dried mango), stick to snacks that are low to no sugar, which you can clearly see in the “Sugar” section of a food label.
Another line of labels to review: fiber. “Fiber keeps you full, helps balance blood sugar, and supports cholesterol metabolism,” says Moreno. “I like to find a snack that has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.”
There is no doubt that browsing snack options on the internet can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. However, with the help of nutritionists, we’ve compiled a list of their favorite healthy snacks on Amazon that are as delicious as they are nutritious.
Wednesday protein bars
McGrane prefers these handy bars because “they’re made with just a handful of recognizable ingredients and contain plant-based protein to keep you full longer.” The Almond Butter Chocolate Brownie Flavor contains 4 grams of fiber, 8 grams of fat (with just 1.5 grams of saturated fat), 11 grams of protein, and just 2 grams of added sugar.
Icelandic Regulations Traditional Skyr Yogurt
Having yogurt as a snack isn’t terribly groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. McGrane says Icelandic Provisions Skyr Yogurt is their preferred brand of yogurt because “it’s a little less spicy than other Icelandic yogurt brands, but is still high in protein and low in sugar.” The blueberry-blueberry flavor contains a whopping 15 grams of filling protein and only 6 grams of added sugar. McGrane suggests sprinkling some chia seeds or fresh berries on top to add fiber, which makes this snack a very well-rounded snack.
Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs Vegan White Cheddar
When crunchy cravings arise, reach for these and you won’t be hungry an hour later. “One serving of chickpea flour has an impressive 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and just 0.5 grams of saturated fat,” says McGrane.
Illuminated Bada Bean Bada Boom, pack of 24
Maybe you never thought of yourself the guy who eats beans. But here we are. These delightful snack packs are filled with protein- and fiber-rich broad beans that come in three flavors: sea salt, sweet sriracha and mesquite BBQ. (There are also options for other flavor mixes and packs of one flavor.) Don’t knock on the small but mighty bean: Each 100-calorie serving of this 100-calorie snack contains 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
SkinnyDipped almonds with a dark chocolate espresso coating
Call to all chocolate lovers! “These are perfect in case your sweet tooth pops out as they aren’t overly cute yet yet have a rich dark chocolate coating to make them satisfying,” says McGrane. Each 1-ounce serving contains 12 grams of fat (just 3 grams of saturated fat), 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and just 6 grams of total sugar.
Rhythm Superfoods beet chips, pack of 4
For potato chip fans looking for a healthier alternative, these dehydrated beet chips contain a surprising amount of protein and fiber (4 and 7 grams respectively) for such a humble nosh. The list of ingredients in the snack is impressively short as the only ingredient is organic beets – really!
Peeled snacks organic dried fruit variety package, 4-pack
Unlike many dried fruit snacks that have a disappointing amount of added sugars, this product relies entirely on the natural sweetness of the fruit. If your cute tooth is tingling, one of these four flavors should do the trick.
Woodstock Farms Bio Medjool Dates
Finkel, who recommends combining dates with nut butter or nuts, loves these special dates to nibble on. “From a nutritional perspective, having a good balance of macronutrients is key to winning the snack game,” she says. “Celery, for example, falls flat on its own, but you combine it with some peanut butter and raisins and it is instantly promoted to snack status.” The same goes for dates. So don’t be afraid to hand out two nutritionally decent snacks that, when combined, turn out to be a nutritionally outstanding snack.
Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon
A major benefit of working from home is that no employee has the ability to smell what you are eating. So you can get lazy with it. According to Finkel, these salmon bags (or tuna bags) are great for breaking in at noon: The salmon contains 20 grams of protein per bag and goes wonderfully with crackers or vegetables.
Bob’s Red Mill Classic oatmeal cups with chia and flax
If you don’t have the time or the desire to create your own oatmeal mix, this is a great option, says McGrane. Each cup is packed with organic oatmeal, chia seeds, flax seeds and salt. As a result, “these oatmeal cups are filled with essential minerals and high in fiber and protein.” McGrane loves the fact that they are free of added sugars and recommends adding fresh or frozen berries for a little flavor and extra nutrition.
RX Bars Variety Pack, pack of 24
RX protein bars became real fame for their list of non-BS ingredients. Each bar contains 12 grams of protein based on egg whites, dates and nuts. Keep a pair in your pocket, desk drawer, or your car as it can come in handy in an emergency with snacks.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yes! bars
Finkel says this is a great, handy desk snack. Made from healthy fats, energy-saving carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein, these handy bars allow you to satisfy hunger pangs and get back to the world quickly.
Seapoint Farms sea salt dry roasted edamame, pack of 12
It’s so easy to have a snack with the intent of only eating a handful of something, only to come to the realization that you accidentally ingested multiple servings and suffered a stomach ache. These single-serving packs of dry-roast edamame take the guesswork out of portion control and satisfy salty cravings with the simplicity of soybean and salt.
88 acres of organic sunflower seed butter
This brand is another nut-free option that makes snacking easier. She offers a ton of unique spreads and bars (watermelon seed butter, anyone?) That Finkel says feel gourmet. “Individually portioned snacks can be very helpful for those who feel overwhelmed with snack sizes or who take the time to put something together at home,” she adds. In addition to this individually packaged spread on which you can drizzle almost anything, yoghurt and applesauce cups, cheese sticks and bars are easy to grab and combine without much thought.