As my blog bio reveals, I am a self-professed newspaper nerd. There’s no denying that. It’s 2011 and every morning I still read a physical copy of the Chicago Tribune (or the “Trib” to any true Chicagoan) with my cereal. Then I come to work and periodically check it – and other news sources – throughout the day for breaking business news.
One afternoon, I scrolled to the bottom of the Business section (to the “Lunch Box” box) and saw this headline: Stocking Your Cubicle Cupboard. Without skipping a beat, I clicked it and started flipping through the pictures to see their recommendations.
I then thought about my personal snack drawer here in Cubeville (our affectionate nickname for our work environment) and thought there had to be more suggestions. So, I added some of my favorite snacks to curb hunger in between meetings, when lunch is still hours away, or when boredom creeps into my cubicle. These are the top 8 snacks I would add to that slideshow:
Pistachios: Around 90 percent of the fat that pistachios have is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated variety. They also increase your good cholesterol and decrease your bad cholesterol! Plus, it’s so easy to grab a plastic baggy of them to throw in your purse! A serving size is 1 ounce, or 49 kernels, which is a lot in my opinion. I love them because when I zone out while writing product descriptions, I can munch away without feeling sleepy or bloated twenty minutes later. They also require cracking, which keeps my hands busy and gives me a chance to look away from my computer for a second or two.
- Canned Fruit: If you want something sweet that won’t expand your waistline, try a can of mandarin oranges or pears to curb the craving. As long as the fruit is either in its own juice or water and not corn syrup you’ll be golden. Plus, canned fruit sometimes retains more of its nutrients than fresh fruit since it’s picked and processed immediately instead of picked and then shipped to your grocery store. TIP: Make sure you have access to a fork and a can opener, or else you’ll be slurping out the fruit or looking silly stabbing the can with a screwdriver.
Popcorn: A single serving of popcorn contains large amounts of polyphenols, which have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Stick to personal-sized bags unless you want to share with your Cubeville neighbors, and go with unbuttered or slightly-buttered varieties if you want to be healthy.
- Sunflower Kernels: These little kernels are filled with vitamins B1 and B5 (all B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is essentially our fuel, and they’re then burned to produce energy). They also contain other important minerals that are hard to incorporate into a balanced diet: copper, magnesium, selenium and phosphorous, which help out your heart, blood vessels and joints.
Chewing Gum: Each stick of low-calorie gum has between 5 to 10 calories. It’s a great way curb cravings by giving you something to concentrate on and that jolt of sugar deliciousness is awesome.
- Fun-Sized Candy Bars: This one may not fit the “healthy” bill, but what the heck. Halloween arrives earlier and earlier in stores, so you can pretty much pick up a bag of your favorite candy bars year-round. They’re a smidgen healthier when you consider only eating one bite-sized version versus a king-size bar. TIP: embrace your messy desk and leave the wrappers out so you can see how many you’ve eaten. We eat with our eyes and not so much with our stomachs, so by keeping them within sight we can stop at a couple instead of accidentally finishing off the bag.
Clementines: These baby oranges are chock-full of beta-carotene and ascorbic acid, which helps improve vision, and their citric acid eliminates bacteria that causes blemishes. Plus, just the smell alone will trigger that “feel good” (serotonin) feeling we love. They don’t need to be refrigerated and can sit in your drawer for a few days without going weird on you.
- Wasabi Peas: Alright, fair warning to you if you’ve never tried these before. Try one (slowly) and see if you like them before you grab a handful and go to town munching away. I love them, which is strange since I wouldn’t consider myself a lover of spicy foods. Imagine horseradish and you’re about as close as you can get to this Japanese plant root. You’ve been warned! Apart from being tasty, they’re extremely high in protein, dietary fiber, and calcium (and low in fat). Mix them in with some pistachios and sunflower kernels (with a few M&Ms as a treat) and you’ve got one heck of a trail mix to enjoy at your desk.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a box of Cheez-its and Keebler Peanut Butter and Crackers (and, up until yesterday, Swedish Fish) in my snack drawer at QLP. Not so healthy…but we all deserve a treat now and then. And remember, you don’t have to eat each of these healthy snacks every day to experience their benefits. Try slipping these snack favorites into the mix every few days and reward yourself accordingly.
What snacks do you have in your drawer? What do you refuse to go without? Was there anything you tried and decided was a no-go for your snack drawer? Sound off below!