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Top 8 Healthy Foods to Curb Hunger in Cubeville

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

    Pistachios

    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

    Popcorn

    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

    Chewing Gum

    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

    Clementines

    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!

Image credit to horstm22 and theimpulsivebuy.


Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Scooby

    I think we should have a Wasabi eating contest. You down tony promo?

    Ps: Can you do a follow-up post on proper manners for snacking and lip smacking? Popcorn sure tastes good, but the sound of someone munching on it next to you can be unbearable.

    • Amanda

      Good idea Scooby–a wasabi eating contest would be hilarious! And you’re right–hearing people crunch and lip smack is no fun!

      • amy

        I think we’ve discussed an annoying Cubeville neighbors blog from time to time. Our shared annoyance of people loudly munching potato chips drives us all nuts! The lip smacking should be added to the list as well, thanks for the suggestion Scooby ;)

  2. Eric

    Respect for the pistachio. They taste pretty good on their own…a lot of other nuts aren’t really enjoyable unless there’s some sort of sugar or salt involved, and well, after you add one of those in, so much for the whole “healthy” thing. Pistachios, though? They’re fine on their own.

    I’m a big fan of the “Smart Mix” variety pack of lunch-sized bags of chips. What makes ‘em “smart?” They’re either baked or low-cal, already portioned-out for you, and healthier than most things you’d absentmindedly toss in with a lunch.

    And as for canned fruit?

    Thing we all learned our lesson when it comes to canned goods and the can opener here in 726…

    • amy

      I’m with you Eric on the notion that other nuts need to be covered in salt, sugar, or chocolate for me to enjoy them. I’ve tasted unsalted peanuts, and while they aren’t horrible I couldn’t eat many before I got bored of them. Now, chocolate covered almonds? The more the merrier!

      I love the personal sized portion snacks, I hate eating a bowl of pretzels and then realizing a serving size is five. Yeahhhh, because of course I eat five pretzels and feel satisfied. Never happens. These snacks are sometimes more expensive because of the additional packaging that’s required, so there are some trade offs.

  3. JPorretto

    I prefer healthy snacks myself. For instance, I’ll get the cool ranch doritios instead of the regular to cut down on the amount of cheese. Or the single stuff oreos. It’s good to be health conscious!

    • Kyle

      Haha Jeff, don’t be so hard on yourself!

      Cool ranch Doritos I can understand, but only single stuff Oreos? That’s a bit extreme don’t you think? :P

      Joking aside, great post Amy! Pistachios or popcorn sound so good right now. Actually, all of those sound great. I’m hungry now… Go figure.

      • amy

        I like the way you two think hahaha, “healthy” can mean so many different things to people ;)

  4. Jen

    I love this post Amy! I’m always at a loss about what to store in my desk drawers (I usually revert to Pop-Tarts and Cheese Its), but these are awesome suggestions. Thank you!

    PS: Another yummy and healthy snack, baby carrots. I could munch on those all day…but they should be refrigerated, so make sure to have a cooler and ice pack.

    • amy

      I love raw baby carrots too! Having an ice pack is a great way to keep them from getting warm and weird by 3 PM. They sell personal sized portions of ranch dressing that you could easily munch with if you wanted some zest with your snack. Or ‘ants on a log’ is always a good idea :)

  5. Rachel

    Wow, I love all these suggestions! I am always looking for new stuff for my snack drawer, since I get sick of the same thing all the time (which makes little sense, since I eat the same thing for lunch nearly every day, hah!). I especially like your tip about keeping the candy bar wrappers–I have no self-discipline when it comes to candy, but maybe this would help keep me from overdoing it!

    As for other ideas: I’ve been bringing fresh fruit lately. I’ll cut up some strawberries or wash raspberries or blueberries in the morning and bring those in to keep in the office fridge until after lunch. Grapes are also really easy to bring in and snack on. I love fruit probably more than chocolate, so having some ice cold fruit in the afternoon is a real treat. :)

    • Jen

      More than chocolate? What kind of woman are you? LOL, j/k! I really like fruit too. I try to bring it in everyday for lunch :)

      • amy

        I highly recommend frozen grapes or blueberries, mmmmmm! The kids I used to babysit for always had them for a snack, so they actually turned me onto the idea LOL.

        If I over buy fresh fruit (happens quite a bit sadly), I always toss it in a container and throw it in the freezer a day or two before it gets too ripe. It keeps me from wasting money on tossing food and provides a tasty snack :)

  6. Juliette

    Love the suggestions! Does the smell of oranges really trigger a “feel good” sensation? That’s interesting! (I’m allergic to them so all that smell triggers is a desire to run fast in the opposite direction!)

    I’m a fan of edamame (soy beans). Sooooo tasty. Also when I’m packing a bento for lunch I make sure to make a couple onigiri (rice balls) out of plain white rice with a little salt. Can you tell I’m a fan of japanese snacks? :)

    On other days I admit to carrying a bit of chex mix or some cheese-flavored Goldfish with me to munch on.

  7. Jill Tooley

    Mmmmm…wasabi peas are delicious! Thanks a lot, now I’m craving them! ;) I used to be a pistachio hater, but they’ve sort of grown on me in recent years. Never knew they were so good for you, either. Maybe I’ll pick up some on my next Woodman’s visit.

    For me, it’s tough to beat a ripe banana in the morning or early afternoon. They give me lots of energy! I’d also recommend a good fruit smoothie (Odwalla, Naked, and Bolthouse Farms have some superb ones, or you could make your own at home) for an extra alertness boost. :)

    • Amanda

      Same here Jill! A perfectly yellow banana is one my favorites for anytime of day. =)

    • amy

      Mandy and I were just talking about how we were anti-pistachio until recently. Funny how your tastes change, isn’t it? I buy them in bulk from Costco and keep a container in my drawer for munching.

      I love your smoothie suggestion! Another great way to use up overly-ripe fruit before it’s too gross to eat.

  8. Peemo

    Almonds, dude.

    Habanero BBQ to be exact.

    • amy

      I’m with you on the almonds! Yum!! The wasabi flavored ones are really good, but I’ll have to try the habanero BBQ ones. I’m sure if I can’t finish them off, I could find someone to take them off my hands LOL

  9. Amanda

    What an awesome snack list–some really unique choices. I never would have thought about some of these. I’d really like to try those wasabi peas–they sound interesting! For nuts, I prefer cashews or pecans, but I think they are all great snacking choices. Fruit in the little cups are my favorite! I get them packed in water sweetened with splenda–yum! Let’s see, in my drawer I have a couple packets of hot chocolate mix, some random items left over from lunches, and Lance’s crackers, that’s it. Kind of boring….but I don’t snack a lot at work, I just usually bring a good sized lunch.

    • amy

      Thanks Amanda, I mainly went with what I liked to snack on, but I had no idea that some of the items were as healthy as they are.

      I love Lance’s Crackers! I had some in my drawer too that I polished off recently hahaha, so good! I’ll bring in some wasabi peas and let you try some, I think you’ll like them. And if not, then more for Jill and I. Yay!!

  10. Joseph Giorgi

    Great post! Cheeze-Its and Peanut Butter Crackers all the way! :) Of course, I do enjoy a healthy snack every now and again — Kiwifruit and peaches are among my favorites. I like your healthful recommendations here, Amy, but I’m afraid that my favorite “healthy” foods come in this form:

    http://www.candymachines.com/images/bulk_candy/runts_vending_candy.jpg

    • amy

      I’m pretty sure food/candy that’s in the shape of fruit counts as “healthy”. Or maybe that’s just a personal rule of mine that I live by ;)

  11. Mandy Kilinskis

    I love my Cheez-its! They may have too much fat and salt, but they have some fiber, protein, and best of all – no sugar!

    I’m trying to get more variety in my snack drawer, but my primary focus is on my different teas and coffees. Caffeine > snacks.

    • amy

      Lol, hey now caffeine plays a very important role here in cubeville. There’s no denying that! ;)

  12. LK

    I need to get with the pistachio kick. I think I’d like them, I just keep passing them up in the grocery aisles. Plus, some of those pistachio commercials are so funny I don’t think I can go much longer without finally purchasing some.

  13. Darla

    Thanks for the suggestions! Whenever I’m with my kids, they have huge appetite and I end up eating as huge as them.

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