Work and snacks

How to make your work snacks healthy and delicious.

It is mid-afternoon and the vending machine down the hall is calling out to you. Do you take the calling and grab a candy bar and soda to satisfy the afternoon snack attack, to later feel guilty and sluggish? Many people, especially those who work desk jobs, struggle with this battle on a daily basis. What is the key to beating the vending machine blues?

Michigan State University Extension says that planning is the number one weapon against the “vending machine assault.” If you know you are always hungry at 2 p.m., then it makes sense to have snacks handy when hunger strikes. We often run into problems when we wait to decide what to eat until we are very hungry and we then reach for the closest, quickest option. Having something quick and healthy that is readily available before we get to that point helps us to choose better options. Try to pack snacks for a whole week or several days at a time and select a variety of options so you can choose from, based on how you are feeling. Some days you may want a salty, crunchy snack like nuts or trail mix, whereas other days something sweet like fruit may be more of what you have a craving for. Most offices have a refrigerator to store lunches or snacks, so bringing along a small stock of yogurt or cheese, which gives you a protein packed snack that is readily available. Pull out the carrots or jicama and hummus to provide you with the kick you need to finish off your day.

By packing foods at home you are also better able to control the portion size of your snack. Sometimes our best laid-out plans still go awry and we end up at the vending machine anyway. If this is the case, try to choose snacks that are lower in calories. Go for the baked plain chips versus the regular cheese or barbeque options. Also be careful with your beverage selection, consider tea or sparkling water in place of a soda to quench your afternoon thirst.

Remember that everything is fine in moderation, so if you generally make healthy choices, it is ok to occasionally splurge on that candy bar or bag of chips when the vending machine comes calling. Being prepared ahead of time will help make the vending machine habit a “once in while” occurrence rather than a once a day choice. Happy Snacking!

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