Hunger inhibits our ability to concentrate, while cravings can turn us into near savages — it's a side we don't necessarily want to share with our coworkers. A well-rounded snack can often be a game changer in the office, particularly around that mid-afternoon slump time, when curling up for a nap is just too tempting.
The key to a winning snack — one that will boost your brain, increase your energy, and stabilize your blood sugar — is a combination of protein and good-quality fats. In tandem, these macronutrients help zap cravings and keep you satiated longer.
Below are three of our favorite nutrient-dense foods, done three delicious ways. Everything here is meant to maximize your time at home so you can maintain your sanity at the office.
1. Guacamole with veggie sticks and/or flaxseed crackers
Make a batch of guacamole, and it'll be a creamy, delectable godsend come afternoon snack time.
For the guac, Chipotle's once-secret recipe is a solid one. Mash up:
- Ripened avocado
- Lime juice
- Finely chopped jalapeno and red onion
- A few pinches of sea salt.
Veggie sticks are great dipping tools. I also like Mary's Gone Crackers's gluten-free crackers, or if you're up for making your own, these Garlic Parmesan Flax Seed Crackers are easy and excellent.
Extra guac? (Is that even possible?!) Add a little more lime juice and onion and store in an airtight container.
2. Chocolate-avocado mousse
Say wha?! You thought that guac was decadent? Try this creamy snack that doubles as a sneakily nutritious dessert. Blend together the following:
- One ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (full-fat coconut milk makes it especially creamy)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1-3 tablespoons sweetener of choice (test to sweeten to your liking; you can also add pitted dates).
3. Avocado and hummus wrap
This one is simple: Warm a tortilla (whole wheat or brown rice varieties are great options), spread half of an avocado and a healthy dollop of hummus on top. Load it up with more veggies and protein if you'd like: things like arugula, sprouts, and shredded grilled chicken make for a nutrient-packed wrap, which could also serve as a full lunch.
Pro Tip: One way to keep an avocado fresher longer after it's been cut: brush some olive oil on the green flesh and tightly wrap with plastic wrap so that no air can get inside.
Nuts and Seeds
1. Energy balls
There are endless ways to make these little balls of joy, and they're such a great treat, especially when you're craving something sweet. Here's your base:
- 1 cup nut of choice
- 1.5 cups pitted Medjool dates
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2. Coconut-chia pudding
Small but potent, the chia seed has often been coined a superfood because of its high amounts of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. This recipe needs to be made at least the night before consumption. Mix the following:
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- About 2-3 teaspoons of sweetener of choice (like raw honey or maple syrup).
3. Dark chocolate and nuts
Perhaps the simplest but most satisfying snack here: grab a handful of nuts and/or seeds (no more than 1/4 cup in a sitting — it's easy to overdo it) and one square of dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher). Eat. Enjoy.
Pro Tip: If you have time, soak the nuts and seeds (not flax or chia, though) in advance (around 8-24 hours is best) to help your body absorb more nutrients.
1. Mini egg frittatas
A batch of these could get you through the week and beyond. Grab a muffin pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together 8 eggs
- Add in diced veggies, meats, and cheeses as desired (up to about 1 or 2 cups)
- Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- Pour into greased muffin pan and bake until set in the middle, about 20 minutes.
2. Boiled egg salad
Boiled eggs are some of the easiest protein-packed snacks to prepare. For soft-boiled: boil for 6 minutes; for hard-boiled: boil for 10 minutes. Place in ice water for at least a minute. These can last stored in the fridge for up to one week.
When ready to eat, peel, add a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and slice. For a full salad, add extras like sliced avocado and tomato, and splash with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil.
3. One-minute scrambled eggs with herbs
Beat a raw egg with a little whole fat milk and pour into a microwave-safe mug. Heat for a minute. Add dashes of sea salt, pepper, turmeric, and any other herbs and spices on hand.
For a healthier boost: add pre-diced onions, peppers, or other veggies. Top with sauerkraut for a nice, big dose of probiotics.
Pro Tip: Look for "pastured" eggs (not just free-range). Yes, they're pricier, but they'll get you much more bang for your buck: pastured eggs are typically higher in nutrients, including omega-3s, Vitamins D and B12
Instead of reaching for the chips, the cereal, or the donuts — all guaranteed to send your energy and motivation into a downward spiral — try to carve out a little extra time before work (Sundays are also great kitchen prep days) to prepare some of these healthy snacks. It's amazing what a satisfied stomach can do for your brain and your overall well-being. And if you're feeling extra generous, be sure to share with a hangry coworker.