can actually be good for you as long as you choose healthy foods in the right proportions.
Here is a list of 15 tasty snacks that are perfect for work breaks. While most of them require a refrigerator or a microwave, a few can be stashed in your desk for an easy midday nibble.
1- Hummus and Carrots
Hummus is made from chickpeas and sesame oil, so it's high in protein and an excellent source of healthy fat and fiber. Carrots are high in vitamin A and potassium, so the pairing makes a balanced and satisfying snack. As far as calories go, one-half cup of hummus has about 200 calories, while eight baby carrots have only about 30 calories.
Hummus is also good with baked pita chips or pieces of pita bread. Or try other fresh veggies like celery, broccoli, or cauliflower.
2- A Small Sandwich (brown bread)
A regular lunch-sized sandwich is probably too big for an afternoon snack, so pack a smaller version. Choose whole grain bread, lots of veggies, and maybe a slice or two of ham or lean turkey breast. A small sandwich like this offers plenty of vitamins and minerals with less than 300 calories.
Another great snack is a "grown-up" peanut butter and jelly sandwichmade with whole grain bread, exotic nut butter, and fruit spreads.
3- Yogurt and Fruit
Yogurt can be an excellent addition to any diet but can be transformed into something not-so-good if it's mixed with sugary mix-ins. Opt for plain Greek yogurt in a single-serve container with plenty of fresh fruit.
Packed with calcium, protein, and probiotics, a work break yogurt snack will only set you back 150 calories. Pecans and a drizzle of honey are also a nice touch.
4- Avocado Rice Cakes
A plain rice cake is low in calories and relatively bland, so it makes a nice base for almost any topping. You can stash the rice cakes in your desk and bring something along like an egg salad. Two rice cakes topped with a quarter cup of egg salad have about 8 grams of protein, 260 calories, and plenty of zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
Other tasty toppings include plain yogurt with honey and berries, sliced avocados with lime juice, or cottage cheese with sliced tomato.
5- Low fat and sugar Popcorn
Popcorn counts as a whole grain because it is high in fiber. It's also low in calories as long as you don't cover it with melted butter. Keep a few bags of microwave popcorn handy for a quick, healthy snack. One regular-sized bag has less than 300 calories. You can also buy single-serving sizes.
If plain popcorn sounds boring, sprinkle Parmesan cheese or mixed seasoning blends on top.
6- Tuna and Crackers
For an extra-health stack, grab some whole wheat crackers, slice a stalk of celery, and open a resealable packet of tuna. Together, this quick and easy treat can deliver high amounts of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Six crackers and 3 ounces of tuna have no more than 200 calories total.
If plain tuna it too dry for you, you could make a tuna salad at home or simply bring along a packet of low-fat mayo. Always buy tuna packed in water rather than oil.
7- Crispbread and Cottage Cheese
Crispbread is a flat, dry cracker-like bread typically made with rye flour but also available in whole wheat and multigrain. They're nice and crunchy on their own but even better topped with spreads and cheese. Cottage cheese is an especially good choice because it is high in calcium and protein and relatively low in fat and calories.
Three pieces of crispbread, each topped with two tablespoons of low-fat cottage cheese, totals a mere 170 calories. Add a nice herbal note with chives or a dash of acidity and spice with storebought salsa. You can also top crispbread with nut butter or slices of lean ham, cheese, and lingonberry preserve.
8- Fresh Fruit and Nuts
Sometimes the best snacks are the simplest. Fresh fruit and nuts are one such example. One pear and a dozen almonds had less than 200 calories with plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. You can also try apples with walnuts or bananas with pecans. For a really tasty treat, pair the fruit and nuts with a complementary cheese (such as cheddar with apple or blue cheese with pear).
9- Fresh Veggies and Dip
If you like dip, skip the tortillas and crackers and bring along carrots sticks, zucchini slices, cucumber rounds, radish halves, and other favorite vegetables. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, plus they're loaded with vitamins and minerals. Most of your calories will come from the dip: 2 tablespoons of a typical store-bought veggie dip have around 150 calories, bringing your total tally to no more than 220.
10- A Small Salad
A cool, crisp salad can help tide you over until dinner time. Pack your favorite mix of salad greens, vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts into a resealable container. Then pack another with salad dressing or vinaigrette. Don't add the dressing until you're ready to eat as this will make your salad soggy. A small garden salad is low in calories and offers plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
11- Trail Mix
Trail mix is typically a combination of nuts and dried fruit, and possibly cereal or granola. You can find all kinds of unusual varieties at grocery stores, or you can make it at home. Trail mix is one of those snacks you can keep in your desk drawer for a few days, so it's nice to have around if you don't have a refrigerator.
Trail mix can be high in calories, so be sure to read the nutrition label if you are trying to lose weight. Some are packed with sugar or toasted in coconut oils that are rich in saturated fat. To ensure portion control, divide the granola into single-serving portions.
12- Instant Oatmeal and Raisins
Oatmeal makes a great breakfast, and there's no reason it can't work as a healthy snack. While you are probably not going to cook up a batch in the break room, you can easily pop a single-serve cup of instant oatmeal in the microwave and enjoy a warming and a nutritious midday snack. Add some raisins for extra flavor, fiber, and iron. Avoid the brands that high in brown sugar, maple syrup, and other sugars.
13- Cup of Soup
A cup of soup can be a warm and soothing treat on a cold winter's day. Leftover soup can be a great snack to take to work the next day, or you can buy single serving microwavable soups. Calorie counts vary considerably, so look closely at the labels for nutrition information. Also, note that many commercial varieties are also high in fat and sodium.
14- Guacamole on Celery Sticks
You may be used to serving guacamole with tortilla chips, but you can drop several calories and unnecessary fat by spreading guacamole on crisp celery sticks. Guacamole is made with avocado, so it's high in monounsaturated fats and nutrients. One-half cup has about 180 calories.
Opt for baked tortilla chips rather than fried or choose whole grain crackers as a healthy alternative.
15- Apples and Peanut Butter
This snack is similar to fruit and nuts, but far more filling and satisfying. Apples are high in fiber and available in numerous varieties from crisp and tart to juicy and sweet. Pair it with peanut or almond butter with no added sugar; it really doesn't need it.