The chat box popped up on my email screen. “Bagels in the kitchen leftover from a meeting, FYI.” And even though I hadn’t been the least bit hungry a mere five seconds ago, my stomach grumbled as soon as I imagined the doughy, hearty goodness of a lightly toasted everything bagel with a schmear of cream cheese. Not exactly a healthy option, but it sounded so. good.
I’m a health-concious person—I know that grabbing a snack like this will just end up making me more hungry and spike my blood sugar levels. But it can be hard to resist goodies in the office breakroom or to turn a blind eye to the vending machine full of candy when you’re having a really tough day.
Solution? Keep a snack drawer. Yes, an entire drawer dedicated to healthy snacks and treats might sound excessive, but trust me when I say it’s totally necessary. Keeping supplies on hand will keep you from mindlessly snacking on whatever’s available—and it ensures that you’ll never go into a meeting hangry. Stock up on these items to keep at your desk in case of snacking emergencies.
7 healthy snack options
1. Water bottle
Staying hydrated is key to keeping focused and not letting your hunger get the best of you. Invest in a 20 to 32 ounce water bottle and aim to fill it up at least three times during the workday.
But we get that endless H2O can be boring—and sometimes you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up that’s slightly caffeinated and has a little flavor. Grab a few boxes of tea to help with cravings and encourage hydration. Yerba mate green tea is an excellent option to war of post-lunch nap time feels because of it’s got more caffeine than regular green tea, but all the health benefits. And herbal or fruity teas can be particularly helpful for deterring snacking; David’s Tea and Teavana both have tons of flavors to choose from!
If you only keep one thing in your drawer, make it a bar of rich dark chocolate. We’re talking about the stuff that has zero dairy, and very little sugar. Anecdotally, dark chocolate is considered the healthiest option because it’s made from cacao, which is loaded with antioxidants. Turns out those antioxidants are rendered useless when exposed to dairy—so for the best benefits, grab a very dark chocolate bar. Bonus: The super-rich taste will keep you from snacking on the whole bar … Probably.
4. Nut butter
Almond, cashew, peanut—we’ll take ‘em all, please. Nut butters are excellent to keep on hand because they’re high in healthy fats and fiber, which keep you satiated and energized. Slather your butter of choice onto rice cakes, apple slices, veggies, or eat it right off the spoon.
Shop: Nuttzo Seven Seed Nut Butter
It doesn’t seem very chic, but jerky actually makes for a pretty healthy and protein-dense snack. Just make sure to grab a bag that’s organically sourced and sulfate-free—we like Krave and Epic’s versions because they come in a range of low-sugar flavors and different types of protein.
6. High-quality protein bars
It’s not ideal, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time to take a lunch break. On super busy days, you’ll need to eat something a little more sustaining so you don’t lose focus and brainpower. Keep a few protein bars in your drawer for these types of emergencies. Look for bars that have at least 20 grams of protein, less than five grams of sugar, and contain ingredients that you can recognize. All-natural and organic is definitely the way to go! We’re obsessed with Rx Bars because they’re light, simple, and tasty.
Shop: Rx Bar Pumpkin Spice
7. Salt, pepper, and spices
Never underestimate the flavor-boosting power of good salt! For those days when you bring lunch to work or run out for a sandwich, keep pink Himalayan salt or Maldon salt and a small pepper grinder at your desk. It’ll elevate your meals just enough—you’ll almost forget you’re eating at your desk!
Shop: Maldon sea salt
Armed with these healthy goodies, you’ll do less pointless snacking and more mindful eating. Those bagels in the kitchen? They’re no match for you. Now go send some (nice) emails!
Photo credit: iStock