Ever gotten to that 3:00 pm point in your work day (or 9:30 am … or 11:00 am … or 2:00 pm … we’re not picky here at GKG with our noshiness) and felt like this?
But how to stave off the “hanger” … ? Here’s the best way I know:
Pre-pack nutritious snacks with Carbs, Protein, and (yes!) Fat
Recently, as part of the “Game On!” food / nutrition challenge that THT and I have been trying this month, I’ve had to follow the game’s rules about having 5 meals a day. Not 5 huge meals, but instead, 5 small meals that equal your normal calorie consumption.
With my regular meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner — this has been, thankfully, a bit of a no-brainer. Those meals usually look like this:
BREAKFAST: 1 serving of plain Greek Yogurt [protein], 1 sliced banana [carb], 1 serving Bob’s Red Mill ground Flaxseed Meal [fat]. (I also add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey — natural sweeteners are A-ok!)
LUNCH: Salad topped with 1 grilled chicken breast (palm-size serving), cut into chunks [protein], a handful of almonds [fat], and various veggies. I’ll also have a whole wheat pita / tortilla [carb] on the side, or grab some corn or black beans from the salad bar.
DINNER: Varies a lot — THT and I have gotten creative! — but includes things like turkey chili [protein and veggies], brown rice [carb], and olive oil in the chili [fat] or a spoonful of PB / Almond Butter with celery sticks. We’ll also make fish packets — post pending! They’re a-MAZE-ing and so, so easy — or stir-fry dishes. Easy-peasy.
But snacks? While I’m kind of a professional snacker (a.k.a. if I could graze all day, I most definitely would … ), packing snacks for work seemed tricky. Since I’d have to avoid the baked, fried, and generally hydrogenated perils of the teacher’s lounge (where pastries to go die … or, rather, get eaten immediately), I knew packing my own snacks was the way to go.
Image sourced from google.com. Resist!
With the Protein – Carb – Fat combo in mind, I came up with these 4 tried-and-true snack combinations. They work so well for the office, are easy to pack, and some could even be stored in your workplace fridge or in your desk / cubicle. Dig in, eat up, and don’t get hangry!
Snack One: Almond Butter with Celery, Carrots, and Bananas
Image sourced from innerscientist.com
Almond butter is officially my new best friend — you know, with that excited feeling that you get when you meet someone AWESOME and just want to hang out all the time. While I’ve slathered almond butter on tortillas, toast, and even into a bowl of yogurt (just try it — you’ll agree after a spoonful), my favorite way to eat the stuff is with a little bit of produce.
The night before, pack a plastic bag with carrot sticks and celery sticks. Tuck a banana into your lunchbag for good measure. Then, spoon a serving of almond butter (most packages call for 2 tbsp, which is actually pretty generous. Even 1 tbsp works for me!) into a small Tupperware-style container. Done-zo. Delicious … zo.
NOTE: If you’d like to try making your own almond butter, check out my post!
Snack Two: Part-Skim Cheese and Whole Grains
Image sourced from Seriouseats.com.
Sure, “cheese and crackers” sounds pretty basic, and not terribly healthy. But here’s where things get more creative: Mix-and-match your part-skim string cheese with various sources of whole grain. A few of my favorites:
- Strips of whole wheat tortilla
- Low-sodium Triscuits
- A slice of whole grain toast, cut into cubes or eaten as-is
- Cubed and steamed sweet potatoes (nuked and ready in 5 minutes!)
- Steamed peas — tuck ‘em in Gladware and eat with a spoon.
Snack Three: Hard-Boiled Egg Wraps
Image sourced from BakedBree.com. Check out her fabulous blog for more ideas!
Know how easy it is to hard boil a few eggs in advance? Here are the steps, courtesy of my Cooking Bible, a.k.a. my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.
- Boil a pot of water.
- Add eggs and remove pot from heat.
- Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Remove. Let cool. Eat.
To make my favorite hard-boiled egg wrap, take a serving of Lavash bread (50 calories!); add baby spinach leaves, sliced cucumbers, and 1 sliced hard-boiled egg. Sprinkle with salt & either olive or a little truffle oil, if you’re feeling decadent! Roll up and mangia.
If you’re packing ahead, it’s easy to whip up one of these wraps and tuck it in tin foil, a plastic bag or even a small Gladware container.
Snack Four: Pre-Packed Greek Yogurt Parfait
In a small Gladware container, combine 1 serving plain Greek yogurt (Plain! Check the sugar content on flavored varieties and you’ll see why. *Shudder*), 1 cup of frozen fruit (I like raspberries, blueberries, and even sliced peaches), a drizzle of honey, and either a dash of Flaxseed meal, a handful of chopped nuts, or a spoonful of almond butter. Refrigerate overnight or until read to eat.
The reason why this method works? The frozen fruit will do two amazing things: first, it’ll semi-thaw in the fridge without any labor on your part. Second, it semi-freezes the yogurt into totally healthy frozen yogurt. What’s not to love?
What are your go-to at-work snacks? Do you scavenge a chocolate drawer, or pack some goodies in a lunchbox? What’s your anti-hangry plan? Happy eating!