If you want to feel more energized and productive at work, it’s important to fuel your body with the right foods.
This means eating foods that slow down digestion and deliver a steady source of energy to keep your blood sugar at a constant level throughout the day.
As part of selecting the right foods to eat, you should also focus on eating the proper portion sizes of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Below are six foods you can pack and bring to work with you. They can be combined to make a lunch meal, or spread throughout your day as smaller snacks.
1. Nuts and seeds
Common favorites include almonds, peanuts (including natural peanut butter), sunflower seeds, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. But don’t stop there, experiment with all of the different kinds out there.
Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein to help keep you satisfied. Add them to yogurt, salads, or simply snack on them.
A serving of nuts or seeds adds up to around 180 calories. If you want to see what a serving size of nuts or seeds look like, check this out.
Keep clean, fresh fruit on your desk for a quick and easy snack that’s high in water and fiber to help fill you up and give you a healthy dose of antioxidants and other important nutrients.
Try dipping apple or banana slices in natural peanut butter for a doubly nutritious snack. Or carry those delicious little mandarin oranges with you when you’ll be away from your desk for a while.
Popcorn can be a great whole grain snack. However, the way you prepare it can change how healthy it is. It’s best to purchase organic kernels to avoid pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and make it using an air popper or on the stove top.
Air popped popcorn only has 31 calories per cup and oil popped popcorn has about 55 calories per cup. While there are currently healthier versions of microwave popcorn on the market, the bags are lined with potentially harmful chemicals.
A better alternative to prepackaged microwave popcorn is to make your own. Put 3-4 tablespoons of popcorn kernels into a brown paper lunch bag, fold the top over and place it in the middle of the microwave. Microwave it on high for about 2 minutes or until the popping decreases to about one pop every two seconds. Season with spices and/or herbs or lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Eggs are a good source of satisfying protein and some fat, plus choline, vitamin D, and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. You should eat the entire egg because most of the nutrients are in the yolk. One hard-boiled egg has about 78 calories and 6 grams of protein.
Cook up some hard boiled eggs for a convenient protein-filled snack or slice a few up and put them in a salad.
5. Greek yogurt
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is rich, creamy, and satisfying. It’s thicker than regular yogurt because it has some of the liquid strained out of it, but it has close to the same number of calories, about 136 calories in every 8 ounces. Greek yogurt has roughly twice as much protein compared to regular yogurt, 15-20 grams versus 9-11 grams, and contains more gut-healthy probiotics.
Choose plain, organic varieties whenever possible. Pre-sweetened yogurts are often high in sugar and non-organic can contain unhealthy additives. Sweeten yogurt yourself with pure honey or maple syrup or fresh or frozen berries.
6. Raw vegetables and hummus
This healthy snack is loaded with antioxidants and fiber to help hold you over until your next meal. One 3 ounce serving of raw vegetables and humus has about 145 calories, and the raw vegetables you dip are virtually calorie-free, so eat them up.
Be sure to read the ingredients on store-bought hummus as some brands can have unhealthy added fillers, high fructose corn syrup, or preservatives.