33 Healthy Office Snacks to Keep You Energized and Productive
Still, coming up with ideas for snacks that are easy to prep, healthy, and portable can be difficult.
Here are 33 simple and healthy snacks for work.
1. Nuts and Dried Fruit
Nuts and dried fruit make for a healthy, non-perishable snack mix.
This filling combo has a good balance of all three macronutrients, with healthy fats and protein from nuts and carbs from dried fruit. What's more, both foods are loaded with fiber that can help keep you full between meals (1, 2 Trusted Source).
2. Bell Peppers and Guacamole
Guacamole is a delicious dip typically made from avocados, lime, onion, and cilantro. It goes great with bell pepper slices or other raw veggies.
3. Brown Rice Cakes and Avocado
Be sure to look for rice cakes that are made with only rice and salt and don't have unnecessary ingredients.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are a non-perishable snack that's high in protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals.
A 1/2 cup (125 grams) of chickpeas has 5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. What's more, they contain most of the amino acids your body needs, so their protein is considered to be of higher quality than that of other legumes (7, 8 Trusted Source).
To make roasted chickpeas, drain a can of chickpeas and pat dry. Toss them in olive oil, sea salt, and seasonings of your choice, and bake on a lined baking sheet at 350℉ (180℃) for 40 minutes.
5. Tuna Pouches
Vacuum-sealed tuna pouches are convenient snacks that don't need to be drained and can be stored and eaten at work.
6. Apples and Peanut Butter
Apple slices with natural peanut butter make for a delicious, satisfying snack.
Peanut butter contributes protein and healthy fats, while apples are high in fiber and water, making them particularly filling. In fact, 1 medium apple (182 grams) is over 85% water and has more than 4 grams of fiber (12).
Jerky is a shelf-stable, high-protein snack that can satisfy your hunger during the workday.
One ounce (28 grams) of beef jerky has 8 grams of protein for only 70 calories. What's more, it's rich in iron, an important mineral for maintaining blood health and energy levels (13, 14 Trusted Source).
Look for jerky that is uncured, low in sodium, and made from few ingredients. You can also find turkey, chicken, and salmon jerky if you don't eat red meat.
8. Homemade Granola
Granola keeps well in your desk drawer for a quick snack.
As most store-bought varieties are high in added sugars and contain unhealthy vegetable oils that may increase inflammation in your body, it's best to make your own (15 Trusted Source).
Simply combine rolled oats, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and cashews in a mixture of melted coconut oil and honey, spread the mix out on a lined baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes at low heat.
This combination is wholesome, balanced, and rich in complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats. Plus, the soluble fiber in oats may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health (16 Trusted Source).
9. Greek Yogurt
Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt is a convenient work snack that's higher in protein than regular yogurt.
A 6-ounce (170-gram) container of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt has 17 grams of protein for only 140 calories. Plus, it's loaded with calcium, a mineral that's important for strong bones and teeth (17, 18 Trusted Source).
To make this treat even more tasty and filling, add healthy fruit and nuts.
Edamame are immature soybeans that can be enjoyed steamed, cooked, or dried.
They're loaded with high-quality, plant-based protein. In fact, studies show that the protein in soy is just as satisfying as beef protein and may aid appetite control and weight loss (19 Trusted Source, 20 Trusted Source).
Popcorn is a nutritious and satisfying snack for work that's high in fiber and low in calories. Two cups (16 grams) of air-popped popcorn provide 62 calories, 12 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and several vitamins and minerals (21).
12. Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Protein-rich cottage cheese and fruit is a healthy snack that's perfect for work. It's low in calories but loaded with nutrients. A 1/2 cup (113 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese has 12 grams of protein and 10% of the DV for calcium for only 80 calories (24).
You can bring pre-portioned servings of cottage cheese to work and top it with a fruit, such as sliced berries, and a healthy fat source like pumpkin seeds.
13. Baked Veggie Chip
Baked or dehydrated veggie chips are a wholesome, shelf-stable snack. However, some store-bought varieties are made with vegetable oils, such as canola or soybean oil, and contain unnecessary additives.
Making your own veggie chips allows you to control the ingredients you use.
Thinly slice sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, or radishes and brush them with a small amount of olive oil. Bake on a lined baking sheet at 225℉ (110℃) for approximately 2 hours.
14. Ants on a Log
Ants on a log are a healthy snack made with celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins. They contain healthy fats, protein, and slow-burning carbs and fiber that can provide a boost of energy for your workday (25, 26, 27).
What's more, celery is mostly water, which makes it particularly filling for a low-calorie food (25).
15. Homemade Energy Balls
Energy balls are typically made from oats, nut butter, a sweetener, and other add-ins like dried fruit and coconut.
To make your own, combine 1 cup (80 grams) of rolled oats with 1/2 cup (128 grams) of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flax seeds, 1/4 cup (85 grams) of honey, and 1/4 cup (45 grams) of dark chocolate chips.
Roll spoonfuls of the mix into bite-sized balls and enjoy as a treat throughout your workday.
You can find many other energy ball recipes online or in specialized books.
16. Oatmeal Packets
Keeping plain, unsweetened oatmeal packets on hand at work is a great way to stay prepared with healthy snacks.
17. Carrots and Hummus
Hummus is a delicious dip made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice that goes great with carrots.
Eating foods with beta carotene can help boost immunity and promote optimal vision and eye health (33).
18. Dark-Chocolate-Covered Nuts
Dark-chocolate-covered nuts are a nutritious, sweet treat that you can enjoy at the office.
Plus, nuts contribute protein and healthy fats that can help fill you up (35).
Look for brands that don't contain added sugars and use dark chocolate with at least 50% total cocoa content, as it has more antioxidants than other varieties (34 Trusted Source).
19. Reheatable Egg Muffins
Egg muffins made from beaten eggs, veggies, and cheese are a healthy, on-the-go food.
To make your own egg muffins, combine beaten raw eggs with chopped veggies and shredded cheese. Pour the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 375℉ (190℃) for 15–20 minutes.
To reheat an egg muffin at work, place it in the microwave for 60–90 seconds or until it's warmed through.
20. Clementines and Almonds
Clementines and almonds are two healthy foods that you can easily eat at work for a mid-afternoon snack.
21. String Cheese
String cheese is a convenient snack full of beneficial nutrients.
One string cheese (28 grams) has 80 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 15% of the DV for calcium. Eating low-calorie foods that are high in protein can help fill you up, decrease overall calorie intake, and aid weight loss (41, 42 Trusted Source).
22. Spiced Cashews
Spiced cashews make for a highly nutritious snack. They contain heart-healthy fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. What's more, these nuts are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are vital for proper eye function (43, 44 Trusted Source).
To make this tasty treat, toss raw cashews in olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and ginger. Spread them on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven at 325℉ (165℃) for 12–15 minutes.
You can also buy spiced cashews in stores and online. Just be sure to select a variety that uses minimal, natural ingredients.
23. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups
Turkey and cheese roll-ups are convenient, high-protein snacks.
Turkey is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B6, a nutrient that's essential for energy production. Plus, cheese is loaded with important nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D (45, 46).
24. Smoked Salmon on Whole-Grain Crackers
Smoked salmon is a highly nutritious snack that's rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids that act as powerful anti-inflammatories and may help reduce your risk of conditions, such as heart disease and depression (11 Trusted Source, 47, 48 Trusted Source).
Pair smoked salmon with 100% whole-grain or brown-rice crackers for a healthy, satisfying work snack.
25. Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed snacks are crispy squares sliced from sheets of seaweed that have been dried and seasoned with salt.
They're low in calories and very high in iodine, a mineral that's critical for thyroid health (49 Trusted Source).
You can buy seaweed snacks locally or online. Look for varieties with few ingredients, such as seaweed, olive oil, and salt.
26. Avocado on Sourdough Toast
Avocado on sourdough toast is a healthy snack that you can make at work. Sourdough is made through a fermentation process and may have similar properties to pre- and probiotics (50 Trusted Source).
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed your gut bacteria, whereas probiotics are health-promoting gut bacteria. They work together to promote optimal gut health and digestion (51 Trusted Source).
Adding avocado to sourdough toast contributes additional fiber and healthy fats to make a more filling snack.
27. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are one of the most convenient and nutritious snacks.
In fact, eggs contain a small amount of almost every nutrient that you need. One large egg (50 grams) packs over 6 grams of protein, in addition to iron, calcium, choline, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D, among other nutrients (36).
28. Brie and Grapes
Brie cheese and grapes are a tasty snack combo that's easy to prep.
Grapes are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6, while brie is rich in protein, fat, and vitamins A and B12. Eating them together provides a good balance of carbs, proteins, and fats that can help you feel energized and full (52, 53).
29. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a portable and shelf-stable snack that you can keep at your desk.
Just 1/4 cup (30 grams) of pumpkin seeds has 180 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 15% of the DV for iron and 14 grams of filling fat, most of which is from heart-healthy unsaturated fats. They're also particularly high in the immune-boosting mineral zinc (54, 55 Trusted Source, 56 Trusted Source).
To make roasted pumpkin seeds, toss raw seeds in olive oil and sea salt. Lay them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 300℉ (150℃).
30. Frozen Yogurt Bark
Frozen yogurt bark is a refreshing treat made from plain Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, such as blueberries, that you can store in your work freezer.
To make this tasty treat, mix plain Greek yogurt with blueberries or strawberries and spread it on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes or until it's cold enough to break into pieces.
31. Green Smoothies
Bringing green smoothies to work is an easy way to enjoy a nutritious snack on the go.
You can make them with spinach, frozen bananas, a scoop of nut butter, protein powder, and either plant-based or cow's milk. This provides a good balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fat, making your smoothie a filling treat (26, 59, 60, 61).
32. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is usually made with chia seeds, milk, vanilla, fruit, and a sweetener.
Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious and high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, and calcium. In fact, 2 tablespoons (35 grams) of chia seeds provide over 16% of the DV for calcium and 32% of the DV for fiber (62).
Some studies in humans suggest that adding chia seeds to your breakfast may help increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake, which may aid weight loss (63 Trusted Source).
To make chia pudding, combine 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of chia seeds with 1 cup (240 ml) of milk in a glass jar. Add sliced fruit, pumpkin seeds, a bit of maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Let it sit in the fridge overnight and grab it on your way to work in the morning.
You can buy chia seeds in most supermarkets or online.
33. Homemade Protein Bars
Store-bought protein bars are often loaded with added sugars, though wholesome varieties with limited ingredients are available as well.
If you want complete control over what's in your protein treat, make your own with healthy ingredients like seeds, nuts, nut butters, coconut, and dried fruit.
Add natural sweetness with maple syrup or honey.
You can find countless recipes online and in specialized cookbooks.
The Bottom Line
Having healthy snacks on hand at work is a great way to stay energized and productive.
The wholesome snacks in this list are easy to make, portable, nutritious, and can be stored at your desk or in a work kitchen.
With such tasty options, you can easily stick to a healthy diet at home, at work, and on the go.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Bob Jacobs
Hanako, a female Asian elephant, lived in a tiny concrete enclosure at Japan's Inokashira Park Zoo for more than 60 years, often in chains, with no stimulation. In the wild, elephants live in herds, with close family ties. Hanako was solitary for the last decade of her life.
Hanako, an Asian elephant kept at Japan's Inokashira Park Zoo; and Kiska, an orca that lives at Marineland Canada. One image depicts Kiska's damaged teeth. Elephants in Japan (left image), Ontario Captive Animal Watch (right image), CC BY-ND
Affecting Health and Altering Behavior<p>It is easy to observe the overall health and psychological consequences of life in captivity for these animals. Many captive elephants suffer from arthritis, obesity or skin problems. Both <a href="https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2620.1826-36" target="_blank">elephants</a> and orcas often have severe dental problems. Captive orcas are plagued by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2019.05.005" target="_blank">pneumonia, kidney disease, gastrointestinal illnesses and infections</a>.</p><p>Many animals <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.010" target="_blank">try to cope</a> with captivity by adopting abnormal behaviors. Some develop "<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2017.05.003" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stereotypies</a>," which are repetitive, purposeless habits such as constantly bobbing their heads, swaying incessantly or chewing on the bars of their cages. Others, especially big cats, pace their enclosures. Elephants rub or break their tusks.</p>
Changing Brain Structure<p>Neuroscientific research indicates that living in an impoverished, stressful captive environment <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2019.05.005" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">physically damages the brain</a>. These changes have been documented in many <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.903270108" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">species</a>, including rodents, rabbits, cats and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/nimg.2001.0917" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">humans</a>.</p><p>Although researchers have directly studied some animal brains, most of what we know comes from observing animal behavior, analyzing stress hormone levels in the blood and applying knowledge gained from a half-century of neuroscience research. Laboratory research also suggests that mammals in a zoo or aquarium have compromised brain function.</p>
This illustration shows differences in the brain's cerebral cortex in animals held in impoverished (captive) and enriched (natural) environments. Impoverishment results in thinning of the cortex, a decreased blood supply, less support for neurons and decreased connectivity among neurons. Arnold B. Scheibel, CC BY-ND<p>Subsisting in confined, barren quarters that lack intellectual stimulation or appropriate social contact seems to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1590/S0001-37652001000200006" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">thin the cerebral cortex</a> – the part of the brain involved in voluntary movement and higher cognitive function, including memory, planning and decision-making.</p><p>There are other consequences. Capillaries shrink, depriving the brain of the oxygen-rich blood it needs to survive. Neurons become smaller, and their dendrites – the branches that form connections with other neurons – become less complex, impairing communication within the brain. As a result, the cortical neurons in captive animals <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.901230110" target="_blank">process information less efficiently</a> than those living in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.420020208" target="_blank">enriched, more natural environments</a>.</p>
An actual cortical neuron in a wild African elephant living in its natural habitat compared with a hypothesized cortical neuron from a captive elephant. Bob Jacobs, CC BY-ND<p>Brain health is also affected by living in small quarters that <a href="https://doi.org/10.3233/BPL-160040" target="_blank">don't allow for needed exercise</a>. Physical activity increases the flow of blood to the brain, which requires large amounts of oxygen. Exercise increases the production of new connections and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw2622" target="_blank">enhances cognitive abilities</a>.</p><p>In their native habits these animals must move to survive, covering great distances to forage or find a mate. Elephants typically travel anywhere from <a href="https://www.elephantsforafrica.org/elephant-facts/#:%7E:text=How%20far%20do%20elephants%20walk,km%20on%20a%20daily%20basis." target="_blank">15 to 120 miles per day</a>. In a zoo, they average <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150331" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">three miles daily</a>, often walking back and forth in small enclosures. One free orca studied in Canada swam <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-010-0958-x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">up to 156 miles a day</a>; meanwhile, an average orca tank is about 10,000 times smaller than its <a href="https://www.cascadiaresearch.org/projects/killer-whales/using-dtags-study-acoustics-and-behavior-southern" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">natural home range</a>.</p>
Disrupting Brain Chemistry and Killing Cells<p>Living in enclosures that restrict or prevent normal behavior creates chronic frustration and boredom. In the wild, an animal's stress-response system helps it escape from danger. But captivity traps animals with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1215502109" target="_blank">almost no control</a> over their environment.</p><p>These situations foster <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/rev0000033" target="_blank">learned helplessness</a>, negatively impacting the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6391686" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hippocampus</a>, which handles memory functions, and the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.02.024" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">amygdala</a>, which processes emotions. Prolonged stress <a href="https://doi.org/10.3109/10253899609001092" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">elevates stress hormones</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.10-09-02897.1990" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">damages or even kills neurons</a> in both brain regions. It also disrupts the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2005.03.021" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">delicate balance of serotonin</a>, a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood, among other functions.</p><p>In humans, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/nimg.2001.0917" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">deprivation</a> can trigger <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00367" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">psychiatric issues</a>, including depression, anxiety, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00367" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mood disorders</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1073858409333072" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">post-traumatic stress disorder</a>. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-010-0288-3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Elephants</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0050139" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">orcas</a> and other animals with large brains are likely to react in similar ways to life in a severely stressful environment.</p>
Damaged Wiring<p>Captivity can damage the brain's complex circuitry, including the basal ganglia. This group of neurons communicates with the cerebral cortex along two networks: a direct pathway that enhances movement and behavior, and an indirect pathway that inhibits them.</p><p>The repetitive, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.057" target="_blank">stereotypic behaviors</a> that many animals adopt in captivity are caused by an imbalance of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.02.004" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">serotonin</a>. This impairs the indirect pathway's ability to modulate movement, a condition documented in species from chickens, cows, sheep and horses to primates and big cats.</p>
The cerebral cortex, hippocampus and amygdala are physically altered by captivity, along with brain circuitry that involves the basal ganglia. Bob Jacobs, CC BY-ND<p>Evolution has constructed animal brains to be exquisitely responsive to their environment. Those reactions can affect neural function by <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/311787/behave-by-robert-m-sapolsky/" target="_blank">turning different genes on or off</a>. Living in inappropriate or abusive circumstance alters biochemical processes: It disrupts the synthesis of proteins that build connections between brain cells and the neurotransmitters that facilitate communication among them.</p><p>There is strong evidence that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0577-11.2011" target="_blank">enrichment</a>, social contact and appropriate space in more natural habitats are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1090.2003.tb02071.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">necessary</a> for long-lived animals with large brains such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152490" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">elephants</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/13880292.2017.1309858" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cetaceans</a>. Better conditions <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5543669/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce disturbing sterotypical behaviors</a>, improve connections in the brain, and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/cdd.2009.193" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">trigger neurochemical changes</a> that enhance learning and memory.</p>