When the 4 p.m. hunger pangs hit, don’t leave yourself at the mercy
of the vending machine or your coworker’s candy dish. If you keep
your desk drawer stocked with these five snacks that don't require
refrigeration, you'll have healthy options for that late afternoon
1. Roasted beans. Replace super-salty chips with beans cooked to a crispy crunch--they're
packed with protein, fiber and healthy nutrients. They can be made from
scratch with just about any seasoning you want, such as oil and vinegar,
lemon zest, garlic powder or lime-chili; they can also be bought at grocery
stores as prepared snacks, often in several flavor varieties. Chickpeas
are probably the most well known, but pinto, black and butter beans can
be used as well.
2. Fruit leather. Many of us remember chewy fruit roll-ups packed in our school lunches,
but there are homemade versions that avoid added sugars or artificial
flavors. There are many recipes online (look for ones that don't use
extra sweeteners, but instead incorporate natural flavorings such as lemon
juice, vanilla extract or cinnamon)--basically puree the fruit and any
flavor agents, spread it on a baking sheet and let it dry out in an oven
for several hours at a low temperature.
3. Canned fish and crackers. Working overtime at the office? Snack on protein-packed canned fish such
as tuna or salmon to get you through the long day, and give it some textural
crunch with whole-grain crackers. Both salmon and tuna also have lots
of good omega-3 fatty acids that keep the body functioning well and can
help guard against things such as heart disease.Tuna has a higher mercury
level than salmon, so if you want to opt for the former, look for the
light variety packed in water. Ideally for any fish, the can shouldn't
have BPA, which could cause health issues, but it should have a label
certifying it is sustainable from the Marine Stewardship Council. That
label signifies a fishery uses environmentally responsible practices to
maintain the fish population without damaging their ecosystems.
4. Seaweed snacks. Like the beans, seaweed roasted to a crisp makes for a crunchy, savory
alternative to chips. Food manufacturers offer seaweed snacks in flavors
such as sesame and wasabi, but there's nothing wrong with plain olive
oil. Check the labels to make sure there's a minimum of added sodium
or extraneous ingredients. And while seaweed offers a lot of vitamins
and minerals, it's low on protein, so you may want to couple it with
another storage-friendly snack, such as a single serving of unsalted nuts.
5. Nut butters. With the plethora of options--cashew, almond, walnut and, of course, peanut--and
the convenience of single-serving packaging, nut butters can be a desk
drawer staple. Pair them with some of those whole-grain crackers left
over from the canned fish, or if you want to indulge that craving for
a sweet, put some nut butter on a couple of dried dates or figs.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.