Editor’s Note: This story was originally publisned on LiveWellNebraska.com
* * *
By Taniesha Robinson / CTW Features
Unhealthy pick-me-ups such as energy drinks and sugary snacks are usually followed by slow-me-downs. But snacking can actually enhance productivity in the office.
“It helps keep your energy up throughout the day (and) increases brain power,” said Melissa Halas-Liang, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the California Dietetic Association. There’s a healthy, energy-boosting snack for all workers — even those quarantined to a cubicle all day.
The two key factors in healthy snacking are timing and size, said Karen Ansel, a nutrition consultant and journalist.
“The ideal time for a snack is about three hours after a meal.” she said. “That’s when blood sugar levels start to dip and hunger hits.” She added that an ideal snack will be somewhere between 100 and 200 calories.
Following are the top workday snacks for Halas-Liang and Ansel.
» Nectarine slices and 10 to 20 almonds: “Fruit and nuts are always a good snack,” said Halas-Liang, founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. in Los Angeles. It’s important to choose foods that are close to their natural state when snacking, and carbohydrate-protein combos are a plus. Halas-Liang added that coupling carbohydrates with fats or proteins might be better for those who are on the go during the day. A piece of fruit alone may do the trick for those working at a desk.
» A 12-ounce nonfat latte and a 100-calorie energy bar: The complex carbohydrates in this snack are what make for a healthy pick-me-up. “Plus, the latte provides a small energy kick to help you power through your afternoon,” Ansel said.
» A pear and 1 ounce of cheese: “The pear is especially high in fiber, which helps slow down digestion,” Ansel said. “The cheese adds protein and a little fat to help keep you full.”
» Half-pound of sugar snap peas and hummus: People who eat legumes such as peas and beans regularly tend to live longer, Halas-Liang said. Hummus adds unsaturated fat — the healthier fat that the body needs.
» Reduced-fat gouda cheese and a whole wheat bagel: Good snacks are nutrient dense, Halas-Liang said. Look for grains and oats labeled as 100 percent whole wheat. “If it just says wheat, it’s probably mostly white flour,” Halas-Liang said.
» One tablespoon peanut or almond butter on cinnamon graham crackers: Ansel recommended this snack as a sweet treat in the late afternoon. “The nut butter has healthy fat, protein and fiber, which are digested super slowly so they keep you full for hours,” she said. The cinnamon grahams add complex carbohydrates.
* * *