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Health Defence Blog

Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!

3pm in the office after a long day and the vending machine is looking more and more appealing…Snacking can be part of a healthy eating plan, but being mindful of the portion size and calories will help you to maintain a healthy weight, be more productive in the afternoon and avoid the high fat, high sugar snacks from the vending machine!

These are 10 healthy snacks (under 150 calories each) that you should have in your desk drawer:

  1. Fruit – this nutritious snack is great for at your desk, or on the go. Grab a banana between meetings or try a handful of grapes or a couple of dried dates for an afternoon sweet treat.
  2. Popcorn – air-popped popcorn is quick and easy to make and high in fibre! Simply put ¼ cup of popcorn kernels in a bowl, cover and microwave for 2 – 3 minutes (or until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops). One cup of air-popped popcorn contains only 30 calories (a packet of crisps is around 130 calories!). Flavour the popcorn with cinnamon, pepper, cumin, turmeric or dried herbs.
  3. Vege sticks – chop up sticks of cucumber, peppers, carrots or celery the night before and dip into tomato salsa, low-fat hummus or guacamole. My personal favourite is celery sticks with peanut butter! Yum!
  4. Nuts – go nuts for nuts! Nuts or seeds contain healthy fats that are good for your heart and are easy to store at work. One dessertspoon full is a good serving size and can easily be stored in your drawer. You could also make your own trail mix – combine nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts or sunflower seeds and dried fruit.
  5. Wholegrain crackers, rice cakes or oat cakes – wholegrain varieties add important fibre which is great for gut health. Combine a couple of crackers with cottage cheese, avocado, tomato slices, low fat cheese slices, peanut butter or hummus for a filling snack.
  6. Rolled oats or wholegrain cereal – cereals need not just be for breakfast! These wholesome grains can be a great pick me up snack for an extra energy boost during the day. Just add some low fat milk and you’re away (or try heating it up for a warm snack on a cold winter’s day).
  7. Yoghurt – technically you should store this one in the fridge at work! But it’s so delicious and nutritious; we couldn’t leave it off the list. Yoghurt is packed with calcium for strong bones and protein to keep you full for longer and satisfied until your next meal. Choose a low-fat, low-sugar (unsweetened) variety and add some fresh fruit, like berries.
  8. Roasted chickpeas – high in protein and easy on the budget! This cheap and easy snack takes a little bit of preparation, but it’s worth it! Just drain a tin of chickpeas, pat them dry with a paper towel and place into a roasting dish. Add a splash of olive oil and some seasoning (pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, mixed herbs – you choose!) and pop them in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes (be careful they don’t burn). Allow them to cool before eating and enjoy a small handful at a time.
  9. Mini-tins of tuna – high in protein and healthy omega-3 fats, tinned fish is a great snack to tide you over between meals or even form the basis of a healthy lunch (just add salad and wholegrain carbohydrate such as bread, crackers or rice). Opt for smaller (60g) tins of tuna for a snack and ideally choose fish in spring water (not brine) to reduce the salt content. Too fishy for you? Why not try a hard-boiled egg instead.
  10. A bottle of water! Did you know that dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for hunger! Staying hydrated helps us to stay alert and can increase productivity at work. Have a bottle of water at your desk for sipping throughout the day, especially between meals. Read our Water for Wellness blog for more information on staying hydrated.

Tip: everyone is different and not everyone needs to snack. Let your hunger and energy levels guide you between meals and avoid mindless snacking if you’re not hungry 🙂

Image credit: grinvalds

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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