Updated: Jan 6, 2020
Having nutritious snacks to eat during the work day can keep you productive and help you stay energised.
Here are 5 simple and healthy snacks to get you through the work day.
Popcorn offers many surprising nutritional benefits. Not only is it low in calories, it is also 100% whole grain and delivers a healthy dose of fibre. Little known, popcorn is also rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that may help protect against chronic conditions such as heart disease.
2 cups of air-popped popcorn contains only 62 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fibre. However, though it is a healthier snack option, the way your popcorn is popped and the toppings you add can make a big difference as to whether it remains a healthier choice. Go for air-popped popcorn as it does not involve oil, which can add fat and extra calories. If you must add fat to your popcorn, instead of butter, opt for heart-healthy olive oil which is higher in monounsaturated fat. To add flavour without excess calories or sodium, you can sprinkle garlic powder, grated parmesan cheese, or herbs and spices like basil and chili powder.
2. Dried fruit and nuts
This combo has a good balance of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and protein from nuts, and carbohydrates from dried fruit. Both dried fruit and nuts are also rich sources of fibre to keep you fuller for longer.
A ¼ cup serving of unsweetened dried fruit and nuts mix contains about 175 calories.
Go for unsalted and dry-roasted nuts to avoid too much extra fat and sodium, and choose a variety. For example, walnuts are rich in omega-3, while almonds are packed with vitamin E and iron.
3. Protein bars
Protein bars can be a handy mini-meal when you have got no lunch break between meetings or need a quick protein fix after a power workout. Protein is an essential macronutrient that your body needs to repair and build tissues, make enzymes, and hormones. Having enough protein in your diet can also help keep your metabolic rate up and improve satiety.
The ideal protein bar should contain at least 10 grams of protein, between 10 to 15 grams of fat (with less than 5 grams of saturated fat), and between 3 to 5 grams of fibre. Choose bars that use protein sources like nuts and egg whites, and with no or little added sugar. Take note that sugar can also be disguised as other names like dextrose, maltose, and glucose syrup. Instead, where possible, choose bars that contain natural sugars from fruit.
4. Roasted broad beans
Roasted broad beans are high in protein, fibre, and several vitamins and minerals like folate and B vitamins, which are important for nerve and blood cell development, cognitive function and energy.
A ½ cup (88g) of roasted broad beans has 4 grams of fibre and 6 grams of protein.
Olives are tiny fruits that are a staple in the Mediterranean diet for good reason. Research has shown that this dietary pattern can slow the aging process, promote longevity, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Olives are rich in monounsaturated fat which have have been linked to decreased inflammation and a reduced risk of heart disease. They are also a good source of essential minerals like iron, important for carrying oxygen to our red blood cells, and are full of antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols which fight harmful free radicals in your body.
Ten olives contain about 60 calories, with most of it coming from monounsaturated fat.