The holidays are upon us, and with them comes temptation in the form of a seemingly endless stream of holiday goodies brought into the office. When you’re working hard, trying to meet end-of-the-year deadlines, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for a little treat, a little something to reward yourself (or to quiet your growling stomach after you accidentally worked through your lunch break again). But there’s got to be a better afternoon snack than another gingerbread man or piece of fudge, especially since you’re bound to regret those snacking decisions when you get on the scale. I’ve found some good ideas for things you can bring in to eat at your desk that make much healthier alternatives to those holiday goodies. Here are some of my favorites:
- Trail Mix: You can buy all sorts of different varieties of trail mix pre-made, but I find that I always end up picking around at least one thing in the bag. I like to make my own trail mix, so I know that I’ll like everything in it. Start with two or three kinds of nuts (almonds are a particularly good choice, as they’re especially high in protein), then add in some dried fruit of your choice. Raisins are a traditional pick, but you could just as easily use dried cranberries or even dried banana chips or apples. And if you want to be just a little bit decadent, throw in some dark chocolate chips (not too many, mind you!). Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants, after all.
- Ants on a Log: These make great snacks for kids, but who says adults can’t eat them, too? Just cut some celery stalks into pieces, fill them with peanut butter, then arrange raisins along the top to be the “ants.” Peanut butter is a great source of protein, and the celery provides a satisfying crunch.
- Roasted Edamame: For a more grown-up treat, try these protein-packed beans. Just buy some frozen edamame and thaw them, then spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle salt over the top, then roast the beans in a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re golden and crisp. Let them cool, then enjoy a crunchy treat!
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: This simple snack idea even comes in its own container. Lots of people seem to panic about the proper technique for boiling eggs, but it’s actually quite easy. Just put the raw eggs in a saucepan, then add enough cold water to cover them. Put the pan on the burner and bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drain and run cold water over the eggs to cool them down. It’s as simple as that!
- Chips: No, not potato chips; they’re definitely not healthy. But you can make your own healthy vegetable chips without a whole lot of work. Cut sweet potatoes, zucchini, or even beets, if you like them, into very thin slices. Toss them with a bit of olive oil or just spray them with cooking spray, then spread them out on a pan, sprinkle on a little salt, add spices if you’d like (sweet potatoes, for instance, pair well with either cinnamon or chili powder), and bake until crispy, turning them over from time to time so that they cook evenly.