4 Healthy Office Snacks that Can Be Easy (and Detrimental) to Overeat

Posted by on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 with Comments Off on 4 Healthy Office Snacks that Can Be Easy (and Detrimental) to Overeat Comments

Fresh juice during a breakfast meeting. Whole-grain crackers mid-morning. Almonds a few hours after lunch. Congratulations – you have healthy office snacks down pat.

Depending, of course, on how many crackers, almonds, and liquified fruits you’re eating every day. Because even when it comes to light snacking on healthy foods, portion size matters… and can even be the difference between maintaining a healthy weight or packing on a few extra pounds.

Don’t get me wrong — snacking can definitely be part of a healthy eating plan, and it’s especially important to keep healthy office snacks readily available. If you don’t, the vending machine and candy bowls are all too ready to take their place. But, just like you already know you probably shouldn’t polish off that entire takeout container of brown rice (even though it’s a whole grain), you should be aware of how to serve yourself actual, snack-size portions.

apple slices with peanut butter

Even healthy snacks like apples and peanut butter are easy to overeat.
Image source: Flickr user maryamandathompson

#1 Almonds

Let’s be straight: nuts are awesome, and almonds are one of the best. Fiber, protein, magnesium, monounsaturated fat, even a little calcium — all in little bite-size packages. But they also pack in significant calories and fat. One ounce of dry-roasted almonds — about 22 — have 15 grams of fat, nearly a quarter of your daily recommended intake. Stick to one portion per day (not one handful in the morning and one in the afternoon) to avoid overdoing it with almonds. One easy office portion-control trick is to spread your almonds out over a 3×3 pad of sticky notes: one serving should just cover the surface area of the notes.

#2 Guacamole

Raw veggies dipped in guacamole is a delicious treat — and it’s so easy, especially if you’ve ordered in Mexican for lunch and saved a little guac for your afternoon snack! But avocados, just like nuts, are high in fat and calories. We’ll use Chipotle as an example: the 3.5-ounce dollop they’ll plop in a little dish alongside of your burrito bowl has 170 calories and 16 grams of fat. That’s nearly a third of your recommended daily fat intake, so stick to a half-serving at snack time.

#3 Fruit juice — even the “no sugar added” kinds

I recently attended a conference that served 15-ounce bottles of a popular fruit juice during an afternoon break, and the attendees were scooping up two per person. It made me wince — every bottle included around 250 calories. And most guests were also grabbing a dish of almonds or baked chips from the snack table as well — which meant they were treating the juice as a beverage, not a snack. Juice is delicious, but it isn’t a “freebie” drink if you’re watching your calorie intake… especially since most varieties don’t include the fiber that’s key to helping you feel full until your next meal. (And wait a minute — isn’t that the whole point of having a snack?)

#4 Peanut butter

Peanut butter and crackers, peanut butter and apple slices, peanut butter and celery… most of us have been snacking on peanut butter since we were kids, and it’s a good choice for the office, too. But keep in mind that a two-tablespoon serving includes nearly a quarter of your total fat intake for the day, along with a sizable portion of saturated fat — even half-a-tablespoon extra can add up. Keep your peanut butter consumption under control by visualizing a Ping-Pong ball — that’s approximately two tablespoons’ worth.

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