The 8 best snacks for the office
Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, couch, snack, into bed, diabetes type II, repeat! Is this true? Not necessarily, but it could be. More information on this, and which healthier snack alternatives are especially useful for a stressful office day, are found here.

9:30 in the morning. Start with a crunchy bar!


Why not?! After all, it's a small snack for in-between times, which makes the gaping emptiness in your stomach between breakfast and lunch easier.
So the pleasure of "in the morning at half past nine" is followed at most by a low sugar "in the afternoon at half past three", which you should be able to control with the new bar.
Sounds great already. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, couch, snack, into bed, diabetes type II, repeat!
This is of course exaggerated, no question. But of course the whole thing is not promoting a healthy lifestyle.
It is obvious that there is a dark side to the snack power, but there are also healthier and more balanced options that have a more dignified effect on your blood sugar level and thus a better long-term effect on your overall health.
So today, we will look together at the 8 best snacks that you can integrate into your everyday office life without having to think about gaining weight.

What makes a good snack?


Before we take a closer look at the individual snacks and their pros and cons, let us first of all describe what a snack is and what makes a "good" snack. 
A snack is usually something small eaten inbetween meals to fill a gap until your next full meal. There are often more than six hours between lunch and dinner, too much for most people. 
So what to do? Sure, a snack is needed. But you don't want to ruin your appetite for the following meal. So how big should your snack be?
Of course, this depends on the person. There are people who are desperately trying to gain weight, while others want to lose weight. A third person, on the other hand, simply wants to maintain his or her ideal weight.

A good guideline for the maximum size of a snack is in about 250 kcal.

"250 kcal" doesn't sound like much at first, but calculated for the day it quickly adds up to 750 kcal, if I put a snack in between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner and in the evening on the couch while watching a blockbuster.
According to this, snacks should have a low calorie density. So you should be able to eat a lot of it and consume few calories.
In the best case, a snack should also support the general goal of muscle building or muscle maintenance. Why? Because the human body actually starts to break down after the age of 25. The speed of the degradation process exceeds the speed of cell building. What can I do about it?

Two things.

Number one: Adequate muscle training/exercise and/or

Number two: A diet designed for muscle maintenance/muscle building.

It is precisely in this context that a macronutrient enters the stage: protein.

Protein has several advantages when it comes to a balanced diet!


Proteins have a relatively low calorie density (you can eat more of them and consume fewer calories), proteins keep you full for a long time and proteins are the only building block the body can use to maintain and build muscle.
A snack that is high in protein is guaranteed to keep you full until the next main meal, reducing the risk of cravings. It also helps to maintain your muscles and protect them from breakdown.
Of course, in most cases, a snack is not made up entirely of protein. Like most foods, a snack contains proteins as well as the other macronutrients such as fat and carbohydrates. 

You should try to avoid high-fat snacks!


Fat has a very high calorie density, it is more than twice as high as that of proteins and carbohydrates. 
You can of course still have a high-fat snack, but you should be aware that you can only eat a very small amount of it to stay below 250 kcal.
Something to note: “Light” products are artificially processed to compensate for the loss of taste due to the lower fat content. This is usually done by means of flavour enhancers or sweeteners. Less calories and "Light" does not mean "healthier".
With carbohydrates, the complexity of the carbohydrates should be taken into account. What does that mean?
There are single sugars, double sugars and multiple sugars. Everything is carbohydrate.  
If your snacks also have carbohydrates, they should consist mainly of polysaccharides, e.g. wholemeal products.
Multi-sugars, like wholemeal products, usually have a higher proportion of fibre, which take longer to process in the body and therefore also keep you full longer. On the other hand, these polysaccharides do not allow your blood sugar level to rise as quickly.

What does the blood sugar level have to do with it? 

In simple terms:
Carbohydrates are broken down in your body and go into your bloodstream as glycogen, raising your blood sugar level. The glycogen in your bloodstream is there to replenish your muscle cells. When your blood sugar level rises, your body produces insulin, the insulin opens the muscle cell, and the glycogen goes into the muscle cell and replenishes it.
The more complex a carbohydrate is, the more complex the conversion process is and the longer it takes for blood sugar levels to rise. 
This is especially useful in the office, as your muscle cells are not emptied by sitting around. They are full, remain full and cannot be overfilled. Instead, your fat cells always have an open door for the excessive glycogen. Your fat cells are therefore absorbing more and more, just because your snack has raised your blood sugar level.
It's no big deal. Your body will forgive you. However, if full muscle cells and a high blood sugar level become a permanent condition, your body will soon notice that the insulin is no longer needed for the muscle cells. It will eventually save the work of producing insulin. 
This is called insulin resistance or diabetes type II.
A lack of exercise, full muscle cells and high blood sugar levels due to the wrong diet will not have a particularly positive effect on your health in the long term.

So which snacks are the best for your everyday office life? 


The criteria for getting on the list are as follows:
  • Low calorie density
  • Protein
  • Contains dietary fibre
  • Little effect on the blood sugar level

#1 fruit


We start with the original snack 
Refreshing, satisfying and above all one thing: Healthy! 
Fruit is the number 1 go-to option when it comes to snacks in general. Fruit contains important vitamins and nutrients, natural sweeteners and strengthens the immune system without carrying a lot of calories. 

You don’t agree? Here are a few fun facts:
  • 500 grams of watermelon has as many calories as a single candy bar.
  • Two kiwis have so much vitamin C that you would not need anything else to fulfil your daily vitamin C requirement. The same rule applies to 200 grams of strawberries.
  • A single banana provides 1/6 of the daily magnesium requirement and contains so much fibre that the blood sugar level is only slowly affected.
  • Due to their high potassium content, pears help with high blood pressure. 
Fruit is the new office finger food.

And if someone tells you that too much fruit makes you fat, turn around and leave the room. Why?

First of all, never in the history of ever was it said, "Don't eat the watermelon! I've gained the last 50 pounds by eating too much fruit.”
Second: Yes, fruit contains fructose (fruit sugar). Fructose in its pure form is very harmful to the body, promotes cravings and can lead to overweight.

But do you know why you can still eat fruit until you are full?

Because these statements refer to pure fructose, which is used in the industry to artificially sweeten finished products such as baked goods, soda and cola, and is especially present in “light” products. Fructose is in fact more than twice as sweet as normal household sugar.
Fructose is never found in fruit in its pure and exclusive form.
When you eat fruit, you also take in fibre, for example, which regulates digestion and reduces the undesirable (side) effects of fructose. In addition to sugar, fresh fruit also contains valuable vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances which are an essential part of a balanced diet.

You want to eat fruit? Then go for it!

#2 Greek yoghurt - not Greek style yoghurt


Fruit alone is not enough for you? No problem. Why don't you just add some Greek yogurt? Greek yoghurt has a high protein content, so it will keep you full for a long time and help maintain your muscles. Greek yoghurt with blueberries and a banana is a great post-workout snack. 
It is also packed to the brim with microorganisms and probiotic cultures. These microorganisms keep your intestinal tract clean and healthy. Vitamin B12, a vitamin that is mainly found in meat and therefore mostly lacking for vegetarians, is abundant in Greek yoghurt and will get your brain working at its best.
Why would you rather not eat Greek-style yoghurt? 
Greek yoghurt is processed in a specific way and contains a lot of protein and a fat content of 10%. The term "Greek-style yoghurt" is not precisely defined, which means that production and processing can completely vary. It is not unusual for additives such as sugar or other sweeteners to be mixed in, the fat content varies and the effective lactose content increases.

#3 trail mix / nut mix


Classic trail mix contains a wide variety of nuts and dried fruit, mostly in the form of raisins. Trail mix therefore provides a wide range of important nutrients. 
There is only one thing to pay special attention to: Due to the high content of saturated fatty acids, nuts have a high calorie density. Translated this means that a handful of trail mix (approx. 50g) can have as many calories as 500g watermelon, roughly 231 kcal. And anyone who has ever had 50g of trail mix in their hand knows that this won't keep you full for very long.
So why is trail mix on this list at all if a Snickers with 50g per bar and 252 kcal doesn't do so much worse? Snickers is snack #1 of our heart!
A Snickers contains much more sugar, hydrogenated fats (= unhealthy fats) and much less fiber. A bar will make your blood sugar level almost explode. In the long run, a lack of exercise will cause the sugar in your blood to clog your blood vessels if you don't get enough exercise. *irony mode on* Not the thick, important vessels, but only the small, unimportant capillary vessels, which are found around and in your heart and eyes, for example. *irony mode off*
However this is all relative. If you compare a this to a Mega-Super-Duper ice cream sundae a 50g Snickers is already better. However, it cannot keep up with the healthy varieties and should not replace them. Student food has therefore made it onto this list despite its higher calorie density and deserves to be here.

#4 Beef jerky


Now all vegetarians and vegans are jumping at my throat. Not with joy, but unfortunately there is no way around the snack beef jerky. 
Beef is dried in small, thin slices, partly marinated, and offered as a chip substitute. If one looks at the nutritional values, Beef Jerky has a relatively high calorie content, but an absolutely enormous protein content. There are 33g of protein per 100g. 
Unfortunately, Beef Jerky is also a financial issue, which is why it is not the best or cheapest snack alternative. 100 grams cost 6,13 € on average. 
But those who like meat, have a little bit of cash to spare and want a very protein-containing snack for in between, will be exactly right with Beef Jerky.

#5 popcorn


Popcorn should not only be enjoyed whilst costing a third of your annual salary during your visit to the cinema, but should also be eaten as a snack much more often. Why?
Popcorn in its unsweetened form is a wholemeal product that is very filling due to its large volume. On the Satiety Index (an index that evaluates various foods according to their satiation capacity) popcorn takes first place in the snack category. This may also be due to the 13g of fibre per 100g, which keeps the blood sugar level in check and thus prevents ravenous attacks of cravings caused by rapid blood sugar loss. Popcorn only becomes unhealthy when it is processed with the help of butter, sugar and/or salt. 
Popcorn is not only low in calories, but also rich in fiber and very filling.

#6 eggs


Who'd have thought it? Eggs. Why do you think they're on the list? Of course, eggs provide protein containing just under 13 g per 100g. They keep you full for an extremely long time and they've earned their place in any salad.
The issue of eating eggs is controversial because of the cholesterol they contain. If this were the case, the DGE (German Society for Nutrition) recommends eating only 2 to 3 eggs per week. 
Now the matter of cholesterol is a bit more complicated, because most of it is produced by our body itself. Several studies have shown in recent years that cholesterol in food has no negative influence on most people, as the body then reduces its own production and also eliminates excess cholesterol.
However, if you suffer from a chronically high cholesterol level, eggs are taboo for you for the time being. But you can take a look at the next snack in the list.
 

#7 Smoothies & Protein Shakes


First of all: Smoothies are of course only as healthy as what you put in them. 
Smoothies come in all shapes, colours and flavours. They are a great alternative for all those who don't want to bring a household supply of fruit and vegetables to the office, but want to have everything in a bottle. 
My favourite: 1 banana, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, frozen mango, some unsweetened pineapple juice and lactose-free milk (lactose-free because I’m intolerant).

Important: Fresh and homemade smoothies cannot be compared with the ready-made smoothies from the supermarket. Artificial sweeteners are often added to them, which can raise the blood sugar level. The fibre contained in fresh fruit, on the other hand, regulates this. Ground nuts or a little oatmeal increase the fibre content and thus ensure an even better result in the area of the blood sugar level. So: If you want to do it well, do it yourself!  

Protein shakes are a real miracle cure for hunger. Mixed with water at best, the protein powder is available in millions and millions of different flavours. 
Probably the best form of protein powder is whey protein - which is extremely high quality due to its special composition - and is absorbed by the body particularly quickly with water and releases a lot of energy during the splitting process in the body, i.e. boosts energy consumption.
With milk, the shake naturally has more taste. This is due to the extra fat in the milk. But this fat also slows down the absorption process and the total calories increase by almost double. 
Protein shakes are therefore not only useful for bodybuilders and strength athletes, but should be part of every diet.

#8 cottage cheese


What the hell are you talking about? Cottage cheese? 
Yes, indeed! Cottage cheese, cottage cream cheese, grainy cream cheese or crumbly curd: it has many names. But the inside is always the same.
Cottage cheese is a super low-calorie snack that has a high protein content and also supports bone density through a lot of calcium.
If we compare cottage cheese with normal cream cheese, cottage cheese has just under 30% of the calories and twice as much protein. 
Cottage cheese can be used in a variety of ways and not just in its pure state, but also as a spread, with an omelette or a fried egg (perhaps not necessarily in the office) or with a little honey as a sweet alternative.

Conclusion


There are many ways to "snack" in a healthy way. Surely you will think of some others that have been missed out of this list. That's not too bad, because with the enormous choice of snack options, some will always fall through the cracks. 

If you want to check what is suitable for snacking and what is not, then examine the object of your desire according to the criteria mentioned above and decide for yourself.
  • Maximum 250 kcal per snack
  • High protein content (10g+)
  • High fibre content (8-10g+)
  • Low calorie density (little fat)
And if you're still unsure, then just ask me. I'll help you in any way I can.

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