For lots of us, it’s been a long (and strange) time spent away from the office. Perhaps you’ve missed the endless Colin the Caterpillars and office treats, or maybe you’ve settled into healthier eating patterns while working from home. Whichever camp you fall into, packing a few healthy snacks for work will stand you in good stead for a productive day.April 28, 2022 5:19 pm August 19, 2021 9:29 am
A return to prepackaged sandwiches?
When we’re working in an office it’s all too easy to pop out for a quick coffee (maybe a croissant as well), or grab a pre-packaged sandwich to eat ‘al desko’ during a packed lunch hour.
And yet all of us know that we’d be much better off taking in our own meals and snacks.
Before the pandemic, the average office worker spent a stomach-churning $2000 a year on lunch. Plus an additional $1000 on takeaway coffee!(1)
As if we needed context, that amount would cover a week for two in a luxury hotel in the Maldives.
Bet that sad sandwich isn’t looking so appealing now. But even disregarding price for a moment, we also know that pre-packaged and processed foods aren’t particularly good for our health.
Many are laden with hidden fat, calories and fillers, not to mention chemical ingredients that indicate the food is ultra-processed. Trans fats and ‘Mono- and Di-Acetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids’ in your cheese and onion, anyone?
Fall back in love with your lunchbox
Not only will packing your own lunch and snacks save you a bucket-load of money, you have complete control over what you’re eating. As a result, you can make healthier choices.
Plus, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any ‘Mono- and Di-Acetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids’ lying around the kitchen to throw into your meals.
The main reason many of us don’t make a packed lunch or our own healthy snacks for work is time. And it’s true, taking your own food in does require a bit of organisation. However, there are plenty of easy hacks you can use to get around that.
By putting a bit of time in at home, making the most of leftovers and stocking up on some convenient healthy essentials, you’ll be lunchboxing like a pro in no time.
Without further ado, here are our top healthy snacks for work (or school). For each, we’ve also included some easy ways to save time so you can spend more time relaxing and less time prepping.
1. Homemade hummus with crudités
Five minutes spent wisely in the evening will provide you with a good few portions of delicious, homemade hummus for your lunchbox.
It is extremely easy to make. Simply tip a tin of chickpeas, 3 tbsp good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of tahini into a blender and whizz away. For an extra smooth consistency, drizzle in a little ice cold water near the end of your blending time.
If you want to take it up a notch, try adding a crushed garlic clove or a sprinkling of cumin. Or, go the whole hog and make our tasty artichoke hummus recipe.
Then simply chop carrots, cucumber and peppers into sticks for dipping at your desk.
Save time: Tempted to get supermarket hummus? Check the label first. If you see any ingredients you wouldn’t have in your own kitchen, move on. Good quality organic hummus which does not contain these ingredients can be bought from health food shops.
Can’t be bothered to chop veggies every night? Neither can we. Chop up a few portions in one go and keep them in the fridge until needed. The best way is to store them in bags; for carrots and peppers, add a moist paper towel in with the veggies to keep them from drying out. Cucumber is happiest in a sealed bag on its own. Remember to re-use your bags once done!
2. Energy balls
Once again, the blender is your friend here. You can whizz together a batch of energy balls in minutes and make lots of them at once. Plus, they keep well, so you can pack a couple in your lunchbox for days to come.
The key to a good energy ball is dates. They’re naturally sweet, with a lovely toffee-like flavor, and their stickiness helps bind everything together.
For the remaining ingredients, choose a selection of nuts, seeds, oats and other flavors you enjoy. For example, it’s tough to beat a classic peanut butter energy ball (we love to roll ours in desiccated coconut) or a chocolatey one made with raw cacao!