Exploring options when you get hit with an attack of the Munchies, are a bit Peckish or worst are fully blown Hangry whilst at work or out and about
As someone who has an office job and regularly is spending the entire day out and about it is important to me to have healthy and filling snack options in your desk drawer, office fridge and in your handbag so when you hit with that horrid mid-morning slump or when your late afternoon sees you turning into a hangry monster you have yummy choices to make.
I know that some people don’t snack and others are just constant grazers it is all up to you how you eat and listening to your body and finding out what works for you. From listening to my body over the years as I go through my fitness and weight-loss journey my eating habits do change and I definitely don’t have it all figured out – far from. I know know that I get peckish, and when stressed or bored I want to snack more and then there are times when my body just want more food or I am out and about and there is limited options for someone on plant-based diet. This is when being prepared and giving yourself options is the key to living a consistent healthier lifestyle. As I believe the scouts/girl guides say always be prepared.
I therefore make sure that for the Office I have snack options always available and similarly I have a default snack in my handbag. If I know I will have a very busy day I come with more filling foods to help last me through the day.
In terms of snacks which will last and can just sit in my drawer/bag for when the munchies or pecking thoughts hit, here are a few of my go to:
Protein, Fruit and Nut Bars – These are probably one of the more substantial “snacks” (for me at least) as they are normally very filling and not always the smallest in terms of calories, proteins, fats etc. I will normally always have one in my handbag so that if I can’t find somewhere for an actual meal it can tie me over. Also I will have one pre/post working out to make sure I get that protein to help with my work out and getting my protein levels up. The fact that they are high in protein does mean they normally satisfy your hungry and keep you going with a lot of energy for a while.
I will hold my hands up, I have yet to make my own protein bars, is on my list of recipes to great but timing not been on my side. Therefore I do buy protein bars/balls and the key thing when looking at different brands/products is the ingredients. There are many which are just full of chemicals and sugar, which you should try to avoid. You want to go with ones which are full predominately of nuts, grains, fruits and ideally which include a variety of vegan protein sources such as pea, brown rice, hemp, peanut, grains etc.
Here are a few Brands that I always go to:
- Pulsin Protein Boosters – they have a good variety of flavours and aren’t too sweet pretty good at being natural ingredients. Also if you buy from their website they have great vegan snack bundles (which is how I found out about them) so you will have snacks covered for a long long time.
- Deliciously Ella Balls (Protein and Normal) – small and easy to find when out and about as stock in lots of places now. They are a great for travel and putting in handbag. My favourite at the moment is the Peanut Butter and Raspberry energy balls.
- Larabar – Sadly an american brand but you can find them on Amazon – they have such a wide range of flavours and always just a handle of natural ingredients making up each bar. I always stock on whilst in the States and am still finding it very hard to narrow down to a favourite one. I always go for Lemon Bar and peanut butter cookie.
- Aduna Energy Bars – I have only recently found these are are so good, especially like the berry bite which is a great afternoon snack as you get that great natural sweetness to give a boost of energy.
Nuts and Seeds – yes go old school and go straight to the source for high protein, vitamins and minerals. As someone on a plant-based diet is key to try to eat a selection of different nuts and seeds to make sure I get a good range of vitamins and minerals, so if I am not putting them straight into meals it is very good to have a snacks.
Just be mindful that they can be very munching and I do find that it is easy to fall into the trap of mindless eating them. Yes, they are healthy for you, but they are still very high in fat (some even more so than others) so be careful with portion control. For me, as is easy to not have an idea of how much you are actually eating I try to eat them when I have already portioned them out into good size snacks. It is also cheaper to buy in bulk them keep going to the supermarket for those prepackaged options – which are also using up way too much plastic. As everyone say, a little bit of everything just in moderation.
You also don’t have to eat them ‘naked’ you can roasted them and season them with salt and pepper or my favourite with spicy or bbq seasoning. Another new thing is to get your nuts activated which I get that nuts and seeds are hard for the body to digest so if you activate you get the nutritional benefits more easily and are better for your gut but I don’t buy into it too much. I do always where can (and where bulk is better) buy organic, which I do try to to with all produce you eat as it is.
Here is my rundown of favourite nuts, seeds and grains to have as snacks.
- Almonds – great Naked, Salted and with a bit of spicy, or have as almond butter, is great and easy one to have on hand, is a great source of Vitamin K and magnesium.
- Peanuts – I always have this in the form of peanut butter,( I love Manilife dark roasted and they do little snack pots) is great just off a spoon but also with a bit of fruit or in a smoothie to help boost vitamins, healthy fats and protein.
- Walnuts – not only great added to a salad, they are great at boasting metabolism so good for weight-loss, but are high in fat.
- Pecans – have a nice sweetness to them so help with that savoury/sweet fix and are antioxidant and to help with cholesterol which is a great benefit
- Cashews – High in fat and a great source for nut cheese and nut butter, again another good source of magnesium and help with your metabolism and blood pressure.
- Roasted Corn – I have loved these for a while and therefore can be hard for portion control, but they are full of fibre and not too high in calories making great when just a bit peckish. There is a great brand Love Corn which does snack and bigger size ones with few different seasonings all of which I love (no pun intended).
- Pumpkin Seeds – a good topper for salads but also just in a nuts and seed mix, these are good for magnesium and zinc so good for women and hormonal levels, alongside helping with blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Sunflower Seeds – as seem above it great along or roasted and has lots of health benefits, this has Selenium which is hard to get on plant-based diet and also is good for the heart.
Following on from nuts and seeds, another great thing to snack on and what I do make myself is Granola and Fruit and Nut Mixes.
So just plain or roasted put together some of your favourite nuts and seeds from above and mix them together with some of the following fruits.
- Goji Berries – a little tart but great antioxidant, considered a superfood, very good for anti-ageing accordingly, and giving a good energy boost.
- Golden berries – great for a sweetness and a bit of texture too, also are a good source of fibre (help fill you up) and protein whilst also boosting immune support.
- Raisins/Sultanas – very high in natural sugars so don’t need much but good to get that natural sweet to sedate that sugar fix.
- Mulberries – very unique texture which personally I love, so easily eat alone but again a great natural sweetener
Also don’t forget just normal Fruit, as my mother once said natures snacks. You can’t go wrong with a banana which is great post gym and have as a late night snack to help promote sleep. An apple which is just so easy to get your teeth into and fill up that little hole left in your tummy and even better when you sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on and if you want it even better cinnamon and a nut butter.
Same again with veggies, it doesn’t matter how old you are who doesn’t love a good raw carrot stick especially when also offered some hummus to dip it in. I love a good bit of cut up veggies, from carrots, celery, cucumber to homemade kale chips. You can also get a bit adventurous if you have time with dips, from traditional humus, to butter bean dip, miso tahini dip, and even peanut butter.
Medejool Dates are so good that I have to give them their own personal shout out. They are the perfect snack when you just want something to hit that sweet spot. They are also full of fibre again to help fill you up, also tones of potassium (more so than bananas) and a lower cal fat free way of getting a sugar fix. I can easily snack on one by itself, have a big tub of them at home and I bring in a few to have in my desk drawer. Again to make it a real treat put a bit of nut butter in the middle of date or dip it in, and after you taste it you will go to heaven. You can also buy dates with nuts in the middle or even orange peel etc, they are a real delicacy.
Rice cakes with toppings, are a snack which you can make very simplistic or more complicated. I will put a few in a little baggy with a mini pot of peanut butter which can sit in my desk drawer or be in my bag to eat whilst travelling . However, you can make it more fancy and substantial if I am at home (and at times in the office) as you can pair them with hummus or a nut cheese, and if I can top with a few veggies. They are very versatile in the fact they can be savoury or sweet, or very plain on there own as a good healthier alternative to crisps/chips.
When I have time, I will put together more substantial snacks then the above which are all just foods which can sit around in my drawer and bag for an extended period of time. Here are a few suggestions of prepared afternoon snacks or mini-meals to help when travelling especially.
Overnight Oats/Bircher Muesli – easy to make in advance and you can pack with lots of different nuts, seeds, grains and fruits. I will make it the night before or whilst meal prepping on the weekend. I mix up the flavours and sizes so that I can use them as actual breakfasts but also are good for an afternoon snack when you know you are going to have a long wait until your next meal.
Protein Shakes/Smoothie – I keep protein powder in my drawer for the off the cuff protein shake which is great before gym or again to make you last until your next meal. I also have little tubs of it for both my drawer but also my bag so I can make a shake on the go or have whilst travelling. At times I will also will make a full blown smoothie with nut milk, veggies, fruits, superfoods etc again can be an entire meal or a great filling snack, there is a great Peanut Mocha Shake recipe on my blog.
Now, if we are being very honest with ourselves there are also times when you aren’t truly hungry but are just feeling peckish because you are stressed or bored. A good way to get you pass those feelings is to have a drink. I turn to herbal tea most of the time and I love Pukka and Yogi tea. I love them all, but you can’t go wrong with a good green tea or a nice spiced tea to help get you over the munchies. Another good option is infused water – is my latest obsession – I like infusing water with a variety of fruits, veggies and spices. Who doesn’t love a bit of lemon water, cucumber water, apple & cinnamon and the list can go on and on.
Well that is a lot of snack options which hopefully can put stop the rumbling of your tummy, quieten down the voice in your head telling you to just munch and help the people around you from suffering you at your hangriest. This is just a few options, and I will continue to do post on some of the other snacking and healthy choices to make as I continue exploring them myself.