15 On-the-Go Snacks for Work, Travel & More

Snacking at Work

Healthy snacks at the office
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It's hard to get through a whole day of work without getting a little hungry now and then. That's OK—actually snacking can be good for you as long as you choose healthy foods in the right proportions. So with that in mind, I've put together a list of tasty snacks that are perfect for work breaks. Most of them require a refrigerator or a microwave, but a few can be stashed in your desk drawer. 

Hummus and Carrots

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Hummus is made from chickpeas and sesame oil, so it's high in protein and contains healthy fat and fiber. Carrots are high in vitamin A and potassium, so this is a very balanced and satisfying snack. As far as calories, one-half cup hummus has about 200 calories, and eight baby carrots have only about 30 calories.

Hummus is also good with baked pita chips or pieces of pita bread. Or try other fresh veggies like celery, broccoli or cauliflower.

A Small Sandwich

A small sandwich is perfect for a snack break at work.
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A regular lunch-sized sandwich is probably too big for an afternoon snack, so pack a smaller version. Choose whole grain bread and lots of veggies and maybe a slice or two of ham or lean turkey breast. One small sandwich like this offers plenty of vitamins and minerals and should come in at less than 300 calories as long.

Another great snack sandwich is a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich (try my grown up version).

Apples and Peanut Butter

Apples and peanut butter make a good snack for work.
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This snack is similar to fruit and nuts, but sometimes it's just more fun to slather a little peanut butter on fresh sliced apples. I love apples because they're high in fiber, plus there are so many varieties that it's hard not to find some kind of apple you'll like. And go for natural peanut butter that doesn't have any added sugar—it really doesn't need it.

Almond butter is also amazing when you add it to your favorite fresh fruit. Or try cashew butter for a change.

Yogurt and Fruit

Yogurt is perfect as a work snack.
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Yogurt is one of those foods that can be an excellent addition to your diet, but it can be turned into something not so good if it's loaded with sugary flavored stuff. I like plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, so I just grab a single serving package and stir in a few fresh berries. Lots of calcium, protein, and beneficial probiotics. All for about 150 calories.

Another option I love is plain Greek yogurt with pecans and a little honey. 

Rice Cakes

Rice cakes with coleslaw and fresh vegetables
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A plain rice cake is low in calories and relatively bland, so it makes a nice base for most any type of topping. You can stash the rice cakes in your desk drawer and bring something tasty like an egg salad sandwich filling. Two rice cakes topped with a quarter cup (or so) of the egg salad have about 8 grams protein, and plenty of zinc, selenium, and magnesium, and about 260 calories.

Other tasty topping ideas include plain yogurt with honey and berries, sliced avocados with a sprinkle of lime juice, or simple cottage cheese accompanied by fresh veggies.

Crispbread and Cottage Cheese

Crispbread, cottage cheese and chives make a healthy snack for work.
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Crispbreads are flat, dry cracker-like bread, usually made with rye flour but are available in whole wheat and multigrain versions. They're nice and crunchy, and while they're tasty all by themselves, they're even better topped with delicious, healthy toppings. I like cottage cheese because it's high in calcium and protein. Three pieces of crispbread, each topped with two tablespoons of low-fat cottage cheese have a total of 170 calories. The chives are optional, but they add such a nice flavor.

You can also top crispbread with nut butter, fruit preserves or slices of lean meat. My favorite way to eat crispbread with a little brunost cheese and lingonberry preserves.


Popcorn is a healthy work snack.
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Popcorn counts as a whole grain because it's high in fiber. It's also low in calories as long as you don't cover it with melted butter. Keep a few bags of microwave popcorn handy for a quick, healthy snack—one regular sized bag has less than 300 calories. You can also buy single serving sizes. 

If plain popcorn sounds boring, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top. Or maybe a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.

Fresh Fruit and Nuts

A pear and almonds are great for a work day snack.
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Sometimes the best snacks are the simplest ones, and I just love a piece of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts. There's just nothing unhealthy about this snack. In fact, a pear combined with a dozen almonds combine for less than 200 calories, and you'll get plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats.

I also like to match apples with walnuts or bananas with pecans. They're all so delicious and good for you.

Tuna and Crackers

Tuna on crackers makes a healthy snack for work.
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Grab some whole wheat crackers, slice up a stalk of celery and pick up some canned tuna (I suggest resealable packages—leaving open tuna cans in the office garbage can be nasty). This snack is high in fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs every day. Six crackers and 3 ounces of tuna have about 200 calories total.

If you prefer, you could make a little tuna salad at home and bring just enough to dab on a few crackers. 

Fresh Veggies and Dip

Carrots, zucchini and veggie dip make a healthy snack for work.
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Bring carrots, zucchini slices, cucumber, or celery sticks and veggie dip to work for a light and healthy snack. The vegetables are low in calories but high in fiber, plus they're loaded with vitamins and minerals. Most of your calorie intake will come from the dip—2 tablespoons of a typical store-bought veggie dip have around 150 calories, but this healthy snack still comes in with less than 200 calories. 

Make this snack even healthier by making one of these cholesterol-lowering dips.

A Small Salad

A small salad makes a healthy snack at work.
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 A cool crisp salad can help tide you over until dinner time. Pack one container with your favorite mix of salad greens, dried fruits, fresh veggies, and nuts. Then pack another small container with salad dressing or vinaigrette. Don't add the dressing until you're ready for your salad—that way the greens won't get all soggy. A small garden salad is low in calories and has lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The dressing can add up to 200 calories per two-tablespoon serving, but you can keep it nice and light by packing some lemon or lime slices to squeeze on your salad at snack time.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a good work snack.
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Trail mix is typically some combination of nuts and dried fruit and possibly some cereal or granola. You can find all kinds of unusual varieties at any grocery store, or you can make it at home. Trail mix is one of those snacks you can keep in your desk drawer for a few days, so it's nice if you don't have a refrigerator. 

Trail mix can be high in calories (look on the labels), so if weight control is an issue, I suggest dividing and packaging your trail mix into individual portions, so you're not tempted to wolf down the whole bag.

Instant Oatmeal and Raisins

Oatmeal and raisins as a snack at work.
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Oatmeal makes a great breakfast, and there's no reason it can't work as a healthy snack. While you probably aren't going to cook up a batch of steel cut oats in the break room, you can use the microwave and quick cook oats or keep a few packets of instant oats in your drawer. Add some raisins for flavor, fiber and iron. 

Choose instant oatmeal carefully because many varieties are loaded with sugar, and you just don't need that much. 

Cup of Soup

Gazpacho soup served in a cup
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A cup of soup can be so warm and soothing on a cold day. Leftover soup can make a great snack for work the next day, or you can buy single serving microwavable soups. Vegetable soup is perfect because it's got lots of great nutrition (and tastes great too), but my favorite chicken noodle, with plenty of carrots, celery, and onions.

Calorie counts vary considerably so look closely at the labels for nutrition information. Also, note that many commercial varieties are also high in fat and sodium. 

Guacamole on Celery Sticks

Guacamole on celery makes a great snack for work.
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You may be used to serving guacamole with tortilla chips, but you can drop several calories and extra fat by spreading guacamole on crisp celery sticks. Guacamole is made with avocado, so it's high in monounsaturated fats and nutrients. One-half cup has about 180 calories. 

Don't like celery? Scoop up your guacamole with baked tortilla chips or whole grain crackers.


United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.

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