Last week, we delved into the world of office snacking, highlighting 15 of the best office snacks to keep within arm’s reach of your desk. However, as we all know, not all “healthy” snacks are as nutritious as they seem. Some items can be deceptively unhealthy, packing sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives behind health buzzwords on their packaging. That’s why it’s important to examine the nutrition facts and ingredient lists for these so-called healthy snacks for the office. To help you navigate this minefield, we’re shifting gears to spotlight 15 office snack ideas that may not be as healthy as they appear.
1. Granola Bars
While granola bars might seem like a healthy work snack, many brands are loaded with sugars, unhealthy oils, and artificial additives. Always check the ingredients before deciding on this common office snack.
2. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit may look like a beneficial way to get a fruit serving, but the drying process often concentrates their natural sugars, raising the calorie content. Some even have added sugars or syrup.
3. Fruit Juices
Many fruit juices more closely resemble soda than fresh fruit, being high in sugar and low in fiber. Whole fruits are a healthier option.
Pretzels, while seemingly lighter than chips, are typically made with refined flour, lacking essential nutrients. High in sodium, they can contribute to high blood pressure.
Often marketed as a healthy snack for work, muffins are usually loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. In essence, they’re just small cakes in disguise.
6. Trail Mix
Though trail mix can be a good source of protein and healthy fats, many store-bought versions contain sugar-coated dried fruits, yogurt-covered nuts, and even chocolate, making them calorie-dense.
7. Flavored Nuts
Nuts are a popular office snack option, but flavored ones often contain high amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Check the ingredients list and nutrition label before stocking up!
8. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are low in calories, but they’re also low in nutrients and can spike your blood sugar levels due to their high glycemic index.
9. Instant Oatmeal
Oats can make for a great morning pick me up, but flavored instant types come with a lot of added sugar. Consider plain oats with added fruit or spices for flavor to make regular appearances as an office snack instead.
10. “Healthy” Cereals
Many cereals advertised as healthy office snacks are high in sugar and refined grains. Always verify the ingredients and nutrition information before making a selection.
11. Veggie Chips
While the word ‘veggie’ implies this would be a healthy work snack, these chips often mimic potato chips with some added vegetable powders or purees and still pack unhealthy fats and sodium.
12. Protein Bars
Like granola bars, protein bars resemble candy bars more than healthy office snacks, filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners, unhealthy fats, and other additives.
13. Fruit Snacks or Gummies
Although the name includes ‘fruit,’ these are often just candy with some fruit juice. They are high in added sugars and lack the fiber of whole fruits.
14. Low-Fat Peanut Butter
While it has less fat, low-fat peanut butter is often loaded with added sugar and fillers. Opt for natural peanut butter without added sugar or oils instead.
15. Breakfast Biscuits
As convenient as it is to grab a quick snack for work while rushing out the door, breakfast biscuits can be high in added sugars and often made from refined grains. Look for those that are filling and healthy by checking the nutrition label.
The best office snacks are not always as they seem. With clever packaging and marketing, many products masquerade as healthy snacks for office settings but can undermine your diet. Labels like ‘low-fat,’ ‘gluten-free,’ or ‘all-natural’ do not necessarily mean ‘healthy.’ It’s important to look beyond these buzzwords and examine the nutritional content and ingredients.
As the saying goes, moderation is key. Overconsumption of any snack can be harmful. Whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, and nuts often make the simplest and healthiest work snacks. However, when these aren’t readily available, easily portable, or you’re looking for more variety in your snacking routine, knowing what to avoid can help you make informed choices for your healthy office snack ideas. We’re excited to offer many healthy snack options, as well as some childhood favorites and indulgent options, through two of our snack programs. Whether it’s our in office snack and pantry services or our personalized snack box program (great for remote workers!), our goal is to make healthy snacking accessible and personalized. Happy snacking!