If you want to stay lean and healthy, office life is isn’t easy. Most of us spend long hours sitting at a desk and there isn’t much we can do about it. And when things get busy, it’s easy to console oneself with all the wrong snacks.
Donuts or cookies might give you a short, sugar-infused high but they will soon drop you low. The best way to avoid them is to prepare a delicious, healthy alternative. The same snacks that fuel outdoor athletes can work magic in the office. And we don’t mean energy gels or other highly processed products, but completely natural, raw goodness!
Nuts, seeds and dried fruit
Nuts and seeds are some of nature’s most calorie and nutrient dense foods. It doesn’t mean they will make you gain weight – it just means that a small portion will provide you with a lot of energy as well as microelements essential for good health.
Some of the most delicious varieties are walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia, cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts and Brazil nuts. None of these are cheap, so instead of buying small plastic packets, head straight to the bulk section of your supermarket where the prices should be lower. It’s even more affordable to order nuts online in large quantities. If stored correctly, they last for a very long time, so you don’t need to worry about their use by date.
On their own, nuts can feel a little dry- you might want to mix in a few other goodies. Dried fruit adds moisture to the nutty mix and fuels your body with more carbohydrates. It may be packed with sugar but it also contains loads of fiber, meaning it’s OK to indulge. Just remember that both nuts and dried fruit – the latter in particular – are so nutrient dense you should only eat small portions.
To add variety to your nutty mix, add pumpkin or sunflower seeds, which are also extremely healthy and should be a regular part of your diet. Smaller varieties like flax, chia or hemp are great in energy bars.
Homemade energy bars
If your kitchen is equipped with a powerful blender, making your own energy bars is easy and rewarding. The main principle is mixing dry and wet ingredients in equal proportions. Dry ingredients include oats, seeds, or even quinoa or brown rice (after cooking). Wet ingredients are dates (make sure they don’t contain added sugar) and honey. You can get creative by mixing in nuts, seeds, dried fruit and even dark chocolate.
One of the world’s best climbers, Sasha DiGiulian, swears by her homemade energy bars, and you can find some of her favorite recipes here.
Our dirty secret is also adding chocolate chips to our fruit and nut mix. High quality dark chocolate is low in sugar and has plenty of health benefits, so why hold back?