Healthy Snack and Hydration Ideas for Heading Back to the Office

Sep 24, 2021 | Eating Well

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After working from home for so long, the transition back to an in-office schedule will require shifts on many fronts. One of the most pressing questions you have for yourself may be: WHAT DO I EAT? Since March 2020 or so, many office workers have had quick access to their home kitchens for lunches and snacks, for good or bad.

Lindsay Barleycorn, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, diabetes nutrition educator at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, shares her top tips for healthy snacking and keeping ourselves hydrated while at the office. If the Delta Variant has its way, we may all be staying home a little longer, but these tips have value even if we keep our snacks in our home kitchens instead of our desk drawers.

Snacking helps you stay fueled between meals and allows you to perform your job at your best. Bringing your own snacks can keep you from relying on vending machines or drive-through fries to get through the day.

Shelf-stable items are also office-friendly, so keeping healthy snacks on hand can be as easy as stocking up on rice cakes, popcorn, nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers and nut butters. You can also keep your office fridge stocked with low-fat string cheese, fruits, veggies, hummus or other dips and low-fat yogurt.

Dividing snacks into single-serve portions can make it easier to grab and go, and you’ll be less likely to mindlessly eat through your entire snack stash.

Get snacks you’re going to enjoy. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it needs to be something you hate. If you don’t like it, you won’t eat it even if it’s healthy. Don’t waste money on things you don’t care for. The American Heart Association provides a long list of healthy snacking ideas.

Staying hydrated is a key building block for good health, but on busy, meeting-packed days it can be easy to fall short. Drinking half your body weight in ounces is a good starting goal for most people, although the best measure of whether you’re drinking enough is the color of your urine (aim for a shade like pale straw).

Whether you’re working a desk job or out in the Southern heat, an important tip for staying hydrated is to keep your water within reach. When you can see it, you’re more likely to keep sipping throughout the day.

If you’re motivated by tracking or visual reminders, use that to keep hydrating. Setting a regular pop-up reminder on your calendar, using a water bottle marked with goal times for drinking certain amounts, a bullet journal-style hydration chart or even an app for logging water intake on your phone can all be possibilities for creating and sustaining a hydration habit at the office.

If drinking lots of water isn’t appealing, remember that you can get your fluid intake in different ways, including high water content foods including melons and other fruit, milk and soups. Sparkling water counts and adding fruit to your water can provide flavor if those help you drink enough for optimal hydration.

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