I have been working remotely for over five years. Therefore, the recent COVID-19 “Safer at Home” requirements have not changed my daily routine. However, I am the exception and many people are struggling to adjust to working from home.
Recently, a friend of mine who is now working remotely asked me, “How do you work from home and not snack all day?” Weight gain, or the “Quarantine 15” as it is being called, is a concern of many people. If you are like my friend, you may be worried that snacking combined with lockdown will necessitate new (larger) professional clothes when it is time to return to the office. Not to worry, I have some healthier snack options for you.
I am not a doctor nor a nutritional expert. I am just someone who has found techniques that work for me.
In an ideal world you would eat three well-balanced meals and you would not snack at all. At the end of this article I have provided a sample recipe for one breakfast, lunch, and dinner, filled with protein to help lessen the desire to snack.
However, food is comfort for many of us and, especially during a stressful time, that is where a “snack attack” can sneak in. Rather than potato chips, ice cream, and candy, here are some of the things I snack on.
When I am being perfectly virtuous, I eat:
Raw Unsalted Nuts
I prefer cashews and almonds but you can choose whatever you like. Nuts can be high in fat but a small portion is usually enough to satisfy.
Air Popped Popcorn
I eat this with no butter or flavorings. It is quite filling and holds me to my next meal. I have tried many brands and Orville Redenbacher is still my favorite.
If you have not tried this yet, I highly recommend it. You mix it with water (but I prefer vanilla soy milk) and you have a protein-filled snack with 87% less fat and 66% less calories than regular peanut butter. I eat it straight (like I would from the jar) and you can pair it with your favorite foods.
Hot Herbal Tea
Choose something good. Something with flavor. Something complex. Your taste buds will thank you.
A slice of tofu topped with my favorite hot sauce is a fast and surprisingly filling snack with a little bit of fire.
When I need a pick me up, I eat:
I know this is old advice but it works for me. I enjoy an apple, banana, tangerine, or pear and find it very satisfying.
This is a staple of endurance athletes who need a boost of energy. It comes in 8 flavors and the ingredients are 90% organic. You can choose from caffeine-free and caffeinated versions. My favorite is the caffeine-free chocolate. Think of Duncan Hines cake frosting…
This can be a powder you mix with your preferred beverage or a pre-made shake. Either way, it is filling and provides some of what your body needs. Just make sure you choose one that tastes good. I don’t recommend peaches and cream. Trust me on this one.
Hard Boiled Egg
I purchase mine at Costco. They come precooked and already shelled, which makes for a great grab-and-go snack.
No Sugar Added Chocolate Milk
Wanna feel like a kid again without the sugar and guilt? Nesquick No Sugar Addedchocolate powder with low-fat milk or vanilla soy milk makes a tasty treat. It satisfies my chocolate craving and has relatively little sugar.
Banana with Cinnamon
This is an old Jack Lalanne favorite. Mash a banana (slightly overripe works best) and add ground cinnamon. For reasons I can’t explain, mashing the banana brings out more of its sweetness. It makes a delicious pudding-like snack.
Drink lots of water. I know you have heard this before, likely because it is time-tested and proven. I use my Soda Stream to make 30 oz of carbonated water and squeeze in a ¼ lime. It breaks up the monotony of plain water.
Best of all, everything listed above and in the recipes below can be ordered online so you can continue to practice safe social distancing!
Here are the meal recipes I promised:
½ cup Whole Oat Oatmeal
2 tsp Chia Seeds
1 tsp Hemp Hearts
Fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or quartered strawberries)
4oz yogurt (Greek will offer extra protein)
3oz Premier Protein Shake (flavor of your choice)
3oz Vanilla Soy Milk
Combine all ingredients into a shaker, shake vigorously, and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, eat it cold or warm it up. It is fantastic either way. This is loaded with protein and should hold you until lunch.
Rice, tofu, veggies and sauce
1 cup of Calrose (sticky) rice – cooked
2 cups of frozen vegetables
1/5 to 1/3 package of tofu cut into cubes
5 tsp of teriyaki sauce
Sauté the vegetables until they are slightly browned. Warm the rice. Combine veggies with the rice and tofu. Add 5 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce. Mix and enjoy.
Fish, beans, rice, salad
1 package of defrosted frozen fish (4oz) – cooked
½ cup of beans (your choice)
1 cup of long-grain rice – cooked
Side salad with balsamic vinaigrette or ¼ fresh squeezed lemon as dressing
What are YOU doing to satisfy your “snack attacks”?