These days there are a ton of people working from home. Not as many as during the height of the Pandemic, but still a significant amount of the U.S. workforce.
In January of 2019 for example, those who worked from home accounted for 4.7 percent of the total office jobs. Fast forward to May of 2020, and that number rose to a whopping 61 percent. But now that the Covid Pandemic has eased, that number has declined to an estimated 30 percent. According to an article by The Hill, some Economists consider this shift to working from home as the single biggest change to the labor market since world war II.
So, realizing that 3 out of every 10 office workers are now calling their homes, their office, means the Hacienda is where the money’s being made. And when you’re at home grinding out your day’s work, if you’re like most people, you probably get hungry once in a while. So when that happens, and it’s bound to, what’s your go-to snack? And please, don’t tell me you whip up an Oscar Meyer hotdog, and wash it down with an ice cold Coke.
Because pairing those up for your midday snack wouldn’t be your best choice. Tasty I’ll admit, but there are snack options that give you more of what your body needs.
And though you might not reach for dog and drink as your go-to snack, you might be more of a DoorDash kind of person,
If you are, that can be ok, depending on what food you’re ordering. But are you looking for a meal, or a snack? If it’s a snack you’re after, DoorDash can get expensive for that, especially if you happen to be on a first name basis with your local Dasher.
And if that snack you ordered looks more like a meal, is that going to leave you full, yawning, and ready for a nap (power nap of course) shortly after downing it? Probably so.
The truth is, there are a lot of good work from home snacks. So, whipping up a snack that’s healthy, tastes good, and won’t leave you nodding off between calls, isn’t nearly as hard, or time consuming as you might think. And though I’m nothing even remotely close to a food, or nutrition expert, I do have some past restaurant experience, and a few suggestions on healthy snacks for home workers that you can whip up fast, and will help tame that Lion-like growl coming from your stomach.
Before I give you my snack-a-licious ideas, I think it’s worthwhile to take a quick look at what happens when you’re working while being hungry.
Difficulty in focusing. When you’re hungry, you can find it difficult to concentrate, or remain focused on your tasks. Generally, your mind will wander because consciously, or subconsciously, you’re likely to be thinking about getting something to eat, rather than on your work.
Compromised decision making. When you’re hungry it can affect your ability to make the best decisions. Your decisions might be more impulsive which can lead you to making decisions that you might not otherwise choose.
Productivity drain. When you’re hungry, your energy levels are lower and as a result, you may find yourself working slower, making more mistakes and seeing your output decrease.
Irritability. Most of us have either experienced this ourselves, or know someone who gets irritable when they’re hungry. When this happens, it can negatively affect our relationships with co-workers and our customers.
I feel pretty safe in saying nobody likes to be hungry, and when you consider the points above, as it relates to being hungry at work, there are good reasons to stay fueled up.
Here are some good snacks to make at home that are easy to make, healthy, and will keep you feeling satisfied and productive. And when you’re more productive, you get noticed. And when you get noticed, you can get promoted. And when you get promoted, you make more money. And when you make more money you can have a better lifestyle. And when you have a better lifestyle, well, you get the idea. Don’t be hungry at work, and eat good stuff and you might just find yourself being the owner of the big house on the hill.
Ok, let’s start with a simple little healthy snack for home workers that checks a lot of boxes like carbs, protein, calcium and more.
Tuna & Crackers.
I can imagine there are a few of you who are plugging your nose at the mere thought of eating Tuna in spite of it having a lot of healthy protein. Ok, for you nose pluggers, substitute canned, or better still, fresh chicken in place of the Tuna. You can unplug your noses now.
Here’s all you need for this quick work from home snack: (and if you don’t have this stuff, go get it, you’ll thank me later)
- Green Onions
- Crackers - your choice. I like Ritz crackers, but you can use the ones you like.
- Salt and pepper
- Cheese, stuffed green olives, paprika, chopped celery and parsley optional
Get out your favorite wood cutting board, and a French knife like the one here on Zonny. You can find a French knife at any of the major retail stores, and they don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Grab about 3 green onions, peel and clean, and then chop the crap out of them until you’ve annihilated them into small pieces. Set aside. Now take about ½ of a regular size pickle and disrespect it just like you did with those green onions. Combine with onions and mix together. And if a half of a pickle doesn’t float your boat, then feel free to keep chopping.
In a separate bowl, throw in one small can of Tuna/Chicken after you drain the liquid (I prefer mine in water rather than oil). Either way, drain it good…real good, yes, that good. You know what I’m talking about.
Next, grab that Mayo, and a spoon, and throw a couple of tablespoons of it onto the Tuna (or chicken for the squeamish), using a dinner fork, mix it around. Is the mixture a bit dry for your tastebuds? If so, lay down another shot of Mayo, then tilt your head back and shout out a big “hell yeah” now stir some more. How’s the consistency? Good? Ok, you’re ready to move on to the next, and nearly final step. Pretty easy so far huh?
Remember those green onions, and pickles you chopped the snot out of? Toss them into the Tuna/Chicken mixture. Throw in a few pinches of salt and a few dashes of pepper to taste (that means add more if you want).
Now you’re ready to hit the finish line by taking your Tuna/Chicken mixture and spooning it onto your favorite cracker for a delectable, satisfying and even healthy morning or afternoon snack.
If you’d like to add some calcium, you can top it with a small slice of cheese. Or, if you want to dress it up like going to the Senior Prom, you can slice a few stuffed green olives to place on top along with a dash of paprika, and even a pinch of parsley (for the perfect color contrast of course).
Your taste buds will be happy, and this is a healthy snack for home workers that's easy to whip up, and it’s nutritious. Best of all, you won’t be looking for that blanket and pillow after mashing down a handful of these surf or turf treats. Yep, eating a few of these bad boys will have you checking off boxes from that food pyramid. Bon Appetit
Aint my thang
But if you're looking for a good work from home snack, but slicing and dicing isn’t your thing, then here’s your fastest path to Snackville heaven. Wrangling these down will give you some powerful nutrition, and help to satisfy that morning or afternoon hunger crave. I’m referring to:
Celery and peanut butter
You might not be a big fan of celery, but when you pair it together with some PB, it brightens up what would otherwise be a wet, relatively tasteless mouthful of crunch. Not only does it taste great, but you get some great nutritional benefits. Here’s what’s in a single 5 inch stalk of celery with a tablespoon of peanut butter smeared all over it gives you:
- 4 grams of carbs
- 1.6 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 15% of the recommended daily value of Niacin
- 13% of the recommended daily value of Manganese
- 11% of the recommended daily value of Copper
- 7% of the recommended daily value of Magnesium
- 6% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B6
- 5% of the daily recommended value of Phosphorus
- 5% of the daily recommended value of Zinc
- 5% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin E
- 5% of the daily recommended value of Folate
- 4% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin K
How do you like those apples? Or in this case, celery and PB (minus the J). Not bad for a snack that’s packed with nutrition and only takes a moment to prepare.
So, when hunger strikes, and your mind begins thinking more about that, and less about your tasks, head right on over to the fridge and break off a stick of celery and give it a good dousing of peanut butter. And when you do, you’ll be treated to a crunchy, nutty snack that will make you feel like you’re ready to run a marathon. Ok, maybe not, but it’s a good idea to eat this stuff anyway, and without a doubt, this is one of the many healthy snacks for home workers.
Two quick things about this snack.
- Ingredients matter. The kind of peanut butter you use matters. Some, no, most brands of peanut butter are chalked full of other ingredients such as sugars and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Rather than loading up on those ingredients, you might skip the Skippy, and opt to choose brands like Adams that contain fresh roasted peanuts, and a dash of salt. Nothing more, and nothing less..
- Peanut intolerance. The other thing relates to those individuals with peanut allergies. Clearly this isn’t the snack for them, and something to steer clear of. Other work from home snack options would be the better choice.
Let me guess, you don’t like Tuna, you can’t stand celery, and the thought of eating peanut butter leaves you uninspired. I get it, so what else might you consider? Well, there’s always Taco Bell or Mickey D’s. Scratch that…horrible idea because we’re talking about nutritional snacks that help to put your career on the fast track, and that’s not getting done anytime soon if that's what you call your midday snack.
Skip the fast food, and for that quick work from home snack, seek out what you might already have in the kitchen.
Fruit - the healthy portable snack
Most of us that consider ourselves to be adults probably have fruit in the house. Typically these are bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, pears, grapes, berries and melons as the most common.. But if you feel like adding some spice to your fruit medley, you might want to throw Mangos, Papayas,and Kiwi’s into the mix. But if you do, don’t be alarmed if you have friends over and when they see those things, they end up with quizzical looks on their faces like Owen Wilson, and Ben Stiller in that computer scene in the movie Zoolander.
Confusion or not, it’s a great idea to have a good variety of fruits in the house because they make for a quick and easy, not to mention nutritious portable snack. And to get the best bang for your fruit spending dollar, whip yourself up a bowl or plate of mixed fruit. The synergy, and nutritional benefits when combining them are through the roof. And when you're wanting to raise the roof on your career, then a colorful fruit medley needs to be a part of your daily routine. This is a good snack to make at home that needs next to no preparation. This is one quick work from home snack that checks all the boxes.
Unlike with Tuna or celery, it’s safe to say that most people enjoy eating fruit. It requires no preparation, it tastes great, and it’s packed with lots of vitamins, minerals and productivity enhancing, naturally occurring sugars. There’s a lot to like, and appreciate from this grab-n-go snack, unless you’re a diabetic. The sugar content might cause elevated blood sugar levels, so something to keep in mind if you’re someone with that condition. For everyone else, get mashing that fruit, and when you do, see if your hunger isn’t satisfied, and you feel the kick of all that natural goodness.
Next up is a quick south of the border staple; Burrito
Don’t start thinking here that I’m suggesting that you break out six frying pans and sixteen different ingredients. Slow down a minute. Do you have these ingredients hiding out somewhere in that kitchen of yours?
- Butter or some cooking oil
If you don’t, go to the store. I’ll wait. Ok, got it? Great!
Crack a couple of those freshies into a bowl making sure you don’t include the shell because we’re not looking for crunchy here. And if you can’t scramble an egg, you need some serious counseling.
If you have some milk that isn’t past its expiration date, then toss in a small amount with those two eggs in that bowl. SEMI-PRO TIP: use a bowl that’s bigger (think small mixing bowl). This will give you more room to beat the crap out of those eggs and not have them spilling over onto your kitchen counter because the intent here is to eat the eggs, not watch them vanish down your sink drain. And if you don’t have a small mixing bowl, then just use that white bowl you have in your cabinet that you use to polish off those double servings of Rocky Road every night. That’ll do.
Now that you have your eggs ready, get a frying pan and put it onto your stovetop and set the heat to medium high. Park it there for a few minutes to allow it to start heating up, then add a couple of tablespoons or so of butter or oil. Once the oil is hot, pour in the eggs making sure to continuously stir until they're cooked up light and fluffy. You don't want it overcooked, or burnt.
Once the eggs are cooked (and if you’re not sure, I suggest you go to youtube and watch how Gordon Ramsay cooks his. But be forewarned, he might yell at you), remove the eggs from the pan and put them onto a plate.
Using a paper towel, wipe clean the frying pan. If wiping the pan down with a paper towel makes you uneasy, you can wash and dry the pan if that helps you to sleep better at night. Once the pan is wiped/cleaned, return it to the stovetop burner at that same medium high setting, and allow it to heat back up.
Once the pan is heated up, drop in a tortilla making sure to move it around the pan after a short period of time (you don’t want a burnt tortilla). When it’s warmed, turn it over and repeat.
Remove the tortilla from the pan, and on half of it, add some of those scrambled eggs. Make sure to add salt, pepper and any other spices you like to your eggs. Now, roll that flat tortilla with egg into a true, all American, north of the border, burrito shape. At this point you can eat and enjoy, or return to the frying pan for some tortilla browning to add a bit of crispiness to it.
Things you can add to your eggs:
- Diced bell peppers
- Salsa and/or hot sauce
- Fruit on the side for an even greater nutritional boost
This is a versatile snack that takes only a few minutes to make. So don’t get all lazy on me here and start whining about it being too difficult and takes too much time to make. Wrong, wrong and wrong (ok, I added an extra wrong here), but this snack is super quick to make, and even an 8 year old could make it, so what’s your excuse? Or, you could adopt the thinking by the late, great Groucho Marx who was quoted as saying:
“Clear? Huh! Why a four-year-old child could understand this report! Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it.”
Skip being hungry, and skip being lazy. Give your body what it wants, which is a healthy snack to keep the hangries away. This is one good snack to make at home that will help you to perform at your best.
And finally, for those of you who simply refuse to whip out a frying pan, and can’t stomach Tuna and celery, you can always hit the normal standby which is:
Apples and cheese
If you say that you’re too busy to do this one, or it’s too hard, I’ll personally find you a therapist. After all, how much time, and how hard is it to cut up an apple, and cheese? One knife and two minutes of your time. Something I know you can handle.
So when you wolf down a few apple slices and some tasty cheddar, what can you expect to get from a nutritional point of view? In a nutshell you get:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
When you eat a small apple and an ounce of cheddar cheese, your hunger will be satisfied, you’ll feel full longer, and the natural sugar will help give you the fuel to power your way through your day. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t pass by those Granny Smith’s, or Golden Delicious apples without throwing a few of them into your cart. Ditto on the cheese. You can even consider pairing your favorite apple with some peanut butter. That also makes for a great, healthy snack for home workers, and that combo is pretty tasty.
Whether you decide to eat the snacks I’ve talked about in this blog, or others, the main point is to snack on things that are nutritious and those that won’t leave you feeling tired, sluggish, cranky and leave you unproductive. Don't let that be you. Good snacks at home aren't difficult to prepare, and they don't have to take a lot of time either.
So the next time your stomach is talking to you, settle it down with something good, and energy lifting rather than my earlier example of an Oscar Meyer and that Coke that's not only unhealthy, but meals like that can leave you tired, and bloated. Healthy, and quick work from home snacks are just what the Doctor ordered.
Healthy snacking to all!