Snacks for School and Office – Practical Suggestions
A lot of people assume that most of the “weight gain” happens during weekends, but if you think about it, those are just 2 out of the 7 days we all have. In terms of weight gain/loss, it would be more logical to look at the other 5 days that we spend at school or at work.
So let’s say that you work or go to school 5 days a week from 8:00am to 5:00pm or 9:00am to 6:00pm—8-hour shifts. That’s 40 hours of being stuck in one place with limited access to a kitchen or pantry.
Most of time, your choices are limited to:
- Mini cakes
- Cup noodles
- Chocolate bars
- Peanuts or cornicks
Notice the trend: they’re all ready-to-eat and don’t spoil easily, if at all.
We’ve all heard that in order to lose weight, we need to make healthier or more macro-friendly food choices, but what if you don’t care that much? We could tell you to pack your own lunch or baon, avoid eating out too often and minimize the low-satiety foods, but are you really going to do that?
Probably not. Why?
When you’re stressed, tired and hungry, it’s a lot harder to make “sensible” or “better” choices. Also, let’s face it—people are lazy. We get it. We can be lazy, too.
People will do what they want, and when they hear about all the things they have to change in order to see results, they lose interest. Rather than have you give up altogether, we’re trying to help the transition along by providing less drastic ways to go about change.
If you're going to eat it anyway, then you might as well be guided by some of these options.
Chips are fun, sure. Chips come in all sorts of flavors. Chips are easy to share with friends and co-workers. But not all chips are created equal. Some are higher in fat. Some are higher in sugar. Some have a pretty decent macronutrient profile. You would know these things if you bothered to look at the nutrition label, but we’re assuming you don’t, so we rounded up some of the “better” options for chips.
Biscuits like Oreos (my fave!), Chips Ahoy (Pat’s fave!), Dewberry, Hansel, Marie, Jolly, Loacker, Tiger, Voice, Cream-O, Presto, Sunflower Crackers, Bingo, etc. are cheap and will keep for a long time, which is why they are quite popular among students and office workers. You can buy a whole bag and just grab one pack as you head out the door. For biscuits or crackers, here are some of our picks.
Ah coffee. This is a big problem for those who work the night shift or graveyard shift because they have to stay up through the night. Going for “good quality” coffee once or twice everyday may not be feasible for most people, so Starbucks or Coffee Bean isn’t always the answer. In come cheaper alternatives like Family Mart, McDonald’s, 7-11, Mini Stop, coffee slushies/slurpies or vending machine coffees.
If you must have 3-in-1, we like the San Mig Super Coffee Sugarfree one. It’s the only one we would even bother mentioning because the alternatives are so high in sugar. This includes all the ready-made coffees that are chillin in the chiller. Just no. We know they’re good. We know they’re addicting. They were made to be addicting, so yes, expect them to be addicting.
Unless it’s black (instant), served plain from a coffee-maker or machine, or San Mig sugarfree, we’re not recommending anything else in particular.
“Grazing” or mindlessly eating things in small increments in between meals can be pretty significant depending on what you’re eating. If you graze on nuts, you can easily take in 500 calories without even feeling full or satisfied. Cornicks are slightly better but don’t have as much micronutrients or protein as nuts so take that into account. Also, most nuts or cornicks are seasoned with msg and lots of salt, so if you’re sensitive to either one, make sure to look at the ingredients list. We’d rather you graze on something like raisins instead.
Most offices will have a microwave or thermos with hot water ready. This makes cup noodles or coffee really convenient for people to prepare, so we’re not at all surprised that they’re two of the most consumed items based on our mini survey. If you’re looking for nutrients to nourish your body, cup noodles aren’t it. Here are some lower-fat options to consider in any case.
For dry noodles such as pansit canton or yakisoba, avoid adding the oil and try to put as little of the seasoning as possible.
This is an “if you must” basis concerning snacks for school and office. If you must… eat chips instead of a decent, nutrient-dense meal, then take note of our suggestions so you don’t get the worst one on the shelf without knowing it.
If you eat all of these items on a daily basis, we urge you to rethink your eating habits and put a little more effort into your nutrition. If you only have these items on occasion, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem but again, there’s always room to improve and incorporate more nutrient-dense foods into your diet.
FOR THE OVERACHIEVERS
Bless. Thanks for trying. You’re one step closer, you guys. We recommend the following if you’re willing to go a little further:
- Oatmeal packets (instant so it’s still microwavable)
- Boiled eggs
- Canned tuna
- French Fries
- Fruit salad (ANY fruit will do)
- Green Salad (light dressing or just a spoonful of any dressing)
- Rice toppings (preferably with a beef or chicken topping)