When hunger pangs strike during the work day, grabbing something from a vending machine or corner store is easy—but it can come with a price. Typical snack options like chips, granola, crackers, and bars are often ultra-processed and made with added sugars and refined grains. While they may give you a quick hit of energy, these ingredients also cause glucose levels to spike—and fall just as quickly, leaving you sluggish. Many of these foods also contain refined seed oils linked to poor metabolic health.
What your body and brain need are snacks that offer protein, fiber, and healthy fats, all of which help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote sustained energy. Luckily, you can find snacks made with nutritious ingredients that support metabolic health. Even better, many are shelf-stable and not too messy, making them perfect whether working in the office, at home or constantly on the go. Here are some of our favorite picks.
Snack Shopping Advice
When you’re shopping for workday snacks, here’s what to look for:
- Go for options that provide fiber, protein, and healthy fats. A snack consisting primarily of carbs will give you a quick energy jolt but later leave you feeling sluggish. However, getting a balance of these nutrients slows down the rate of digestion and release of glucose into your bloodstream, stabilizing your blood sugar so you can stay energized and satisfied for longer. Levels advisor Dr. Robert Lustig recommends consuming foods with a carb-to-fiber ratio of less than five-to-one.
- Be wary of deceptive labels on snack products. Always check the ingredient list and nutrition facts.
- Avoid snack bars full of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or additives. Opt for those with a short and clean ingredient list, as well as protein and fiber.
- Upgrade from chips and crackers made with refined grains and refined seed and vegetable oils to low-carb and grain-free alternatives made with healthier oils (like avocado or coconut oil).
- When you want dried fruit, go for unsweetened varieties, stick to a single recommended serving size to keep the sugar content moderate, and pair with healthy fats and proteins.
- Buy snacks that fit into your workday setting. For instance, if you don’t have access to a fridge, stick to shelf-stable snacks that won’t go bad. Or, if you’re constantly on the move, consider single-serving options.
Here are a few suggestions:, divided into two categories depending on your work situation.
Supermarkets offer plenty of specialty grab-and-go options but don’t overlook these tried-and-true snack staples. Keep your kitchen stocked with these Levels-approved options:
- Hardboiled eggs are an excellent source of micronutrients such as choline, calcium, vitamin D, and numerous B vitamins.
- Cheese (such as low-fat cheddar or mozzarella) is a good source of calcium and contains vitamin D (which plays a vital role in glucose metabolism)).
- Raw sliced vegetables (such as celery, cucumbers, carrots, or bell peppers) are full of various antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and may lower chronic disease risk.
- Raw fruit (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or apples) satisfies a sweet tooth with some naturally occurring sugars while tempering blood glucose spikes with fiber.
- Plain unsweetened Greek yogurt contains probiotics and makes a good base for nutritious toppings such as nuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Probiotics support a healthy gut and help control inflammation.
- Nuts (such as cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, or hazelnuts) and seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds) don’t require refrigeration and offer healthy unsaturated fats.
If you’re in an office or on the go, a workday snack must be shelf-stable, easy to eat, and portable. Here are convenient options we love.
With ample healthy fats and fiber, avocados make a great low-carb snack. The mess of slicing one up? Not so ideal. That’s why we love these mini guacamole cups. Pair with Flackers Organic Flax Seed Crackers or sliced veggies.
Per serving (1 mini cup): 120 calories, 10 g fat (2 g sat), 5 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 1 g protein, 270 mg sodium
Price: $5.34 for six 2-oz cups
These savory snacks introduce a little Mediterranean flavor into your workday—plus a good dose of the antioxidant oleuropein. Oleuropein is believed to help stabilize blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and facilitating glucose uptake into cells.
Per serving (4 olives): 15 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g sat), less than 1 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 0 g protein, 200 mg sodium
Price: $2.99 for a 2.3-oz package
When you’re craving something crunchy, these Norwegian-style whole-grain crackers are a much healthier bet than crackers made with typical refined flours. Although they do include flour among their three ingredients (wheat bran, whole grain rye flour, and salt), they fit Dr. Lustig’s formula above with a carb-to-fiber ratio of 3:2. Use them as a vehicle for sliced cheese, nut butter, and dips or spreads.
Per serving (1 cracker): 30 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 6 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein, 20 mg sodium
Price: $4.29 for a 3.5-oz package
Lupini beans are less starchy than many other legumes, so they contain fewer carbs—while still packing a serious protein and fiber punch. Studies have linked lupini bean consumption to improved blood sugar control. Some research suggests this effect may be thanks to the way the proteins in lupini beans mimic the effects of insulin in the body.
Per serving (about 25 beans): 60 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat), 5 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 7 g protein, 403 mg sodium
Price: $4.69 for a 5.3-oz bag
Don’t overlook the nutritional benefits (and satiety factor) of getting some animal protein in between meals. These zesty, satisfying bars are just as convenient as a regular protein bar and have an ingredient list that more closely resembles a meal: chicken meat and seasonings.
Per serving (1 bar): 100 calories, 5 g fat (2 g sat), 3 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 11 g protein, 760 mg sodium
Price: $2.99 for a 1.3-oz bar
The red seaweed in this simple snack is rich in micronutrients like vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It’s also made with avocado oil, high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Per serving (½ pack): 25 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat), 1 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein, 55 mg sodium
Price: $2.49 for a 0.32-oz package
While many nut butters contain added sugars and vegetable oils, these packets are as close to the whole food as you can get. They’re made with only raw, organic almonds, which offer a rich trio of blood-sugar stabilizing nutrients: fats, fiber, and protein. Squeeze onto low-carb flaxseed crackers or apple slices, or eat straight from the pouch.
Per serving (1 snack pack): 169 calories, 15 g fat (1 g sat), 7 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 7 g protein, 0 mg sodium
Price: $19.99 for ten 1.06-oz snack packs
Along with being rich in protein and micronutrients like vitamins D and B12, sardines are one of the very best sources of omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids have been found to moderate chronic inflammation, a dysfunctional immune system process connected to many diseases. Research also shows they benefit heart health in numerous ways (including lowering triglycerides and blood pressure).
Per serving (1 can): 170 calories, 11 g fat (2.5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 18 g protein, 260 mg sodium
Price: $23.60 for six 3-oz cans
Classic gas station beef jerky—often loaded with additives and added sugars—gets a gourmet upgrade with this Biltong, a dried beef snack originally from South Africa. This grass-fed beef is marinated and seasoned with apple cider vinegar, herbs (like rosemary and sage), salt, and dried apple before being air-dried. The best part? Each single-serving bag has 31 grams of protein to squash any mid-day energy dips.
Per serving (1 package): 170 calories, 6 g fat (2 g sat), 3 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 31 g protein, 920 mg sodium
Price: $8.99 for a 2-oz package
Siete’s tortilla chips, which trade corn for cassava and coconut flours, have the unusual advantage of being made with avocado oil. Most corn chips are made with vegetable and refined seed oils, which can harm your metabolic health. This is partly because they’re high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that, when eaten in excess, may contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation.
Per serving (one bag): 130 calories, 7 g fat (1 g sat), 20 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 1 g protein, 150 mg sodium
Price: $4.69 for a 5.3-oz bag: 110mg
*The prices in this article reflect those the retailer listed at the publication time. Prices and local store availability may vary.
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