Freelance Fitness – Healthy Snack Ideas for the Home Office

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on April 18, 2010 in Freelance Fitness
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It's Freelance Fitness time again, where we cover one workout idea and one nutrition-related idea each month for freelance writers working from home. This weekend it's time to talk about food -- healthy snacks to be exact. One of the hardest things for me as a freelancer trying to stay healthy and lose weight is the fact that convenience foods are, well, just too darn convenient. The phone and takeout menus are right there when I'm too caught up in work to want to cook. It's easy to keep snacks like chips and pretzels around when you need to nosh.

I'm a grazer. I like to eat a little bit a lot throughout the day instead of eating much larger but less frequent meals. I like to have things around that don't involve cooking (especially now that the weather's heating up here). I like to be able to go to the other room, grab something, and get back to work. I'm sure I'm not the only freelance writer who likes to have little things on-hand. So in light of that I thought we'd kick off this half of the series by listing some of our favorite reasonably healthy snacks that can be kept on-hand for when you're working from home.

Here are my favorites:

  • Yogurt (which I add milled flaxseed to)
  • Individually-sized packages of cottage cheese
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Pistachios, macadamias, pecans, walnuts, and other nuts (either lightly salted or raw)
  • Natural fruit rolls / fruit leathers (for when I really want a sugar kick)
  • Mini dill pickles
  • Berries and grapes (although you could keep almost any fruit around)
  • 100 calorie serving sizes of lite fruit cocktail
  • Mini whole grain bagels (and a light cream cheese or no sugar added fruit preserves)
  • Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa for when I need a saltier snack and want to avoid things like potato chips

Do you have favorite simple snack ideas that you think other freelancers might be interested in? Share your ideas for some reasonably healthy snacks that writers could turn to when they've got the mid-morning munchies. :)

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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13 Comments

  1. Jim Lochner April 18, 2010 Reply

    I’ve been thinking about this very topic over the last couple of weeks. I found a great site (pardon the plug), rawfoodswitch.com, which has some great e-books and recipes for healthy snacks. I’ve added two of those recommendations to my diet on a daily basis.

    Green smoothies: Blend together 60% fruit (usually 1-2 bananas, strawberries, peaches or other berries for me), 1 cup water, 2 ice cubes (to make it cold), and a handful of spinach on top (leafy green should always be last). Delicious, filling, and all healthy. I hate most vegetables and this helps me get at least SOME raw food into my system.

    When I need the crunch, I make a trail mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and goji berries. I also add dried cranberries for more fruity flavor. Yum!

    Check out the website (and, no, I receive no money from the recommendation and Nathalie didn’t ask me to do this). I guarantee you’ll find a lot of interesting things to keep you away from the potato chips (Cheetos and Yodels are my downfall).

    • Jennifer Mattern April 18, 2010 Reply

      I do like the trail mix idea. It’s hard for me to find any pre-made varieties I like, so creating my own might be a good option. I’m not a big raw food person for meals, but there might be some snack ideas that would make raw foods a bit more interesting. So thanks for the recommendation. :)

  2. Dan Smith April 18, 2010 Reply

    I can easily devour a whole tub of low fat humus with a bag of carrot sticks over the course of an hour. Not just when I’m working, though, they make for a great healthy snack when I’m sat in front of the TV and want to pig out on something that isn’t popcorn or crisps.

    • Jennifer Mattern April 18, 2010 Reply

      Mmmm. Hummus. I can’t believe I didn’t think to add that. I love hummus on those triangular Triscuits (don’t like the original square ones for some reason). Pita chips are also good with it, but I have a hard time finding good ones here.

  3. Wendy April 18, 2010 Reply

    Frankly, I can’t stand snacking when I’m writing. I’ll stop for meal breaks, but I don’t like to snack while I’m typing. It bothers me, because it tends to break the flow I’m in and it’s hard to get back into the swing of it. I do drink my coffee though. If I’m researching, web-surfing or reading emails, then I get the munchies. That’s when I usually go for the Trail Mix.

    • Jennifer Mattern April 20, 2010 Reply

      If I don’t eat something periodically I feel the brain fog coming on and that ruins my work flow more than anything. I like to keep finger foods around — things I can just grab and eat in bite sizes when possible (nuts are great for that, and they give you some good protein). It’s really not different than picking up a coffee mug for a sip when you pop a few nuts, grapes, or whatever in your mouth. It’s all in which snacks you choose I guess. Trail mix sounds like a good one. What do you put in yours?

  4. Lori April 19, 2010 Reply

    Mini carrots. If they’re in the house (as well as a bag full of Gala apples), they’re history.

    • Jennifer Mattern April 19, 2010 Reply

      I like cooked carrots, but I can’t stand eating them raw for some reason. I buy them occasionally to try to force myself. But then I just conveniently forget about them until it’s time to toss them. Apples are similar for me. 90% of the time, I don’t like apples. Once in a while I get a really great one, but it’s so rare to find those gems for me that I just stop trying. I’m the type that would go to an apple orchard and buy them (pick my own right off the tree), but apples from supermarkets, the junction, or even some of the local farmers who pre-pick them for you just aren’t the same.

      Then again, I’m just very fussy about food. My weakness in the fruit department are champagne grapes. But only one supermarket carried them last year (P-ville’s Acme over by you actually), and they only had them for about 2-3 weeks. :( My cousin does some of the produce ordering for the Giant over there, so I need to remember to nag him about that — those and fresh figs are much too hard to find around here when they’re in season. Maybe if I promise to buy them out every time they stock up they’ll finally do it. I soooo would too. lol

      And speaking of figs, add that to my healthy snack list. They also make a great breakfast. Buy some plain or vanilla greek yogurt (I like chobani), drizel a bit of honey over the yogurt, and have that with fresh figs. Yum….

  5. Dan Smith April 19, 2010 Reply

    That’s just reminded me of something else – for a kind of dessert, I have natural yoghurt (low fat) with a squeeze or lemon juice over it (or some artificial sweetener if we’re out of lemons).

    Healthy and massively addictive.

    • Jennifer Mattern April 20, 2010 Reply

      I don’t think I could do plain yogurt like that. I don’t even like vanilla — I’ll only eat it with honey and figs. I prefer small FiberOne yogurts (50 calories each and a custard style — just wish they didn’t use gelatin). I also like some of the organic options. Most of the organic yogurts I like are higher in fat than the little snack ones I get, so I do those as a meal instead (or a part of one — maybe paired with some fruit). I’ve never tried lemon juice on yogurt though. That sounds interesting.

  6. Issa April 20, 2010 Reply

    Yummy and hearty treats, I’d say. Thanks Jennifer for this sharing. I think many of us working at home are too busy with our freelance gigs to even take a time off. Also, it’s like watching T.V. where you just simply pop what’s available and easy, without counting calories and reading the labels. I love munching on toasted pita, cut into smaller bite-sized portions, and dipped in my own mix of olive oil, parsley, and lemon squeeze. Let’s all be healthy freelancers!

    • Jennifer Mattern April 20, 2010 Reply

      That’s exactly what it’s like for me — sometimes it becomes mindless snacking, and that’s why it’s so important to keep healthy options around instead of “junk food.” It’s easy to say “just don’t snack” instead, but I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t snack during the day I’ll just binge come meal time. And that’s no good either.

      I actually just wrote a post for a client’s blog with two of my favorite easy and relatively healthy meal ideas for freelancing (that still count as “fun food” to me). When it’s live on the site, I’ll post a link here.

  7. Jenn Mattern April 21, 2010 Reply

    Here’s that link I mentioned before: http://www.dirjournal.com/health-journal/is-freelancing-making-you-fat/

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