Snack Ideas for Work: Great Snacks for the Shelf, Office Fridge & Freezer

snack ideas for work

It’s been ages since we talked about healthy snacks for the office — let’s hear about your favorite snack ideas for work, ladies! During my legal eagle days I spent so much time at the office that snacking was par for the course — I used to keep a banker’s box on my window filled with random snacks (mostly 100-calorie pouches and things like Fruit Gushers). I also splurged on a teeny fridge so I could keep cold water, a Diet Coke, a string cheese or two, and possibly sandwich fixings or yogurt nearby. I tried to avoid the office fridge where possible (things tended to… disappear in there…) but I kept a few things in the freezer on our floor, also. (My office weirdly kept the microwave on another floor entirely so I didn’t keep as much in there as I might have otherwise!) These are some of the best snacks I’d recommend you look into keeping at the office, both to keep your energy up for long-haul days, as well as to keep you from wandering to the local Starbucks (bad for your budget and your waistline)… I’ve never been much for packing a lunch daily, but I would bring several things in at the beginning of each week (yogurt, sliced cheese to add to bagels, etc). How about you, ladies — what are your favorite snacks to bring to work? What do you pack each day, each week — and what do you keep at the office? Do you pack a lunch regularly, or try to cut costs by bringing the “expensive” part of a lunch (e.g., meat, cheese, a more exotic ingredient like artichoke hearts, etc. to add to an affordable plain salad or bagel)? 

Shelf-Stable Snack Ideas for Work

[Read more…]

Tool of the Trade: The Crockpot (and: Recipe Open Thread)

crockpot busy2018 Update: While we still stand by these reasons every busy woman needs a crockpot, you may also want to check out our most recent roundup of 5 all-day crockpot recipes

We were pleasantly surprised when numerous commenters to our What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat post started mentioning the crockpot — we thought it was our dirty Midwestern secret. But it truly is one of our best tools in the kitchen, and if we’re preparing dinner (beyond boiling water) it’s pretty much all we can manage on work days.  (Pictured: Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, available at for $58.)

If you don’t have one, here are the reasons we love it:

  • The food is amazing. Moist, falling apart, delicious. It’s particularly great for recipes involving spices, as they tend to soak in. [Read more…]

What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat

what to eat when you have no time to eat during the workday2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion about what to eat when you have no time to eat — you may also want to check out our latest discussion of energy foods for work, as well as our recent roundup of environmentally-friendly and stylish office lunch containers if you’re bringing lunch to work! 

Let’s start by saying this:  eating is a Good.  Food is fuel for your brain and body, it’s yummy, and the act of eating gives you a nice break during the day.  There are metabolic benefits to eating small meals very often, and your subordinates will appreciate the consistent mood that comes from frequent meals.

However, sometimes just finding the time to eat can be very difficult — just getting downstairs to the deli to grab something and go can be taxing, not to mention unrewarding after realizing you’ve paid $10 for a sandwich that wasn’t fresh or healthy and spent 30 minutes of your time between elevator rides and cashier’s lines.

That’s why we’ve been a big fan of bringing food to the office. If you’re trapped at your desk, it’s easier to rationalize a 5-minute break to eat the food you’ve already brought. It’s also easier to lock yourself into a healthy choice — the all-too-often thought of “well, I’ll just treat myself because I’m so busy” never ends well — and it’s ultimately better for the budget as well.

While there are some who have made an art form out of bringing a beautifully packed lunch, we can only aspire to be in that group for the moment.  So we’ve come to specialize in what we’ll call the grab-and-go snack form of lunching. While none of them would normally be considered a meal, they take far less time to prepare or eat than a proper lunch, and if you eat 2 or 3 of them throughout the day you’re never hungry.  So, without further ado, our list of food staples for the busy working girl: [Read more…]

Reader mail: Can I take the leftovers from my business lunch?

Can you take leftovers from a business lunch?

2017 Update: We still stand by this analysis of when you can take leftovers from a business lunch — links have also been updated below.  You may also want to check out our ultimate guide to business lunch etiquette.

Is a doggy bag is ever appropriate in a business context? Today’s reader wonders what the etiquette rule is on whether she can take leftovers from her business lunch…

I was wondering if it’s ever appropriate to get leftovers from business lunches or dinners wrapped up to go. The portion sizes at restaurants can be so large, and I hate having food go to waste (especially food from eating out!) but I am fairly junior and it may seem a bit much (as in grabby or greedy). Thoughts?

We agree, leaving leftover food is wasteful. However, we must caution against asking for a doggy bag (even if the restaurant will shape it into an amusing animal). You’re right, it does sound slightly grabby or greedy — particularly because it’s entirely possible to ascertain beforehand if the restaurant where you’re dining is one that believes in large portions, such as by looking around the room or asking the waiter — which means that taking leftovers might leave the impression that you either a) ordered for dinner as well as lunch, or b) just are not very observant. Neither are good things for the business lunch. [Read more…]