M.E.’s search for the perfect snack…
Many of my clients complain of energy lows around 2 or 3pm during their work week. What’s the cause? Well there are several reasons, one of which is an unbalanced lunch. If you don’t have a good combination of carbs, protein and fat in your lunchtime meal then you may feel a little snoozy in the afternoon. The best way to treat these lows is to prevent them from happening in the first place. You can do this by having a healthy lunch and also by having a mid-afternoon snack. I always recommend keeping healthy snacks at your desk that don’t require a fridge. If you don’t plan ahead then you may find yourself at a local coffee house looking for pick me ups.
Here’s my food fight of the month as it relates to snacks at Starbucks.
Contender #1: Starbucks Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf, value $1.95
Nutrition: 490 calories, 23g fat, 68g carbohydrate, 5g protein and a trace of fibre (less than 1g if you’re wondering).
If you’ve ever eaten a slice of Starbucks lemon loaf you would’ve noticed the grease slick on your fingers and stains on the bag.
When choosing a healthy snack, look for options that are less than 200 calories. A healthy meal should be about 500-600 calories. If we consider the calories in this loaf, it’s much closer to a meal than a snack. It’s also loaded with upwards of 30% of your daily fat calories. There’s no fibre present so I can only assume that there was zero whole wheat flour used in the recipe. Starbucks doesn’t list the saturated or trans fats in their online nutritional information. I would guess that they are present based on my oily hands after eating it. There are much better snacks to choose like our winner, contender #2.
Contender #2: Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal $3.25
140 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 4g fibre, 5g protein
Who said that oatmeal was only a breakfast food? Not me! Oatmeal is a great source of carbohydrates and fibre. It’s the perfect food to pick you up and keep you going for the rest of the day. Pass on the package of brown sugar (13g) that you can order with it and instead grab a smaller package (5g) at the milk/sugar station. The smaller pack is 16 calories vs. 50 in the larger one. Top with your own fresh fruit or buy a banana usually positioned beside the cashier.
I just have one bad thing to say about this winning snack option and it’s the cost! The cost of 1 serving of Starbucks perfect oatmeal is similar to a box of 12 individually packaged plain oatmeal that you can buy at the grocery store. Not only is the 12-pack cheaper but you can also store it in your office without a fridge. If you are cost conscience an even less expensive option is a bag of quick cooking oat. Mix 1/2 cup with some boiling water and stir until a desirable consistency is reached. Happy snacking!