NDSU Extension - Benson County



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Healthy Snacks at Work

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Community Wellness


Healthy Snacks at Work

Food is the center of many gatherings and is oftentimes what brings people together.  Considering many of us spend a significant amount of time at work, it is important to think about what types of foods we consume there as well. 

While it is fine to give into the occasional sweet treat, we need to be mindful of what we are consuming and how we can avoid empty calories on a regular basis.  One great way to do this is to pack a few healthy snacks to eat in between meals at work. 

Here are a few healthy snack options for work:

  • Mini whole grain muffins
  • Popcorn (be aware of how much butter and salt is added)
  • Fresh fruit such as grapes, apples, oranges, or bananas
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • Fat-free yogurt
  • Hummus with whole-wheat pita bread
  • Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or celery

If you do plan to bring healthy snacks with to work, be sure not to forget about food safety.  Perishable foods such as dip, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits need to be refrigerated.  They should spend no more than two hours at room temperature.  If you do happen to leave food out for longer than two hours, throw it away.  Nobody likes to be wasteful, but it is a much better option that getting food poisoning. 

If you are having a work gathering with perishable foods that will be sitting out for more than two hours, put them on ice to keep them cool for a longer period of time. 

Below is a recipe for banana oatmeal raisin cookies.  They are packed with nutritious ingredients from the fruit, grain, and dairy food groups.  Enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


  • 3 bananas (ripe)
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the margarine in a small saucepan. Melt it on low heat.  Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix really well.  Let the mix stand for about 5 minutes, until the oats are wet.  Lightly grease the cookie sheet.  For each cookie, spoon out about 1 tablespoon of dough and drop it onto the greased cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute.  Move the cookies to wire racks or a towel. Let them cool completely.


Makes: 15 servings.  114 calories per serving, 5 grams of fat, 38 mg of sodium, 16 carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. 



  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network
    Website Recipes
  • NDSU Extension Service, Eat Smart: Enjoy Healthier Snacks at Work, 2016
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Plan for a Healthy Snack

Plan for a Healthy Snack

Snacking is a healthy part of any diet.  The key is picking snacks that are nutritious and help to keep our body healthy and feeling full.  Here are just a few ways you can make healthy snack choices.

  • Create your own trail mix.  If you make your own trail mix, it is likely to be more nutritious, and have ingredients that you enjoy.  Some ideas of items to include in a snack mix are nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, popcorn, or pretzels.
  • Eat a rainbow of vegetables.  Cut vegetables into snack sized pieces.  If you feel like you do not have the time for this, some vegetables are already bite sized when you buy them.  Baby carrots, snap peas, and radishes are ready to eat with minimal preparation.
  • Prepare snacks ahead of time.  If you have your snacks in baggies in the refrigerator or on the counter ready to grab, both you and your family will be more likely to eat the foods that are good for them.  Putting orange wedges or grapes in snack sized bags is the perfect grab and go snack.
  • Make it a My Plate snack.  Include ingredients from multiple food groups to ensure you get all of the food needed to keep your body healthy each day.  Examples include berries and yogurt (fruit and dairy group), or apples with peanut butter (fruit and protein). 

When you take the time to plan your snack, chances are, it will be much healthier.  It will also make for a stress free day when snacks are already prepped and ready to go.

Here is a recipe for trail mix bars.  They include ingredients from the grain, fruit, and protein groups.  Enjoy!

Trail Mix Bars


  • 3 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 3 cups toasted oat cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 jar chunky peanut butter (16 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla



Combine dry ingredients in bowl.  Then, combine the honey and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla, stir until peanut butter melts.  Pour mixture over cereal and mix well.  Press into a 13x9" pan and cool.


Makes 28 bars.  225 calories per serving, 11 grams of fat, 133 mg of sodium, 30 carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, and 2 grams  fiber. 



  • USDA My Plate, My Wins: Hacking your Snack, March 2017
  • University of Wisconsin Extension. Adams County


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Consider more Soy in Your Diet

By Kimberly Braulick, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Did you know that 50% of newspapers are printed with soybean oil?  Interestingly, an acre of soybeans can also produce about 82,000 crayons, but as you may well know, soybeans are used for much more than newspaper and crayon production. 

Soybeans are an excellent source of a variety of nutrients, and are fairly low in calories.  Soy also fits in three different food groups including protein, vegetable, and dairy.  Especially for those who are lactose intolerant, or have dairy sensitivities, replacing dairy milk with soy milk is an excellent option. 

For those who do have dietary restrictions, soy foods are also gluten free and are perfect for regulating a diabetic, vegetarian, or weight management type diets.  Additionally, soybeans are known reducing the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  It is also known for lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing menopause symptoms, and lowering blood pressure. 

There are a wide variety of soy food products including soy milk, soy pasta, edamame, soy flour, tofu, and countless more.  These foods are rich in fiber, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, and protein.  They are also low fat and cholesterol free. 

Here is a recipe for cranberry edamame salad.  It combines the increasingly popular edamame, which is a soybean harvested while still green and sweet, with the interesting flavor combination of feta cheese, dried cranberries, and basil.  Enjoy!


Cranberry Edamame Salad


  • 1 (16 ounce) package of frozen, shelled edamame
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup reduced fate feta crumbles
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a small pan of water to a boil and remove it from heat.  Put the cranberries in the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes to rehydrate.  Drain well and pat it dry with a paper towel; set it aside.  Then, cook the edamame in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.  Pat dry.  Toss edamame, cranberries, basil, olive oil, and pepper together.  Add salt if desired.  Gently stir in feta cheese.  Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.


Makes: 4 servings. Each serving has 270 calories, 10 grams fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 240 mg sodium, 17 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber.



  • Simply Soy, NDSU Extension Service, January 2016
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