We all know the familiar feeling of being at work when the munchies hit and not having anything wholesome or satisfying to quench the hunger. And how many times do we skip meals at work because of a time crunch, running out of food at home, and wanting to avoid spending money on eating out!
Ryan and I have both determined to always keep a stash of shelf-stable products at-the-ready in our desks at work (and even at home) for when we are rushed or in a food pinch. The main things we look for in good “desk friendly food” is that the item is relatively wholesome, minimally processed ingredients, fairly low in sodium, and perhaps most importantly, taste almost good enough to be homemade!
Below you will find our list of holy grail “desk foods” that we purchase time and time again. We love to buy the following items in bulk – about once every 3 months – and alternate shopping between Sam’s Club, Costco and Trader Joe’s. It’s then really simple to divvy up the goods and each take a box of things to stash in our desk!
Dried Fruit – loved the Kirkland Signatures “Cherries and Berries” mixed dried fruit blend from Costco and will eat about 1/4 cup of it at a time for a snack or mix a spoon full or two into yogurt, oatmeal, or add it to granola.
Canned Tuna and Salmon – I can’t tell you how many times we turn to a can of tuna or salmon for lunch when we have run out of food or are short on time. We just pop open a can, sprinkle with a seasoning grinder, and drizzle a little oil of vinegar on top before serving with crackers. I recommend the Wild Pink Boneless Skinless Salmon from Kirkland Signatures at Costco or the same at Trader Joe’s and the Wild Planet Albacore Chunk Light Tuna in water or olive oil.
Pistachios – pistachios in the shell are a great nut to keep on hand for snacking because the fact that you have to remove the shell keeps you from eating too quickly or mindlessly eating too much. We love the salt and pepper flavor from the Wonderful Pistachios brand.
Granola – granola is so great for adding some calories/fiber to yogurt or for a quick snack. You have to watch the portion though, so I recommend storing a small measuring cup at your desk for granola and other cereals. We love the Kirkland Signature’s Ancient Grains Granola blend from Costco.
Oatmeal Packets – the oatmeal variety pack from Nature’s Path Organics makes for such a great breakfast if you had to skip it before arriving at work. I love that the varieties include ingredients like nuts, flax seeds, and dried fruits! Tasty tip: I like to stir a little of my coffee into the oatmeal – it tastes SO good!
Nut Butters – we keep these on hand for a quick snack with crackers, to add protein to oatmeal or toast, or to make a quick sandwich with. the Kirkland Signature’s Natural Almond Butter from Costco is the most affordable almond butter I have ever seen and is so good! We also love Jif Simply Natural Peanut Butter with Honey and always buy a big jar from Sam’s Club.
Nature Valley Nut Butter Biscuits – these are currently the granola bar of choice for both Ryan and myself, mainly because they taste like they are homemade! We love the peanut butter and almond butter biscuits – they make for a great mid-morning or afternoon snack with a cup of tea!
Indian Food Packets – the Tasty Bites Madras Lentils (you can purchase in bulk at Sam’s Club and Costco) and the Trader Joe’s Indian Fare Madras Lentils and Jaipur Vegetables make for an amazing lunch to keep stashed at your desk when you are in a pinch. You just microwave, serve, and be amazed at how delicious they are!
Soup Boxes – the small soup boxes at Trader Joe’s are easy to stash in a desk and, in my opinion, taste so much more “homemade” than a lot of canned soups. The Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato, as well as the Roasted Corn Chowder, are our favorites – the seasonal Pumpkin Soup is good too!
Whole Grain Crackers – our crackers of choice for serving with canned fish or nut butter by far have to be the Rosemary Raisin Crisps from Trader Joe’s, followed by Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits. Both also pair beautifully with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese.
Small Bottle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar – a small bottle of each of these condiments can instantly pump of the volume of a can of fish or cup of soup when you are having “desk meal” at work. Make the meal extra special by using a high-quality version of each – I recommend a small bottle of California Olive Ranch’s extra version olive oil, as it is bright and fruity, and a small bottle of an aged balsamic vinegar that’s thick and syrupy.
Salt and Pepper Grinder – the Everyday Seasoning, Lemon Pepper Seasoning, and Everything Bagel Seasoning bottles from Trader Joe’s are amazing for adding a quick dose of flavor to your lunch at work.
Do you keep any foods stashed at work for when hunger strikes? I’d love to know what you find helpful or yummy in the comments below!