The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Healthy Snacks for Your Desk Drawer

Conquer afternoon hunger with these healthy snacks to keep in your desk drawer.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Whether I was dancing, running cross-country or playing soccer, I was always on the move. Being so active meant that I could eat whatever I wanted and maintain a healthy weight.

But let me tell you, the “Freshman 15” is a real thing and I experienced it firsthand during my first year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Unlike when I was younger, eating carelessly started to catch up to me. My schoolwork and athletic performances suffered because the food I was eating wasn’t giving me the nourishment I needed, and I constantly felt sluggish.

I knew I needed to make a change. The following summer, I joined a Crossfit gym that introduced me to the Paleo Diet—a diet centered on the foods consumed by hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic Age. The diet is built on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and nuts.

I decided to give it a try alongside my parents. Within the first five weeks, I had lost eight pounds and dropped six percent body fat. I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve continued to successfully follow the diet. Now that I have my first real job at HMSA, I had to find a way to keep myself on track at work. Here’s what I keep in my drawer:

  • Sweet potato bites—Since moving to Hawaii, I’ve become a huge fan of sweet potato and taro chips, but would always find myself eating more than I should. I’ve started slicing my own sweet potatoes at home, roasting and seasoning them with cayenne pepper and garlic powder, and enjoying them as a snack throughout the day.
  • Raisins—Raisins are an awesome snack to hold you over until lunchtime and are relatively low-calorie and low sugar. One small box is usually 100 calories for those watching their weight.
  • Tuna—Pre-packaged tuna cans and pouches are another great snack if you don’t want to eat a full lunch. For only 80 calories per can, you can enjoy a lean protein and feel full afterwards.
  • Turkey jerky—I am a huge fan of beef jerky, but have found a new love in turkey jerky. It has far fewer calories and fat than beef, and is a great snack in moderation. Just be sure to check the sodium on the package.

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