We’ve all been there. It’s a crazy day at work, lunch was hours ago, and there’s no way you are going to get away from your desk and home for dinner any time soon. You are getting lightheaded and grouchy. Your only choice is the vending machine. Chances are, healthy options are few and far between, especially for a vegan.
A glance at my office vending machine leaves me with two vegan options: animal crackers and pretzels. Neither one, in the grand scheme of things, is a horrible choice. On the other hand, neither is worth the $.75 price tag and neither will keep me going for long.
Over the years, and especially since I moved from a vegetarian to a vegan diet, I’ve learned to be prepared for this kind of situation. I keep a well-stocked “goody box” in my desk. The contents vary somewhat, but there are always options, and I always get enough to satisfy my hunger until I can get a real meal.
For me, the trick to a decent goody box is having some variety (sweet, salty, etc.) and including things that can be eaten as is, without any extra utensils or fancy preparation. For meals, I might get more elaborate, but the point of the goody box is to get the fix you need NOW! Also, I don’t want a lot of mess. I love kale chips, but the crumbs tend to fly. Not very professional. (There’s also the little matter of getting kale leaves stuck between your teeth, but we won’t go there.)
You can go a couple of routes when you are building a goody box. The cheaper option is to buy items in bulk and either put them into smaller containers or bring in the whole bag (which requires more space and also leave the temptation to over-indulge). Or, you can select from the many single-serve options available. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.
These are actually mini-meals and they are quite tasty. So far Go Picnic offers two vegan choices, Hummus and Crackers and Sunbutter and Crackers. While I adore Sunbutter, I’m not crazy about the other items included with this box. The Hummus meal has hummus, yummy edamame and an incredible spicy fruit and nuts mix.
If you want a pre-packaged trail mix, or if you don’t want to portion out a bigger bag of nuts, your problem is solved by our friend Joe.
Divine. All flavors. Worth the price you pay and too cute to be believed.
My favorites are the cherries, but they also offer raisins, bananas, apricots and others.
Yummy and filling. Just be sure to knead well before eating!
This is only a partial list and honestly not very budget-friendly. But I don’t mind spending money on quality treats. You can go cheaper with small boxes of organic raisins, granola bars and squeezable applesauce. All would be easy to eat at your desk and would help you get through the rest of your workday.
If you’ve been vegan for a while, you know how important it is to always be prepared and you probably carry a little stash of emergency rations wherever you go. If you work in an office, make yourself a goody box. And share it with your non-vegan co-workers. You never know who you might be able to convert!