Healthy Snack Options On The Go
Written by Heather Gerrish, RD
We all can find ourselves out and about and suddenly - we’ve missed lunch or are running low on energy. What’s the first thing we grab? Whatever is most convenient! (Well, maybe this is the most reasonable option, but we want to change the most convenient to the healthiest choice!).
When we are running around in our busy lives, sometimes it is hard to think of when and what we are going to eat when we are away from home. Meal planning plays an important role in this as well because not only are meals important - but snacks are as well! Think of a time where you were faced with either going hungry or “hangry” and making a not-so-healthy choice - you opted for the not-so-healthy choice right? (Or most often?). Physiologically, our bodies need fuel and our brains will trick us to reaching for the easiest and most rapidly digested form of carbohydrates because it needs fuel ASAP - this usually includes simple sugars, or things that don’t contain a high amount of fiber. This might be a candy bar, chips, crackers - you name it! All in all, this isn’t necessarily going to derail your efforts, but wouldn’t you rather have something enjoyable that also fuels your body with not only the energy it needs - but the nutrients as well? YES!!
That’s where planning and being prepared really comes in handy - and where changing up your snack choices can actually be fun!
It’s a great idea to stick to the same principles that you would if you were preparing a meal when you prepare a snack - focusing on lean sources of protein, fruits, vegetables (carbohydrates), and a healthy source of fat. Easier said than done!
This is where we step in to help. Here are some staples that can be adapted and changed to fit your preferences and can also be changed (serving sizes) to be more to less dependent on your individual goals.
Pick your Protein:
Sliced turkey (try for low sodium, usually processed meats contain high daily values - or be more aware on the packaging)
Hummus (play around with flavors or make your own!)
Mixed nuts (try for roasted, unsalted - again, these contain a high percentage of your daily value for sodium so try to be more aware of this if you can!)
Cheese (also can be a good source of fat, just watch those portion sizes!)
Yogurt (unflavored is best, or if opting for a flavored version keep a watch out for sugar content)
Cottage Cheese (can also be a little high in sodium, be aware of your daily intake if you are watching this!)
Bring on the Flavor:
Try new combos and devise a plan that works best for you in terms of keeping things fun and mixing up your snacks to create a balanced and diverse meal plan
Ideas might include:
Vary your veggies (think seasonal)
Try fruit with a bean dip or try a veggie combo with a dairy base if you are feeling adventurous! Don’t be afraid to mix things up and give them a try!
Seasoning - the same goes or meals, you can play around with flavor by mixing up seasonings and adding in flavor with herbs and spices without adding in any extra calories and can be a fun way to mix things up.
It’s about mixing things up and experimenting with your favorites - also, making sure that you are focusing on creating combos that are not only tasty but include your focus for implementing a plan to ensure that you are fueling your body for the day!
A Super Simple Pepper Sandwich:
1 bell pepper (large)
1 slice of cheese (your favorite, I used sharp cheddar in this recipe)
1-2 slices low sodium turkey (or ham or meat alternative)
Time: 5 minutes
Prep pepper by cutting off both ends and scooping out center seeds
Cut pepper in half (sitting tall) to make two sides to your sandwich
Cut these sides in half for mini sandwiches (pictured in this recipe for grab and go style) or keep the sides as is for 1 larger sandwich
Add cheese and protein, season to taste (Everything But the Bagel seasoning goes great on this one!)
Sandwich together and - enjoy! A super simple way to have a filling snack that also includes a focus on protein, includes a source of fat (and not to mention calcium and vitamin D!) and a filling veggie to keep you full and focused for that afternoon slump.