Healthy Snacks for Busy families
Now that summer has ended, and you are getting back on schedule you may find yourself looking to stock up on some smart snacks to grab on the go. Yes, a piece of fruit, like an apple or banana, or a protein bar is easy to toss in your bag as you head out the door. Unfortunately, you may find yourself getting tired of those snacks quickly and begin thinking of resorting to crackers and chips. Wait, there are better options!
Fruit or protein bars are often staple snacks because there is no prep required. Fruit is a great pick me up if you are in need of a sugar fix. Remember fruit is a natural sugar which is better than manufactured processed sugars. Fruit also has vitamins and fiber that are good for you. Protein bars can help to keep away hunger pangs, but some may not meet your taste or waistline expectations as many are high in sugar and/or salt. As with any packaged item, it is important to read the label and look for the amount of added sugars (separate from the products natural sugars) and salt/sodium.
Ideally you want to have snacks that are high in nutritional value, low in calorie and keep you satisfied. Snacks that provide protein and fiber are a perfect match. Just keep in mind portion size matters even when it comes to healthy snacks.
Here are some snack items to add to your pantry:
Roasted Chickpeas - Great crunchy snack that can withstand being tossed around in your bag. Buy them pre-made or roast them yourself with sea salt, cinnamon, or rosemary for added flavor.
Lupini Beans – Like most beans these are soft. They are good by themselves or can be added as a topper to salads.
Jerky – Individually wrapped sticks make them an easy grab and go treat. Beef, chicken, or turkey and packed with over 20 grams of protein. Look for products with low salt and sugar.
Nuts and Seeds – There are a variety of nuts to choose from- almonds, pistachio, walnut, filbert, cashew, etc. Select those that are raw and not salted or artificially seasoned. Seeds include pumpkin, hemp, chia, or sunflower seeds. They are easy to add to salad, yogurt or straight from the bag. Nuts & seeds are packed with fiber, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Yogurt – Choose the yogurts that are plain and unsweetened. You can add your own fresh fruit or honey to sweeten it naturally.
6. Butters (Nut and Nut Free) – Just because you are allergic to nuts doesn’t mean you have to skip over the butter shelf. There is an assortment of butters of choose from including seed butters like sunflower seed and watermelon seed butter. They provide 7-8 grams of protein.
7. Popcorn - Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calorie when it’s not covered in butter. Sprinkle on some nutritional yeast or cheese to plain popcorn for added protein and flavor.
8. Edamame – A great fresh and crunchy snack that is full of protein. You can find them fresh in your store’s produce section or in frozen vegetable section. Sometimes you can find a bag that contains individual packs in the frozen section. I like to have those on hand particularly when running short on time.
9. Veggies & Dip - Celery, carrot, pepper, cucumber, or jicama are always good options with a nice crunch. Add a little dip to dress it up and make it tastier. Dips like hummus, guacamole, yogurt (tzatziki) or non-dairy cheese-based options. Add a little dash of everything bagel seasoning for additional flavor.
10. Hard Boiled Eggs - Easy to eat alone or with a sprouted seed cracker. Don’t worry if you do not have the time or hate the smell of making them. You can pick up a bag of hard-boiled eggs at the store. Yes, there are organic options to choose as well!
Hope you find this list helpful as you go prepare your next shopping list and plan your snack options. Be open to try to things and have a sense of adventure, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you discover and learn about yourself in the process!