Snacking can be a great way to keep hunger at bay. However, a lot of pre-packaged snacks are loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.
Choosing healthier options when you are on-the-go will help you stick with your healthy eating plan and avoid ruining all of your hard work with poor choices. Some easy-to-pack snack options include:
Fruit is one of the best snacks you can have on hand, providing a source of nutrients and fiber without adding too many calories to your diet. Fresh berries and bananas are portable options for an easy snack, or try canned fruits like mandarin oranges or pineapple.
Dried fruits are a convenient option as well, and they typically contain less sugar than their fresh counterparts. They also provide a variety of antioxidants and other nutrients. Try pairing them with a tablespoon of nut butter for added protein and satiation.
Protein bars are a convenient way to get an instant source of protein, but be sure to read the labels and avoid ones that are high in sugar or other unnecessary additives. Canned salmon is another protein-rich snack. A single serving provides 6 g of protein and is rich in vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
The right snacks can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and support your immune system throughout the day. Instead of grabbing a granola bar from a convenience store, fill your bag with fridge-free options.
Vegetables are a nutritious and filling snack option that do not require refrigeration. Carrot sticks, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers are all low-calorie choices that offer essential vitamins and minerals. You can pair them with single-serving cups of hummus or guacamole for a healthy dose of protein and fiber.
Jerky and meat sticks are high-protein foods that are convenient to carry. Just three ounces of beef, chicken or turkey jerky provides 25 grams of protein. Cottage cheese also provides a good amount of protein and can be paired with fruit or vegetables or added to a salad for an extra boost of energy. Add granola, flaxseeds or honey for additional flavor and nutrients. Trail mix is another great refrigerator-free snack that offers energy-boosting nuts, dried fruits and a touch of dark chocolate.
Having a protein-rich snack like hard-boiled eggs can help you maintain muscle and bone health. It is also a good source of vitamin D, potassium and healthy fats.
The key to preparing hard-boiled eggs is to boil them for the right amount of time. If you overcook an egg, it will develop a greenish-blue film on the outside of the yolk that is not toxic to eat but does not taste good.
Store-bought cooked eggs have a uniformly yellow yolk that looks and tastes the same every time and are easy to carry around in a bag, but they tend to be high in sodium. They are also more expensive than home-cooked eggs and may contain preservatives to keep them on the shelf for a long time.
Rice cakes are a low-calorie, gluten-free snack that can be enjoyed with different toppings and spreads. Choose organic, unflavored varieties to limit your sugar and sodium intake. They also offer manganese, fiber and protein.
Rice cake manufacturers first marketed the snacks as a fat-free alternative to bread in the 1980s. Print ads from that time featured skinny models in leotards lying on their flat stomachs to emphasize the lightness of the rice cakes.
The puffed rice cakes contain niacin, which contributes to the normal function of the nervous system and red blood cells. They also provide a good source of carbohydrates, as well as iron and zinc. They are gluten-free, which makes them a safe snack option for individuals with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease. Try making a savory rice cake snack by spreading it with hummus and sliced avocado or go for a sweet treat by combining peanut butter with crushed raspberries. The snacks are quick and easy to prepare at home or on-the-go.