Everyone has their must-pack essentials. Some people leave the house with electronic chargers; some people prep for any weather with umbrellas and an extra jacket. I pack snacks. My purse...my car...work bags...daily errand bag...sweatshirt pockets...snacks are stashed everywhere.
I've always felt better eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day than three big meals.
More than keeping serious "hangry" pains at bay, snacks are a great way to boost daily nutrients. And, in the case of post-workout (for you and the kids), snacks are essential for replenishing depleted vitamins, minerals, and carbs.
We're more likely to make poor nutritional decisions when we're famished: fast food, sugary sweets, fried anything. While these may temporarily curb your hunger, they haven't done any favors for your body.
You can fill your car's gas tank with orange juice but it's not going to get you very far and you'll end up causing expensive damage- our bodies are the same...they need to be fueled with the resources that will create the best results.
Choosing snacks that avoid synthetic sugars and artificial colors and instead focusing on whole food ingredients will help you meet nutritional requirements, decrease mood swings, and increase energy. Wishing your kids would eat more fruits and vegetables? They're more apt to eat them immediately after practice when they're sliced and ready in their bag or car.
Trying to "eat the rainbow" is much easier when snacks become part of the process. They'll also help create healthy eating habits...we don't need to eat snacks until we're full...just not hungry.
Whether you're in the car, on the plane, stuck in all-day meetings, or waiting at the kids' practice...pack a few of these snacks to go with you:
- chocolate milk & graham crackers
- string cheese/cheese cubes & sliced apple
- carrots/celery/bell pepper/cucumber slices & Greek yogurt ranch or hummus
- half a turkey sandwich with lettuce and avocado
- Greek yogurt with berries (organic fresh/frozen)
- BYOT...mix **see photo
- tortilla chips and guacamole
- orange slices & dark chocolate square
- 1/4 cup cashew pieces & tbsp. of chocolate chips
- nut butter & apple/celery slices
- whole grain crackers with turkey slice & string cheese
- tortilla chips & salsa
- pita chips & roasted red pepper hummus
- banana & dark chocolate square
- tortilla wrap with nut butter & jelly
- slice of peach/blueberry Greek yogurt cake
- air popped popcorn & dark chocolate square
- mini brie with whole wheat crackers & jam
- frozen grapes
- hard-boiled egg
- grass-fed/free-range jerky
- whole grain crackers with tuna salad
- pretzels with chocolate chips
- chocolate milk & banana
- animal crackers & fresh organic berries
These healthy on the go snacks don't require tons of prep time, just a minute of stashing a few into your bag or car. For better health, though, it's worth trading a few minutes of time for saving money (and empty calories) at the vending machine or drive-thru. When you incorporate healthy snacks into your daily meal plan, then "junk food" snacks become a rare exception rather than the everyday norm.
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