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I know how hard it is to stay on a diet when busy with family, work, and life. This is especially true when we get hungry between meals and grab unhealthy snacks or fast food. After several years on the diet yo-yo train, I’ve learned much about what it takes to maintain a healthy diet. The secret is planning and preparation. I like to call it the two Ps. Using this simple formula, I can enjoy convenient, healthy grab-and-go snacks that keep me full between meals. In this post, I’ll go over some delicious and portable healthy snacks that keep you full whenever you need a quick energy boost.
1. Nut Butter and Whole Grain Crackers:
Peanut butter and crackers are an age-old go-to snack. It’s easy, quick, and satisfying. We can make this classic snack even more nutritious by choosing nut butter packed with healthy fats, proteins, and no added sugars or fillers. You can even vary the type of nut butter like almond, cashew, or sunflower seed. Paired with whole grain crackers, you get added nutritional boost from fiber and complex carbohydrates that keep you feeling full longer.
2. Fresh Fruit:
Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, and berries are nature’s perfect snack. They don’t need preparation; they’re easy to carry and provide a sweet way to get essential nutrients. You can pack fresh fruit in Ziploc bags or any other small portable container to always have a colorful, healthy snack on hand.
3. Trail Mix:
Trail mix is one of my all-time favorite quick and healthy snacks. What’s not to love? Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit combined in a deliciously balanced snack. The type of trail mix you like is limited to your imagination. To make trail mix, add nuts and/or seeds in a bowl. Next, add dried fruits like raisins, cranberry, banana, mango, or even papaya to the mix for a bit of sweetness. Portion your trail mix in Ziploc bags for a healthy, filling grab-and-go snack. Remember that nuts are calorie dense, and some dried fruits are high in sugar, so less is more when snacking on trail mix.
4. Greek Yogurt Parfait:
Since this blog is about quick and healthy meals, I needed to add Greek yogurt to this list of grab-and-go snacks. You can eat this protein-rich snack straight or make an easy, portable yogurt parfait you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. All you need to do is to layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries of choice, granola, and a drizzle of honey in a portable, sealable container. This simple parfait provides essential nutrients and is a wonderful mix of flavors and textures.
5. Veggie Sticks and Hummus:
Sometimes we need a grab-and-go snack with fewer calories than you can find in trail mix or even Greek yogurt parfait. This is where veggie sticks and hummus shine. This snack is the perfect trifecta of nutrition, low-calorie, and very portable. Firm veggies like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumber slices make excellent vehicles for healthy dips like hummus. Hummus is made from garbanzo beans, AKA chickpeas, and offers a good amount of protein and fiber to satisfy you throughout the day. Portion the hummus into small containers and pack it alongside your vegetable sticks for a convenient and healthy snack.
6. Protein Bars:
Protein bars have become increasingly popular as a quick and convenient snack option. Look for bars that are low in added sugars and high in protein. These bars often contain balanced carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. However, reading the labels and choosing bars made with wholesome ingredients is crucial. Use them sparingly as a convenient option when you can’t prepare homemade snacks.
7. Homemade Energy Balls:
Energy balls are one of my favorite quick and easy-to-make at-home snacks. The best part is that they can be customized to your WOE or diet. Energy balls combine nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to a sticky base like nut butter or date paste. You can also add rolled oats, chia seeds, and flaxseeds for a nutritional boost. If you’re a chocoholic like me, you can add a bit of cocoa powder. You can also add in coconut flakes or honey. These bite-sized snacks are packed with nutrients and provide a quick energy boost during busy days.
8. Whole Grain Wraps:
Whole grain wraps filled with lean protein and fresh vegetables make for a portable and nutritious snack. Select whole wheat or multigrain wraps high in fiber and lower in refined carbohydrates. You can fill whole grain wraps with grilled chicken or turkey, avocado slices, spinach or lettuce, and any other vegetables you like. Whole grain wraps balance protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients, making them satisfying and healthy on-the-go snacks.
9. Boiled Eggs:
Boiled eggs are a great source of protein, and they, make for very convenient snacks. Boiled eggs are very portable and easy to eat. You can enjoy them alone, with whole-grain crackers, or sliced veggies like tomatoes and cucumber. Boiled eggs provide nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, lutein, minerals, and other nutrients, that keep you satiated and energized throughout the day.
10. Veggie Chips or Kale Chips:
Sometimes we feel like having a light, healthy and crunchy snack. Instead of reaching for potato chips or Doritos, choose baked veggies or kale chips as a healthier alternative. Choose chips made with real vegetables and the least added oils or preservatives. Alternatively, you can make your own very easily. See this recipe for homemade veggie chips. Veggie chips provide a satisfying crunch while delivering vitamins, minerals, and fiber contained in the vegetables.
Edamame, or young soybeans, make for a nutritious and convenient snack. They are rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. You can purchase frozen and steam or boil them for a few minutes until tender. Sprinkle some sea salt or your favorite seasoning for added flavor. Edamame can be enjoyed warm or chilled, making them a versatile and satisfying on-the-go snack option.
12. Quinoa Salad Cups:
At first glance, quinoa salad cups don’t sound like a quick grab-and-go snack, but hear me out. You prepare quinoa salad cups in advance, similar to how we prepared and portioned our trail mix. Here’s a quick recipe for this grab-and-go snack. Cook some quinoa and let it cool in the pot before adding it to a large bowl with diced vegetables and herbs. Use a spoon to mix everything.
All salads need a dressing, and quinoa salad cups are no exception. Use any healthy salad dressing you like, or make a quick dressing by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, or your favorite seasonings in a small mason jar. Drizzle your chosen dressing on the quinoa salad, then portion the salad mix into individual cups or containers for easy, portable on-the-go snacking.
Quinoa is a complete protein, and adding vegetables enhances its nutritional profile by increasing fiber and complex carbohydrates to keep you full for a long time.
After reviewing this list of portable snacks, I hope you see that it doesn’t need to be difficult to stay on a healthy diet while on the go. Prepare snacks like trail mix, boiled eggs, yogurt parfait, quinoa salad cups, etc., in advance, and keep a selection of fresh fruit, protein bars, and edamame on hand. This way, you can give your body what it needs whenever you’re too busy to get to your next meal or if you’re in between meals. The most important thing is to select whole foods and create portable snacks that balance healthy fat, protein, and complex carbs. All it takes is a bit of planning and preparation, and you will be able to maintain a healthy diet by choosing healthy snacks that you enjoy eating and will keep you going on your busiest days. A win-win! Stay healthy and enjoy the rewards of convenient nutrition wherever your day takes you. Happy Eating! ?