School’s back in session and families are settling back into routines. However, those routines can, at times, be as chaotic as summer vacation when you start juggling school, sports and other extracurricular activities. It can difficult to maintain healthy eating habits and the plethora of pre-packaged snacks can seem like an easy out. However, with a little planning, you can have snacks available for the whole family while still avoiding some of the common snack pitfalls. Many can be kept in a locker or desk, so they are ready in an instant. Here are a few ideas:
- Seeds – Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are so popular, you can often find them in prepackaged single serving bags. This is great when you were unable to prepare snacks in advance. When time allows, purchase a larger bag and divide into single servings for a more economical way to snack.
- Raw nuts – From peanuts to almonds, cashews to pistachios, many people have a favorite nut. They can be eaten alone or together with fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, cheese… and the list goes on. If you are sending snacks to school, check with your child’s teacher about any nut restrictions due to allergies.
- Nut butters – While peanut butter has been a popular staple for many years, almond butter, hazelnut spreads are catching up. Be aware of the sugar content as some have as much added sugar as a candy bar. A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients, the better. Again, due to allergies, check with your child’s school before sending this for a snack.
- Dried fruit – Sometimes we just want something sweet. Dried fruit is a good way to satisfy that craving without going for junk food. Not only do they help you feel full with natural fiber, they also make tasty combos with nuts for a healthy balanced snack.
- DIY trail mix – Combine some of your favorite snacks into a single, tasty treat that’s right up your alley. Low sugar granola, your favorite seeds, dried fruit, & nuts, and maybe a few dark chocolate chips combine to create your own personal recipe for snacking success.
- Fresh fruit & Veggies – While they may not last as long as dried fruit, there are many fresh fruit options that are highly portable and make for great grab and so snacks. Apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, oranges and grapes are just a few options. ‘Round the corner in the produce department and you’ll find carrots, celery, bell peppers and other fresh veggies that can be eaten alone or with a dip for a quick snack. While some fruits and veggies tend to do better when refrigerated, a small reusable cold pack or even just keeping it in an insulated bag at your desk is typically enough for short term storage. Wash, pat dry and pack your food into single serving containers, leave them in the refrigerator (if needed) and simply grab a fresh one each day.
- Healthy chips – While potato chips have gotten a bad rap (and with just cause considering to the amount of salt and fat), there are healthy options. Kale chips, dried fruit chips, veggie chips and even pita chips can be handy to have in your snack drawer. Watch for added sugar and salt and try to select varieties that are baked rather than fried. They are also easy to make yourself at home. Whether you eat them alone or with your preferred nut butter, hummus, salsa or guacamole, their crunch can help you survive that afternoon snack attack.
- Whole grain cereals – When you are in a rush, one of the quickest snacks to pack is cereal. Pour a serving into a small container and voila – you’re done. When using cereals, watch your labels as some have large amounts of added sugar.
- Rice Cakes – similar to crackers, rice cakes can serve as a vehicle for nut butter, hummus, or other spreads while also providing a rewarding crunch. They are typically low calorie and do not require refrigeration.
- Popcorn – Air popped popcorn is an easy and very portable snack. Skip the butter and use a spice blend or parmesan cheese for a zesty kick.
Whether you need a little stash in your desk drawer for when the snack cravings hit, your teen needs a little something to grab between classes, your athlete goes from school to ball practice and needs a little pick-me-up, or you have a little one that just needs a little something to tide them over until dinner, you have many options that will help you maintain healthy eating habits, even during snack time. Your doctor of chiropractic is an excellent resource for information on nutrition and wellness. Your body needs fuel – give it the good stuff and it’ll thank you for it!
Tucker, Alexa “30 Healthy Snacks for Work That You Can Keep at Your Desk” January 1, 2019 https://www.self.com/gallery/14-healthy-snacks-that-you-can-and-should-keep-at-your-desk
Frey, Malia “Healthy and Portable Snacks That Don’t Need Refrigeration” July 18, 2019 https://www.verywellfit.com/healthy-portable-snacks-that-dont-need-refrigeration-4142353