Healthy Snacks for Healthy (and Happy!) Kids
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Snacking Success on the Go
Snacking successfully is a snap if you follow a few simple guidelines
Between work deadlines, social commitments, family, and errands, there are days when you may feel like you barely have time to breathe, let alone consider whether the snack you are about to consume has the right combination of nutrients. But the fact is, we need to eat well consistently to stay energized and keep our bodies and brains in top form, no matter how much we’re on the go. The good news is that snacking successfully is a snap if you follow a few simple guidelines:
Make it nutrient-dense. Any snack can provide energy—that’s just another word for calories. The key is to make sure your snack is delivering as much nutrition per calorie as possible. Foods containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and lean protein are nutrient dense, giving you the best bang for your snacking buck.
Get some satisfaction. A satisfying snack is one that’s going to hold you over until the next meal. And this is where highly processed, high-sugar, and low-nutrient choices fall down on the job. That vending machine candy buzz will wear off fast and leave you wanting more. Look for snacks that have some fiber and protein; these fill you up and give your body something substantial to absorb.
Control portions. Some snacks, like apples, come in naturally perfect, ready-to-eat portions. Portion control is all about “right-sizing” your snacks. You want something that’s filling enough to keep hunger at bay, but not so big that it causes you to skip a meal. For snacks that aren’t already single-serve, a portable, sealed container will do the trick.
Have a plan. Don’t worry; you won’t need a spreadsheet to create a healthy snacking plan. You just want to have a sense of when and where you’ll need to eat, as well as a few good choices in mind so that you aren’t left reaching for a donut in the office break room because it’s the only option available. This can mean packing snacks in your car, or simply stopping to pick up some fruit at a nearby corner store before your afternoon meeting. Thinking ahead just a little means you’ll have it covered when hunger strikes.
Need Some Inspiration?
Healthy snacks don’t have to take a lot of time to prepare. Here are some nutrient-dense, satisfying, portion-controlled options that you can plan to take on the go:
- Single-serve, unsweetened yogurt. Add slices of fruit for sweetness, texture, and fiber.
- An ounce of unsalted nuts, any variety. Empty mint tins make a good, handbag-ready carrying case.
- Healthy chips and dips. Hummus, guacamole, and salsa are great with veggie slices or whole-grain, moderate-sodium chips.
- A good old peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread.
- A single-serve, unsweetened oatmeal packet. When you prepare it, add a handful of raisins for a little pizzazz.
- A Mojo, Kit’s Organic, or Crunch bar.
- Popcorn in a sealable plastic bag.
- Do-it-yourself trail mix. Combine 1 cup unsweetened whole-grain cereal, ¼ cup nuts, and ¼ cup dried cranberries in a ready-to-go container.
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