When you’re on the go, it can often be a challenge to find healthy snacks. With more of us heading back to work and socializing outside our homes, now is a great time to refresh our knowledge of healthy snacks. With so many stores offering a myriad of options, it can be hard to make good choices on the go.
After all, the entire food advertising industry is working hard to make sure that we know just how delicious their products are. This starts early in our lives – on average, most children watch over 10 food ads per day, which equals around 4,000 per year.
An incredible 98% of these ads are for products that are high in sodium, fat, sugar, or a combination of the three. This means that the average child sees only 80 ads for foods that could reasonably qualify as healthy every year. No wonder many of us find it so hard to know which popular foods are low in fat, salt, and sugar, and high in fiber.
Today, we’ll learn about what makes a healthy snack, and showcase some of our favorite ideas for healthy snacks you can easily find at any gas station, grocery store, or mall.
What is a Healthy Snack?
Ideally, a snack should be something that gives you energy and fuel to get to your next meal. If you’re eating something as a snack, it should not be comparable in calories to a standard meal.
While snacks have gotten a bad rap over the last few years, the truth is that snacking can be healthy. In fact, many people find that their metabolism and energy levels are most effective when they include healthy snacks as a regular part of their diet.
6 Great Ideas for Healthy Snacks on the Go
As long as you’re choosing snacks that are nutrient-dense and are low in sugar, saturated fats, and salt, you can feel good about your snacking habit. Here are some suggestions for options to reach for when you’re on the go and need a quick boost.
1. Cut vegetables
Whether you’re in a grocery store or gas station, many retailers now offer small, store bought boxed crudites, or cut-up vegetables. These can be eaten plain, as the average selection (carrots, celery, peppers, or cucumber) offers various water-soluble vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of fiber.
If this low-calorie snack comes with a dip, make sure to read the label and either skip it, or use a very small amount if it’s low in nutrients but high in calories, salt, or fat.
A small handful of nuts is a great on-the-go snack. Most nuts are considered a ‘superfood’, and have lots of minerals along with healthy unsaturated fats.
However, the one drawback with nuts is that because they’re small, it’s easy to lose track of how many you eat. Limit yourself to a small handful to avoid getting so full that you skip your next meal.
3. Meat jerky
Although it has a reputation for being a truck stop favorite, meat jerky can actually be pretty healthy. One gram of beef jerky contains 116 calories and 9.4 grams of protein, along with zinc, vitamin B12, and phosphorus. While a small amount of beef jerky can help stave off hunger, you should always limit yourself to one serving, as it can be very high in sodium.
4. Meat and cheese snack box
Many coffee shops and grocery stores are making their own protein-focused snack boxes, using a combination of sliced meats and cheeses. Like beef jerky, these meat and cheese snack boxes offer plenty of protein but can also be high in sodium. Make sure to follow the recommended serving size for each box you buy.
If you can find popcorn that isn’t covered in seasoning, it makes a great healthy snack on the go. Popcorn is low in calories, but very high in fiber since it’s a whole grain. It also contains plenty of iron and B vitamins. If you can, try to find options without lots of added salt or artificial flavorings.
Yogurt is wonderful to eat at home as part of a healthy breakfast, but it also makes a fantastic healthy snack on the go. Plain, unsweetened yogurt offers plenty of calcium, along with potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B. Plus, it comes in a conveniently packaged single size, making it easy to stop at just one serving.
Now that you know what makes a healthy snack, it won’t be as difficult to make healthier choices when you’re on the go. To learn more about the foods we eat and how we can improve our diet based on our unique genetic needs, visit the GenoPalate blog.