We live in an on-the-go society: most people seem to be running from one task, errand, or responsibility to the next. And when we’re hurried, our nutrition choices are often made out of convenience.
The trouble for our health, however, is that what’s typically available on the run is usually a less than stellar nutritional option.
Most snack foods are full of processed fat, sugar, or refined carbohydrate. They’re often easy to eat, and so we’re prone to consume them mindlessly. Plus, these options usually leave us unsatisfied and can trigger cravings a few hours later.
When it comes to snacking, including ample protein, fat, or fiber (and ideally all three) can help keep blood-sugar levels and energy stable. If you’re short on time and need a snack that won’t leave you feeling famished or sluggish afterwards, try one of the options below.
1. Raw or Roasted Nuts
Most trail mix is full of sugar, such as from chocolate candy pieces or high amounts of dried fruit. If you need something quick and portable, opt instead for raw nuts or seeds. Some tasty favorites include cashews, shelled pistachios, or Macadamia nuts.
2. Fruit + Nut Butter Packet
Most of us ideally need to consume more fresh or frozen produce, including fruit. Options such as bananas, apples, pears, or berries don’t even require chopping or cutting to enjoy.
While fruit contains fiber, it’s even better when you can couple it with a bit of fat to help steady blood-sugar levels more effectively. Luckily, travel packets of nut butter pair well with fruit for a satisfying treat in no time.
3. Pre-Cut Veggies + Hummus or Guacamole Cup
One secret to increasing veggie consumption is to have them already prepped in the fridge ahead of time. But for the times you didn’t pre-prepare chopped or sliced options, opt to grab some baby carrots, mini bell peppers, or mini cucumbers. All of these can be ready to eat with no cutting necessary. If those don’t work, check your local grocery store’s produce section — most grocers have made pre-cut veggies more readily available.
Similar to the fruit and nut butter packet example above, adding a bit more fat and fiber from hummus or guacamole to your veggies can give this snack more staying power. Bonus: These typically come in single-serving containers as well.
4. Meat, Cheese, and Olive Plate
While making a full-blown charcuterie board can hardly be considered convenient, you can enjoy a simpler, dressed-down version in a snap. Try pairing some nitrate-free deli meat, organic cheese, and pitted olives together for a satisfying boost of protein and fat. This trio can help curb cravings as well as satisfy hankerings for salty snacks.
5. Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt
If you tolerate dairy, both cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can make it a breeze to boost your protein intake.
When possible, choose plain and full-fat versions to reduce your added sugar consumption, boost your intake of fat-soluble vitamins, and to incorporate a more creamy and satiating texture.
6. Beef or Turkey Jerky
I’ve noticed that a lot of retailers have been carrying higher-quality jerky options lately — including grass-fed beef, organic or pastured turkey, and other organic choices.
You can often find jerky packaged into single servings, making it easy to carry with you and enjoy whenever you need a snack. These options can be a great and tasty source of protein, which is important for muscle recovery, busting hunger, and steady energy.
7. Shaker Cup Shake
If you’re in a rush and don’t have a blender available to make a multiple-ingredient shake, using a high-quality protein powder with added vitamins and minerals on its own can be a great backup.
For my clients, I often recommend Whey Protein+ All-in-One Shake Mix (or Vegan Protein+ All-in-One Shake Mix for those who avoid dairy). A serving can be stowed away dry in a shaker cup to have on hand at the office, in the car, or even in your bag or purse. When you’re ready for it, simply hit it with water, shake, and drink to tide you over to the next meal.