An area where many people fail with their nutrition is when it comes to snacking. For most, convenience always wins but the choices aren’t always the best. Think about what happens mid-afternoon at the office. Your stomach starts to growl and you head over to the vending machine looking for something to quiet your grumbles. You look up and down the vending machine, only to find unhealthy options. Out of desperation, you insert your money and out pops a carb-heavy, fat-laden, or sugary product. Where are the healthy snacks? Nowhere to be found.
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It's for that reason that you should plan ahead and always have healthy snacks on-hand, so you don't run into the issue where you're forced to eat an unhealthy option. The list of seven healthy snacks below is easy to store and most can simply stay in your bag or desk drawer to ensure you always have a protein-packed snack at the ready. Heck, these are even perfect snacks to have when lounging at home!
Unless you’re allergic, nuts are one of the best healthy snacks out there. They provide not only protein but also healthy fats as well. You can buy them in bags or containers and they can pretty much go with you anywhere assuming they are sealed. Choose the nuts you enjoy and always keep them close by. Think of nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, Brazilian nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts to name a few.
Jerky is a fantastic snack. Sure, you may not like the sodium content and if you have high blood pressure it may not be your best option, but assuming you are healthy enough to consume jerky, it should most definitely be added to your list of healthy snacks to have on hand. Jerky comes in many forms as well. You can get anything from exotic animals to beef jerky, turkey jerky, ostrich, and many more. Find one you enjoy and keep some close by.
3. Protein Bars
Assuming you don’t take the bars where it is hot and they melt, protein bars (or nutritional bars in general) are a great option. There are hundreds of brands out there with their own bar and all you need to do is search for the flavors and profile you like and you’re set. Buy them individually or by the box and you’ll always have healthy snacks for in a pinch.
4. Trail Mix
When it comes to trail mix, there are many varieties out there. Some have candy pieces, some of nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, and everything in-between tossed in. Assuming you’re not eating a ton of it per sitting, trail mix is one of the most delicious healthy snacks available. You get a little bit of sweet and salty with most and each can help you take in some added protein.
5. Fruit & Vegetables
While not something you’re going to pack and store in your desk drawer for a rainy day, fruit and vegetables are a great source of micronutrients but would need to be prepared the day you plan on consuming them. Many fruit and vegetables can even be combined with a handful of nuts or natural nut butter to add in some healthy protein and fats. Decide the source you plan on including as one of your healthy snacks and prepare it before you leave the house for the day.
6. Protein Shakes
If you are a fan of protein shakes, you have a couple of choices – protein powder and RTDs. The RTD variety would need to be kept in a refrigerator (unless you enjoy them at room temperature) while the powder version all you would need is a shaker bottle and some water. Personally, I like both but when I need to have something mobile that can go where I do, I prefer the powder – but to each his or her own. Find a brand and flavor you enjoy and you have yourself one of the best sources of healthy snacks packing a serious protein punch.
7. Hard-Boiled Eggs
One of the best protein sources available, hard-boiling your eggs is a great way to increase your protein intake while also making for a healthy snack any time of day. Eat them plain or shake on a little black pepper and you're ready to roll. My recommendation would be to remove the shell before packing them. Otherwise, you'll risk making a mess wherever you decide to eat them which may not be convenient (especially if you're in the office or at school).
Matt Weik, owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published more than a dozen books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com.