August 2017

Healthy Snacking On The Go- and a Recipe!

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Healthy Snacking On The Go- and a Recipe!

Raise a hand if you feel like you would eat so much healthier if you had more time. Now, raise a hand if at least one of your meals last week was eaten in a moving vehicle. Okay, I need to put both of my hands back down to type, but I think it’s safe to say I’m not the only Jazzercise instructor out there who juggles a busy schedule with a desire to eat well!

Summer means airports, road trips, and minimal structure. Fall means school, activities, and a great deal of structure. Neither scenario is ideal for spending hours preparing healthy food at home, which means we are left making our best “healthy-ish” food choices when we are on the go. Eating on the go means we are at the mercy of our environment, and if you’re like me, it also means you’re starving by the time you finally have a chance to eat something. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has taught class, run some errands, and then spent $100 on a grocery trip for one.)

While I’m a firm believer in mantras like “everything in moderation” and “don’t be so hard on yourself,” I find that being prepared with healthy snacks can get me through my day and hold me over so I do not reach the point where I’m so hungry I eat something I’ll regret out of desperation. I love to keep my favorite go-to snacks on hand, whether they are at my desk, in my car, or just ready to go in my fridge when I get home.

So, what are the best things to look for when grabbing a quick snack on the go? Checking labels is a great place to start, especially since clever marketing or labeling of “health foods” can sometimes steer us in the wrong direction. According to a New York Times poll, 71 percent of Americans think a granola bar is a healthy choice for a quick snack. How many of the nutritionists polled supported this belief, however? Only 29 percent[i]. This is probably because of the high sugar content of granola bars, which is always something to be on the lookout for if you’re buying something in a package. My general rule is to choose non-packaged foods if possible, but choose the best ones you can if you need to. With practice, I think you’ll find just a bit of planning ahead can be a game changer when it comes to eating on the run.

Follow along below for some of my favorite snack choices (and a recipe) based on the amount of time I have to plan. Happy snacking!
 
GO-TO SNACK LIST
When I have zero time to prepare:

  • Nuts and seeds (I like almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds)

  • Fruit that I can eat without peeling or chopping, such as apples, bananas, clementines, or grapes

  • Unsweetened dried mango. (Note: dehydrating fruit makes it higher and sugar and more calorie-dense than a fresh piece of fruit, but this is a great emergency item to keep in the car when fresh fruit isn’t possible!)

When I have less than 30 minutes to prepare:

  • Chopped veggies (We’ve all tried carrots and celery, but I like jicama, cucumber, or radishes with some lime juice and chili powder to mix things up)

  • Smoothies (I like almond butter, frozen berries, banana, lemon, and a handful of spinach)

  • Toast with nut butter of choice

When I am going to be home for at least an hour (don’t worry you’ll only be prepping for 5 minutes!):

  • Homemade kale chips

  • Overnight oats

  • Homemade crispy chickpeas (recipe below)

 
CRISPY CHICKPEA RECIPE
You will need:
(2) 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Other spices, such as cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, or cayenne (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper to ensure easy and quick cleanup. Remove as much moisture from the chickpeas as possible by drying them on a clean dish towel or a few paper towels. Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and other spices (if desired). Spread in an even layer on the baking sheets and bake for about one hour, shaking the pans once or twice during cooking. They should be pleasantly crispy when they come out of the oven, but will continue to get crunchier as they cool.
The bonus? These yummy little treats are high in protein and are a great after-class snack to assist with muscle repair. Enjoy!

 


[i] Quealy, Kevin, and Margot Sanger-Katz. “Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree.” The New York Times, July 5, 2016, sec. The Upshot. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/05/upshot/is-sushi-healthy-what-about-granola-where-americans-and-nutritionists-disagree.html.
 

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