WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HEALTHY SNACK ON-THE-GO
How you snack can make or break your diet. You may have the perfect meal three times a day, but if you go for the bag of chips in between, you're not going to get the results you want. It's even worse when you're out and about during the day. That's why it's so important to make sure you have a healthy snack that you can grab any time you live the house. Keep it in your car, your purse, your desk—wherever.
So what does it take to make a good on-the-go snack? There are a few no brainers like "must be portable" and "should be shelf stable (i.e. no refrigeration required)," but it goes a little deeper than that. If you're trying to maintain a healthy diet, the makeup of your healthy snack is crucial. Here are a few things that we recommend looking out for.
TIP #1: CALORIES
When we say calories, we don't necessarily mean low calories. We of course don't meal high calories either. We mean enough calories. This differs for every diet plan, as every body has different intake needs.
For most people, the first instinct is to go for something with almost no calories, like celery or seaweed snacks. While that's definitely better than grabbing a candy bar, it's neglecting the main purpose of a snack: holding you over until the next meal. If your snacks have no substance to them, you run the risk of overeating at dinner. An even worse scenario, you might even get hungry enough for a second snack. Unless you have another round of celery on deck, your second snack probably won’t be so healthy.
There's no magic number for how many calories your snack should have. However, you know what you tend to eat at meals. If you typically only get 500 calories per meal, but your daily goal is 2000, it's pretty clear that you should be picking 2 250 calorie snacks. If you're struggling to stay under your goal with three meals alone, then maybe celery is the best option. Know your body, know your eating habits, and then make sure your snack has enough.
TIP #2: "MACROS" (i.e. MACRONUTRIENTS)
After calories, "macro" is probably the most used word in the dietary industry. If you haven't yet read it, we have a pretty great breakdown on " What are Macronutrients, and why are they important?", but to keep it simple, your macros are carbs, fats, and proteins. When we say "look at the macros," we mean check the nutrition facts to see how much of each of those the snack has.
Just like the calories, you don't want to stuff your face with something without substance. That celery has pretty much nothing in it (except vitamins). But if you add peanut butter, you're getting a pretty good balance of carbs, protein, and fat. Other choices, like potato chips, are going to be overloaded with fat or whatever other macro it has a concentration of. Basically, some snacks just aren’t balanced. The key is finding the right combo to help hit your goals. Again, this differs based on your diet plan AND your personal habits, i.e. if you tend to eat too much fat, even that peanut butter celery is a bad choice.
While making your own combos are great, it makes it harder to do on the go. Sometimes buying something prepackaged is the best choice. With our snacks, we make sure every flavor has a perfect blend of macros. There are also protein bars on the market, but ALWAYS read the label. Most are pumped full of sugar. While technically sugar is still a carb, we all know it should be avoided. Our snacks have about 3 grams.
TIP #3: EASE OF EATING
Ease of eating may sound the same as “must be portable,” but there’s a huge difference. A slice of pizza is portable, but it’s not the easiest thing to eat on the run.
This is another place prepackaged snacks come into play. Let's be honest: If you have the choice between a salad or a sugary smoothie on your way home from work, you're going to go with the latter. The salad needs a knife and fork, while the smoothie doesn’t. It's just human nature to not want to stop, sit down, and eat a snack in the middle of the day. You need something you can TRULY eat on the go, so you should really take the ease of consumption into account.
That's why it's great to stick with finger foods. Grab a back of nuts, or even a protein shake, and you're much more likely to choose your healthy option over that smoothie. Not to toot our own horn, but there's not much easier than tearing open one of our snacks. Plus, they're a lot more delicious than a bag of almonds :)
But prepackaged isn't everything. A chicken wrap or a sandwich on whole wheat bread can be just as easy and just as healthy. Take the last two factors into account, and see what foods can fit into your diet plan. Then, think about how to make it portable and easy to knock back.
Before you can master the diet, you must master the healthy snack. We've laid out some pretty easy factors to help get you on track. Whether you're a meal prepper, or you need something easy to grab and go from us, these are universal. Go forth and snack.