When you’re busy, knowing what good healthy snacks are can be invaluable for staying on track with your fitness goals. Realistically, sitting and calmly eating a well thought out, meticulously prepared meal isn’t always going to happen. But that shouldn’t stop you from eating well, feeling satisfied and enjoying your food, while keeping your health and fitness in mind.
Below you’ll find 8 healthy snacks that are quick and won’t stifle your progress. But first…
What Makes a Snack Healthy?
The regular go-to snacks when we’re busy (especially in offices with vending machines) are often things like chocolate bars, crisps or biscuits/cookies etc. These are usually high in calories, heavy on the sugar, and lack any real nutritional value.
When you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you want something that prioritises protein (which will help with satiety meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer), is low in calories per gram (so you can eat enough to actually feel satisfied afterwards) and contains the nutrients you need.
And of course, we want them to be quick and easy.
So, here is a list of snacks that fit the bill:
Ok, yes… boring start, but bear with…
Rice cakes are lower in calories than most breads or crackers, making them a great vehicle on which to load up some of the items mentioned lower down the list. You can keep a pack of these handy in your desk at work, in your car if you’re travelling, or in easy reach on the kitchen counter at home.
They’ll add texture to anything you’re eating, and provide a crunch which can help with cravings for things like crisps.
This is probably an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning…
Fruit is a simple, low-calorie snack that contains lots of water and fibre which will fill you up, plus vitamins and minerals that will maintain your health.
What makes them great for your particular needs is that fruits such as apples and bananas are generally portable, and can slot in your bag or lunch box pretty easily (if you’re worried about bruising your banana, get yourself a banana guard. Yes, that’s what they’re called…!). But even things like grapes and blueberries can be thrown in to a little pot to take with you when you’re on-the-go.
You can also add bananas to your rice cakes with a thin spread of peanut butter to make a tasty, crunchy snack to stave off afternoon cravings of the sweet stuff.
High in protein, packed with vitamins, and relatively low in calories, eggs make a great option for a quick bite in the morning or afternoon. Slice them up and put them on your rice cakes or eat them as is, either way you’re on to a winner.
Opt for a responsibly sourced version, in spring water (rather than brine or oil), and you have a high protein food, low in carbs and fat (one of the top brands for sustainability boasts 22.3g of protein per 100g of tuna chunks).
This makes it a great snack on it’s own, or you can combine it with the rice cakes, or the hard boiled eggs, to make a small, well-rounded, filling mini-meal.
Want to mix up the flavours and keep it interesting? You can add a whole variety of herbs and spices to change it up each time.
Bell peppers are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, and make a fantastic addition to any meal, but they also make a great snack too.
You could eat these like an apple (emphasis on “could”…), but chop them up and throw them in your tupperware and they make a nutritious mouthful with a satisfying crunch. Again, season them for different flavour profiles, or use them to dip in houmous.
Find a quality version of this, and you’ve got a deliciously creamy, high-protein snack that you can dip into whenever you’re feeling peckish.
A first-rate brand of Greek yoghurt contains nearly 10g of Protein, with less than 3g of sugar, and 2g of fat (per 100g). All of this means you’ll feel fuller for longer, and the creaminess will satisfy any cravings for sweet treats.
This is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to get a snack when you’re busy. Take a scoop of protein powder with you in the morning, and simply add water to it, give it a shake, and you’re good to go!
If you want to take these to the next level and you have a blender, you can throw some fruit and/or veg; some nuts; and even some Greek Yoghurt in with the protein powder to produce a nutritious all-in-one drink.
Meat jerky is a tasty, savoury bite that you can carry with you anywhere.
As with the Greek yoghurt, it’s important to find a high-quality version, as some can be high in salt and sugar, turning them from a healthy snack into a hyper-palatable, high-calorie one, that you end up craving more of.
So be on the lookout for a brand that has less than 500mg of Sodium, under 5g of sugar, and generally has ingredients that you can recognise.
So there you have it… 8 ideas for quick, portable, healthy snacks for those times when you’re busy, but need to eat.
Do you have any other ideas that have worked well for you? Share it with us in the comments…