Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop - wait, that's Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But he's not wrong. Our world is fast-paced which makes it easy to overlook the importance of nourishing our bodies between meals. But don't worry, fellow healthy snack enthusiasts, because the solution is to this problem can be solved with a short grocery list and 10 minutes or less of prep time. This article will cover convenient and nutritious healthy on the go snack options to keep you fueled and focused throughout the day.

The Key to Smart Snacking

Before we get to what to eat, let’s talk about when to eat it. Snacks are meant to keep you going until you can eat a meal. They help maintain energy levels, concentration, and mood. Only snack when you are truly hungry, your meal will be later than expected, or you are burning extra energy (e.g., just completed a workout). It helps to snack around the same time every day (if you need one) and avoid unplanned eating events – especially at night.

Now, what to eat when hunger strikes and you need a pick-me-up? Opt for:

  • High Protein Foods. All right, so the point of a snack is to keep you satisfied until your meal. It’s all about protein, people! Not only does it help build and repair muscle, this mighty macronutrient helps you stay full longer and fight hunger pangs. Our favorite protein-filled healthy grab-and-go snacks: peanut butter or your favorite nut butter, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt (if you have a fridge or cooler handy), protein bars, cottage cheese, and high-quality, all-natural meat sticks. Invest in a few reusable containers and make up some snack packs for the week. You can do apple slices, almonds, and nut butter, a Sweetwood FATTY hickory-smoked meat stick and string cheese, or no-bake energy bites (mix nut butter with uncooked oats, honey, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and, if you like, some dark chocolate chips. Yum!
  • High Fiber Foods. Fiber is a must for digestive health, optimal cholesterol levels, and stable blood sugar levels. You’ll also feel full longer, so you won’t be as tempted to reach for the salty, sugary, high-calorie snacks that are so readily available. For on-the-go fiber, pack a few apples, bananas, and oranges, which travel well, veggie sticks (broccoli, carrots), roasted chickpeas, hummus, edamame, an instant lentil and quinoa bowl, or popcorn (sprinkle with some nutritional yeast for a yummy addition). Again, think ahead and prep once or twice a week to help with smart snacking. Separated containers can allow you to pack up healthy, portion-controlled snacks that you can just grab and go. Saving money is definitely a bonus!
  • Hydrophilic Foods. These are foods that are water-absorbent and contain soluble fiber. They’ll also keep you full longer. Oranges, pears, chickpeas, chia seeds, kale chips, and seaweed snacks are great options. Many of these foods are available prepared and packaged for convenience. You can also take an evening once a week or so to roast up some chickpeas, slice veggies and fruit, prepare seed and nut mixes, and make your own snack packs that contain customized combos of these options. The key is ensuring you have them when – and where – you need them.

Benefits of Healthy Snacking

Let's kick things off by celebrating the amazing benefits of healthy snacking. Picture this: you're halfway through your hectic day, feeling drained and hangry, when suddenly, you reach for a nutritious snack and—bam!—suddenly sending that email doesn't feel so difficult. That's the power of healthy snacking, folks.

Energy Snacks

First up, we've got the energy boost. When you choose snacks that are packed with nutrients, you're giving your body the fuel it needs to keep those energy levels sky-high. If you also feel like the day stands still between 2pm and 5pm, a snack can really change your perspective.

Snacking for Weight Management

But wait, there's more! Healthy snacks can also be a game-changer when it comes to weight management. By choosing snacks that are low in empty calories and high in nutrients, you can satisfy your hunger and keep those pesky cravings at bay. It's a win-win situation, really.

Mood Enhancement

Last but certainly not least, let's talk about mood enhancement. Ever notice how a delicious snack has the power to turn your frown upside down? That's because certain nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts and seeds, are known to boost mood and promote feelings of happiness. We love some good mood food.

Quick and Easy Snack Ideas

Now that we've covered the why, let's move on to the what. Here are some quick and easy sweet and savory snacks to keep you satiated throughout the day.

Fresh Fruit Options: Apples, Bananas, Berries

apples and bananas

Let's start with a true classic: fresh fruit. Apples, bananas, and berries aren't just delicious; they're like little bundles of nutritional goodness. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these nature-made snacks are the epitome of health in the palm of your hand. And let's not forget their natural packaging—Mother Nature really does think of everything!

Additionally, did you know that the fiber in fruits can help keep you feeling full and satisfied? It's true! So next time you're feeling peckish, reach for an apple or a handful of berries, and let nature work its magic.

Nutritious Nut Choices: Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews

Ah, nuts. These little powerhouses are packed with healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients to keep you fueled throughout the day. Whether you're a fan of almonds, walnuts, or cashews, you can't go wrong with these crunchy delights*.

*But here's the thing: portion control is key. Nuts may be nutritious, but they're also calorie-dense, so it's important not to go overboard. A small handful is all you need to satisfy your snack cravings and keep your energy levels steady. Better yet, get the pre-portioned size nuts from the snack aisle so you don't have to worry about counting nuts at your desk.

Veggie Sticks with Hummus or Guacamole

Guac is extra and we love that about her. Whoever said veggies were boring clearly hasn't tried them dipped in creamy hummus or guacamole. From crunchy carrot sticks to refreshing cucumber slices, there's no shortage of delicious veggies to dunk into these savory spreads.

And the best part? Veggies are low in calories and packed with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So go ahead, indulge in as many veggie sticks as your heart desires—you'll be doing your body (and your stomach) a favor.

Greek Yogurt with Granola or Seeds

Looking for a snack that's as creamy as it is nutritious? Look no further than Greek yogurt topped with granola or seeds. Not only is Greek yogurt rich in protein and probiotics, but it's also incredibly versatile. Add a sprinkle of granola for a satisfying crunch, or toss in some seeds for an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids.

And let's not forget about the flavor options—plain, vanilla, honey, the possibilities are endless! Because there are so many options available, be sure to check the nutrition labels for sugar content before tossing them in your cart. Sometimes yogurt is delicious because its basically sugar in a bowl, so be sure to give your label a quick read before swiping your card.

Whole Grain Crackers or Rice Cakes with Cheese or Nut Butter: A Crunchy Delight

Crackers or rice cakes topped with cheese or nut butter are the dynamic snack duo you've been missing.

Not only are these snacks delicious, but they're also an incredibly solid source of nutrition. Whole grain crackers and rice cakes are packed with fiber, keeping you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal rolls around. And let's not forget about the protein-rich cheese or nut butter—these toppings provide a satisfying boost of energy to keep you going strong throughout the day.

High Protein Meat Sticks: Snack Time, Elevated

When hunger strikes and you need a snack that's both convenient and protein-rich snack, you should absolutely consider meat sticks. These savory snacks are not your average gas station fare—they're a gourmet experience on the go, perfect for fueling your adventures wherever life takes you.

At FATTY, we offer meat sticks in a bunch of different flavors, variety packs, and we even have a new chicken meat stick option! From classic beef to buffalo chicken, we have something for everyone.

But the best part? They are packed with protein, making them the perfect pick-me-up when you need a quick energy boost. So whether you're hitting the hiking trails or powering through a busy workday, a high protein meat stick is a great healthy on the go snack - if we do say so ourselves (and we do!).

Unhealthy Snacks Disguised as Healthy

While the world of snacking may seem like a nutritional minefield, there are easy ways to navigate it. We're here to shed light on some common culprits—snacks that masquerade as healthy options but may actually be hindering your healthy snacks on the go agenda.

Trail Mix

Trailmix with almonds and m&ms

Ah, trail mix—the quintessential snack for outdoor adventurers and desk-bound daydreamers alike. But beware, for not all trail mixes are created equal. While a well-balanced mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can be a nutritious choice, many commercially available options are packed with added sugars and unhealthy fats.

When choosing a trail mix, be sure to check the label for added sugars and opt for varieties that are low in added sweeteners. Additionally, pay attention to portion sizes, as trail mix can be calorie-dense and easy to overeat. Remember, a handful is typically what a portion size looks like.

Dried Fruit

On the surface, dried fruit may seem like a healthy alternative to fresh fruit—it's portable, shelf-stable, and oh-so-sweet. But don't be fooled by its innocent appearance; dried fruit can be loaded with added sugars and lacking in the fiber and water content that make fresh fruit so nutritious.

When indulging in dried fruit, choose varieties that are free from added sugars and sulfites. And remember, a little goes a long way—stick to small portions to avoid consuming excess calories and sugar.

Granola Bars

Granola bars are often touted as a convenient and nutritious snack option, but the truth is, many of them are more akin to candy bars in disguise. With sky-high sugar content and minimal nutrient content, some granola bars are better left on the shelf.

When selecting a granola bar, look for options that are low in added sugars and high in fiber and protein. And don't be fooled by clever marketing tactics—just because a granola bar claims to be "all-natural" or "organic" doesn't mean it's automatically healthy. Always read the label and choose wisely.

Potato Chips

While potato chips may not seem like a snack that's trying to masquerade as healthy, there are certainly brands out there that claim to be a better-for-you option. But let's be real—chips are chips, and most of them are loaded with unhealthy fats, sodium, and empty calories.

When the craving for something crunchy strikes, opt for baked or air-popped varieties of chips, and pay attention to portion sizes. With that said, potato chips have come a long way and there are many companies that make much healthier versions of the classic potato chip. As always, make sure you're sticking to suggested serving sizes and pre-portioning out your on the go snacks.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a pantry staple for many, beloved for its creamy texture and nutty flavor. But not all peanut butters are created equal, and some varieties are packed with added sugars and unhealthy fats.

When choosing a peanut butter, look for options that contain only peanuts and maybe a dash of salt—no added sugars or hydrogenated oils necessary. And be mindful of portion sizes, as peanut butter is calorie-dense and easy to overeat.

Ultimately, most foods can contribute to a well-balanced diet, and these snacks may seem like healthy choices on the surface, it's important to read the labels and pay attention to portion sizes to avoid falling into the trap of empty calories and added sugars. By making informed choices and opting for snacks that are truly nutritious, you can stay fueled without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.

Tips for Preparing Snacks in Advance

To make healthy snacking even easier, consider preparing your snacks in advance. Batch cooking for grab-and-go convenience, portioning snacks into containers for easy access, and making use of freezer-friendly options for longer-lasting snacks are all great ways to ensure that you always have a nutritious option on hand when hunger strikes.

Another tip is to make a food prep date with yourself. Set aside 20-30 minutes at the start of your week to pre-portion out your snacks to make it that much easier to pack your lunch or plan for your day in advance!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, healthy snacks on the go isn't just about filling our stomachs between meals—it's about nourishing our bodies and fueling our busy lives. By incorporating a variety of nutritious snacks into our daily routine and practicing balance and portion control, we can ensure that we're always performing at our best. So, here's to experimenting with different snack options, keeping our energy levels high, and satisfying our sweet tooth without sacrificing our health.