Your Healthy, Handy Snack Guide

Your Healthy, Handy Snack Guide

So, you know what you could get if a dire emergency strikes and you want to make good choices but absolutely can’t avoid eating out. However, a little bit of planning can prevent this issue [and the money that goes along with it] in the first place.

Here’s my top ‘must-haves’ to keep on hand as an easy grab should the situation arise. [And, of course, what to avoid at all costs.] Be sure when making your selections that you read the ingredients label. Things like added sugar, sodium and preservatives sneak their way into packages and you need to avoid them!

The Nothing Needed List: Most of these foods can be kept in a purse, bag, back seat of a car, desk, or whatever.

Whey Protein Isolate: I like the Optimum Nutrition brands (and have used GNC or Dymatize brands in the past). Be sure to select a reputable brand that participates in independent product testing. You get what you pay for! I toss sandwich bags with a scoop each in my purse for a quick grab.

Canned Meat [in water]: No, I’m not talking about SPAM. Packed with protein, omega-3’s and lots of yummy, canned tuna is a great grab on the go. I’m also a fan of canned chicken. Keep in mind most cans are two servings, and watch out for brands that add preservatives.

Canned beans/veggies: Added preservatives often plague this category, so watch out. Most often, these foods just need to be dumped out and warmed in a microwave to be enjoyed.

Canned Fruit: Added sugar is a huge red flag for canned fruit, but it won’t always be listed. Often, fruit is canned in its own juice. Drain these juices before eating.

Some Assembly Required: These foods need a little extra TLC, like a freezer, lunch box, etc. They take a little extra planning than the above category, but they make an easy grab with a longer life.

Leftovers: Perhaps the easiest thing to do is something that requires no extra work, and leftovers fit that bill to a tee. We’ll discuss this in tomorrow’s post, but get in the habit of always making at least one extra portion. Make more and freeze for a long-term solution to your healthy nutrition needs.

Slow-Roasted Chicken: Skin and season a whole chicken and let it roast in the slow cooker four hours. [I like garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasonings.] Separate the meat and keep in the refrigerator for salads, main dishes and more. Freeze whatever you don’t eat within a week for future use.

Frozen Fruit/Veggies: These have a longer life than their “unfrozen” varieties, and they typically stay better for you longer. This is a great choice if you live alone, with a non-veggie eater (like me) or if you like variety and can’t eat everything before it gets too ripe, and they’re easy to make: just steam in the microwave dry or with little water. Frozen fruits are a great addition to liquid meals, and cooking brown rice and freezing it is an easy grab for the Metabolic Window.

Chopped Fruit/Veggies: They’re a little pricier than the do-it-yourself versions, but pre-chopped veggies and fruits are an easy grab-and-go snack for the busy types. I package them into individual portions.

Must-Have Accessories: Tools to keep on hand so the above items become usable.

Blender Bottle: The safe gift for me is a Blender Bottle, a shaker bottle with a whisk ball inside to easily mix protein shakes and liquid meals. You can never have too many. I keep a scoop of protein powder in mine for safe keeping.

Magic Bullet: Great for making liquid meals, this mini-machine is portable and easy to use. I swear by mine and you will, too.

Can Opener: While you can buy canned goods with an easy-open pop top, a manual can opener comes in handy. They run about $1 at Publix and can be stashed with your canned stash.

Plastic Utensils: A variety pack is useful for those times you forget utensils, but at the bare-minimum get forks. Super handy are the pre-wrapped packs that include a fork, knife and spoon plus a napkin for spills.

Extra Water Bottle: I’m always forgetting mine somewhere. While I’ve switched to a gallon jug that follows me everywhere, an extra bottle ensures I’ve got water no matter what.

What NOT to have: These items seem healthy and easy, but they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing. Keeping them around is an invitation for disaster, so skip them in favor of items above!

Protein bars (or pre-made shakes): The protein in these foods is low quality and denatures over time. Not good. Plus, they often have lots of sugars and unhealthy fats to aid in taste. Triple threat.

Meal Replacements: These fall into the same category as above, but since they’re promoted differently they merit their own category. Sugars, unhealthy fats and incomplete protein are the main constituents of these foods,

Nuts: These are famed for health benefits and an easy snack, and while that may be true they fall short in many ways. Alone, they don’t make a complete meal or snack; they are high in calories so portion sizes are much smaller than what you might think; they are unbalanced in their omega fats, eliminating them from a Metabolically Precise meal.

Snack bars/packaged snacks: There’s nothing healthy about processed foods. Unless you’re in your Metabolic Window and have nothing else on hand, reaching for snack packs, cereal bars, etc. will throw you off track faster than you realize—even if it’s only 100 calories!

What did I forget from these lists? How have these lists helped you? Let’s start a conversation in the comments and learn from each other! Happy Training.

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