Team Beast writer Matt Weik gives you the lowdown on some healthy snack options to keep you from straying on your diet, and to keep you away from the vending machine.
Whether you're at school or the office, the midday munchies can hit the best of us. When your stomach starts growling and rumbling, most will sprint to the nearest vending machine to make a purchase. Unfortunately, almost everything found in those vending machines is unhealthy and something that does not align with your health and fitness goals. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of healthy snack options you should always plan to have on hand when those situations arise.
- Nuts or Seeds
Healthy fats and protein… who doesn’t love it? Nuts and seeds are one of the best healthy snack options to keep with you at work or school. Grab a handful to eat and you’re good to go. Anything from almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, Brazilian nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all amazing choices. If you can, reach for the “unsalted” or the “lightly salted” varieties.
One tip I’d like to share is to only purchase those items if they are able to be resealed. The last thing you want to do is open a bag and not be able to close and store it. Buy your nuts or seeds in bags that seal or in jars that come with a lid. This will allow you to keep those healthy snack options in the drawer of your desk or backpack for easy and convenient transport.
- Beef Jerky
If you eat meat, it’s hard to pass up delicious beef jerky. Whether you get a variety that is seasoned/flavored or the original, you can always count on beef jerky to be on a list of healthy snack options. The packaging hardly takes up any space and you’ll have a protein-packed snack at the ready whenever you need it.
Again, as mentioned above, your best bet is to purchase your beef jerky in a resealable bag. If you go the route of buying one without, just make sure you have a Ziploc bag handy so you can dump the remaining beef jerky into it for safe storage.
- Protein or Nutrition Bars
I see protein bars and nutrition bars being used interchangeably when there is actually a clear difference between them. Nutrition bars tend to be a little on the lighter side when looking at calories as well as macronutrients. Protein bars on the other hand, while they can be lower in calories, will be higher in overall protein content. Most nutrition bars will be anywhere from 8-15g of protein while protein bars will be no less than 20g of protein per serving.
With the vast flavors available on the market, choose a bar that suits your caloric and macro needs while being a flavor you’ll enjoy. Protein and nutrition bars are easily transported and convenient to toss in a bag or briefcase (and completely disappear in a desk drawer due to their small size). These are definitely healthy snack options you should consider utilizing.
- Nut Butter
Every time I tell people how awesome nut butters are as healthy snack options, I can’t stop thinking of the little jingle, “Peanut… Peanut butter (and jelly).” This is the life I live with a 4-year old in the house. Getting back on track, peanut butter, almond butter, any nut butter you can think of, is a fantastic snack option. Sure, you could take a spoonful of it on its own (or use your finger, I won’t judge), but what I like to do is combine it with a fruit or vegetable.
Take some of your favorite nut butter and put it on things such as an apple, celery, a banana, or whatever (healthy) food item you decide to put it on and use that as a snack between meals when your cravings kick in. The fat from the nut butter will help you feel satiated and should get you through until your next meal.
- Trail Mix
Pre-made trail mix can be a lifesaver when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth in the middle of the day. When 3 pm comes around and the craving hits you like a ton of bricks, it’s all you can think about. Rather than grabbing that candy bar from the vending machine, a simple solution is trail mix. Trail mix is one of those healthy snack options you can purchase already prepared at the grocery store. But what I like to do is make my own so I can control my macros by only putting in the items I want.
If you want to make your own, here are a few ideas to consider: Grab a sealable bag or jar with a lid. Gather your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and add some of each to your bag/jar. If you want to add some additional goodies for a flavorful explosion in your mouth, consider adding in a little dark chocolate, granola, or even some air-popped popcorn. Seal everything up, give it a good shake to mix the contents, and you’re good to go.
- Protein Shakes
When it comes to convenient healthy snack options, it doesn’t get much easier than protein shakes. Grab your favorite protein powder (hopefully it’s Beast Protein) and leave the tub in your office with a shaker bottle. If that’s not an option due to space, use a Ziploc bag or container with a lid to store a few servings of protein in (make sure you have the scoop in there as well if you are storing multiple servings). You can even pack an individual serving of protein powder in a shaker bottle each morning and toss it in your bag or briefcase. Then, all you need to do is add water when you’re ready for your mid-afternoon shake and you’re good to go.
Side note: be sure to rinse out your shaker when you are done with it. Otherwise, it can start to smell before you get the chance to wash it at home (if you’ve ever left a shaker in a hot car you know exactly what I’m talking about).