I used to be the type of person that would only eat 3 (carefully planned out) meals a day. Allowing for snacks was not factored into my diet regime and by 2pm I would be left with low energy and on a desperate hunt for an afternoon pick me up. Obviously this was a recipe for disaster because I’d end up eating something from the office candy dish or a treat from the cafeteria. Whatever it was, was usually not a healthy choice or what my body needed to keep me going.
However these days, you can count on me to be an advocate for fueling your body with good quality food all day long. With how busy life is, it is so important to take the time to pack your own snacks and keep them in your purse, backpack, office drawer, or lunch box for when the midday hunger strikes. If your body is running on empty you are not doing anyone a favour. Or, if you are like me and being hangry is a real life issue, you need to pack snacks… believe me, everyone will thank you for it.
In this day and age, time is more limited than ever. A lot of us barley have time to fit everything in, let alone plan for snacking. So, I thought, what better post to write than to provide a list of my favourite “grab and go” snacks to maybe help take the pressure off.
If you have read any of my WIAW posts, you will usually see a Larabar in there somewhere. Larabars can be found in any health food store or in the health food section of most major grocery stores (Zehrs or Sobeys). Basically Larabars are a super simplistic, fruit and nut bar made with minimal ingredients. And when I say minimal, I mean like 5 ingredients or less…which is pretty freakin’ awesome. My pantry is always stocked full of them and there isn’t a flavour I don’t like.
Keeping up with the granola bar momentum, I bring you HoneyBars. These Canadian made snack bars are unlike any granola bar I have ever had. A couple years ago, I literally tried just about every granola bar I could get my hands on, in hopes of finding one that met my expectations…Honeybar surpassed every single one. So, I decided to write them to let them know how pleased I was with their product. And guess what!!!
They sent me an entire box, filled with every single kind they offered!! I was shocked! (the picture quality kind of sucks, but it was 2015 and who knew I would feature it on my blog one day!) You can find these available at a ton of different health food stores in the Niagara Region and I also have a suspicion that they are the exact same as the Sobeys Compliment Brand offered in their health food section.
The next item on my grab and go list is trail mix. In my eyes, there is nothing better or more satisfying than a mix of sweet and salty all packed into one bite. Trail mix is the ULTIMATE snack because you get a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and fun tidbits, each providing you with a ton of nutrients and therefore leaving you satisfied.
Obviously I do have my favourite brands but really, if you are swapping out your afternoon guilty pleasure for a handful of trail mix, I don’t want to steer you otherwise. Trail mix comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and will satisfy the taste buds of just about anyone and everyone.
There are companies that offer quick grab and go options, but they are definitely the more expensive route. I would suggest buying a larger bag (either from Costco, Bulk Barn, or your grocery store), portion them out, and create your own snack pack. Or, I highly recommend buying your own ingredients and creating your own version. The initial cost is a bit high, but really gives you the ability to customize the mix and make it tailor made to your liking.
Just some caution items in regards to this little treat…
- Be conservative on the serving size. I will usually portion out roughly 1/4 – 1/3 cup for each snack pack. Trail mix is nutrient and calorie dense, so you really don’t need too much to reap the amazing benefits of the protein and energy boost it provides.
- Salted vs. unsalted. My suggestion would be to buy both. We always have the Costco Kirklands Brand on hand because it is Mike’s favourite (and really only one he will eat) and it’s also become something I enjoy for a once and a while treat. This stuff is an incredible combo and tastes absolutely awesome.
The next snack on my list is brought to you by Way Better Snacks. These chips are super satisfying and come in a wide variety of flavours. Way Better Snacks can be found in any health food store or in the health food section of most major grocery stores (Zehrs or Sobeys). The chips are non-gmo, gluten free, and made from sprouted grains. For anyone who might be skeptical, my brother and my dad actually really love these too. I will usually pack up a handful or two and either crunch them up as a salad topping or eat just as an afternoon snack. My favourite would have to be the sweet potato or the multi-grain.
Finally, this list of my favourite snacks would not be complete if an honorable mention didn’t go out to my best snack of all…
Apples!!! I eat an apple just about everyday. My lunch bag always has one in it and my fridge is fully stocked. As a fruit and veggie enthusiast, I had to mention at least 1 “no brainer” snack. I don’t have to tell you how important it is to eat your fruits and veggies. I know you know…so I will just move on.
Now that you have a sneak peak into my arsenal of all things snacky, I hope you go out and give them a try! You will quickly see why I love them and incorporate their goodness into my afternoon routine. The key my friends is to switch it up, keep it fresh, and try new things. As long as you are eating, fueling your body, and enjoying the process, you will feel good and keep up the habit. Your afternoons will flourish and your mood will change! I can guarantee you that.
Remember, nothing is wrong with the vending machine, grabbing a Tim Hortons treat, or eating a cookie when you want them. See what works for you and try not to have too many rules. Its all about balance. This is a guide and hopefully has given you the tools to take your health into your own hands and expand your horizon to try something new.
Eat Food. Love Life.