Making healthy food choices on-the-go takes a little planning in advance. And if you don’t have access to a fridge, you have to be extra creative. The next time your stomach growls, take a look at our list of ready-to-eat snacks and choose your favorite!
1. Trail Mix. To keep the calories and fat content under control, skip the candy add-ins and make sure your trail mix is mostly comprised of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. If you’re feeling adventurous try adding roasted edamame, sesame sticks, or pretzels.
2. Turkey (or Bison or Salmon!) Jerky. Dried meat has come a long way from gas station beef jerky. These days you can choose from an array of healthy and exotic options. Check out your local health food store to stock up on this high protein snack.
3. Apples, pears, and oranges. Unlike more delicate fruits, this trio travels well and doesn’t need refrigeration. Keep one or two in your bag or desk drawer and you’ll always have a healthy option close at hand.
4. Applesauce. If you won’t have access to a spoon, choose applesauce pouches (look for them in the baby aisle of the grocery store!). Applesauce is a great way to get in a serving of fruit plus it tastes great!
5. Roasted chickpeas. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, then toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and your favorite seasoning (try cumin and a dash of salt!). Roast in a 400 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. These crispy legumes are fun to eat and a good source of fiber.
6. Popcorn. Pop it at home yourself and go easy on the butter or oil. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne for flavor!
7. Microwavable rice & canned beans. If you’re stuck in the office during mealtime, but have access to a microwave, whip up a complete mini meal with individual containers of brown rice and canned beans. Mix the two together for a perfect balance of carbs and protein.
8. Dark chocolate. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, skip the junky candy bars and reach for a few squares of extra dark chocolate instead. Choose chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids and you’ll add a good dose of antioxidants to your diet!
9. Dried (or freeze-dried) fruit. Apples, bananas, mangoes, oh my! These days you can get almost any fruit in dried or freeze-dried form. Dried fruit is higher in calories, so if you’re watching your weight, freeze-dried fruit might be a better option.
10. Energy bars. Whether you make them yourself (like this recipe for oatmeal energy bars) or buy them at the grocery store, energy bars made with whole grains, dried fruit, and nuts make a great snack.
11. Banana and nut butter. Bananas come with their own packaging making them super portable. Add a spoonful of your favorite nut butter for extra protein.
12. Cereal and single-serve shelf-stable milk. Keep a box of your favorite cereal and pack of individual shelf-stable milk cartons in your desk drawer and you’ll never have to skip breakfast again.
13. Microwavable soup. If you’re looking for a meal on the go, a hot cup of soup can be a nutritious option. Many convenience stores sell soup (and have microwaves), making this a snack you can purchase almost anywhere. Just be sure to watch out for varieties with high sodium counts.
14. Ants on a log. If you’re preparing a snack for children (or you’re a kid at heart!), the classic “ants on a log” is a great option. Although it involves celery, it will be fine without refrigeration for a few hours. How to make it: Wash and cut celery stalks into 4” pieces.
Then fill the trough of the celery stick with peanut butter and decorate with a line of raisins. It’s just as tasty as you remembered!
When you need to refuel, by-pass fast food or vending machine goodies and choose something from your healthy snack stash instead. Your body (and wallet!) will thank you.
Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.
Main Photo Credit: photka/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Yulia Davidovich/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit & Fourth Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock.com