No matter how well you plan your meals, you can be caught out and stuck for something quick and healthy to eat. Having super snacks to hand mean that you can top up without getting in the way of you overall goals – and you can nourish your body well at the same time.
It is easy (and delicious) to reach for that bar of chocolate or packet of crisps but there are some great alternatives. We take a look at some handy standbys to have in your kit bag or at your desk as well as what to reach for when you are out and about.
Vitamin C & Fibre: Fruit
Always a great way to add vitamin C and fibre as well as a healthy dose of hydration – did you know your food supplies you with up to 1 litre of water a day? However, if you are training hard, fruit alone won’t satisfy when you’re hungry in between meals. Add a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese. This will give you some protein and minerals as well. Try sliced apple with mature cheddar cheese.
Iron, Zinc and Protein: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great option – they can be easily put in a kit bag or desk drawer and they don’t go off and turn to mush if you forget about them. Handy for anyone who has ever forgotten a banana in the bottom of a gym bag… However, go easy with portion sizes of nuts – they are high in fat and even though this is healthy fat it has all the calories of the less healthy types. Think of a healthy handful and pair with fresh or dried fruit. The old combination of nuts and raisins is still good.
Protein, Vitamin D & B vitamins: Fish
Not the first thing you might think of when it comes to snacking but options like no-drain tuna and John West Infusions make a quick and easy snack on-the-go. Keep them at your desk for emergencies or use them as a high protein boost after training.
1 of your 5-a-day: Vegetable sticks
These days there are some great on-the-go options when it comes to vegetables and salads. You can pick up carrot sticks almost anywhere when you are out and about and enjoyed with a little hummus they will keep you going – and well nourished – until your next meal.
Snacks with benefits: Protein bars
These days when you hit the petrol station, there are more snacks to choose from than the usual high sugar, high fat, low nutrient chocolates and crisps. Bars made with nuts, seeds and protein are a great option. They often have similar calories to traditional treats but a lot more nutrition. Do check labels – some can have more sugar than others and you might as well make the best choice.
A healthier alternative: Veggie Crisps
If you are a crisp lover, then vegetable crisps are worth checking out. These are slices of root vegetables like beetroot and parsnip that are fried or baked or flavoured. They are still fairly high in calories so a little goes a long way but the nutrition can be a lot higher and many count as at least one of your 5-a-day.
Sarah Keogh in assiciation with John West
Consultant Nutritionist - MSc., BSc., MINDI
Sarah has a degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Trinity College and a Masters in European Food Regulation.
She runs a food and nutrition consultancy giving one-to-one advice on nutrition and diet as well as working with some of Ireland's leading food companies.Back