Summer Snacks for People on the Move
Don’t let the bright days lead to dim-witted eating patterns. Keep up the pace with these easy snack ideas.
By Nutricise nutrition expert Sheila Kelly, M.S., R.D.
(Nutricise) — If you’re like most people, summer is your busiest time of the year. Between all the parties, trips to the pool and weekend getaways, it can be difficult to eat well (or at all!). However, don’t let your hectic schedule throw your good nutrition intentions off track. With just a little planning, you can ensure great taste, nutrition and convenience. The trick? Smart snacking.
Snacks were long dismissed as diet wreckers—fat-laden, guilt-inducing substances with a sinister quotient almost akin to dessert. Lucky for you, snacks have gained recent fame for their beneficial effects on weight control and energy levels. The key is learning to discern a “worthy” snack from its nutritional-wasteland counterpart.
The first element to seek in sizing up a snack is that it contains some carbohydrate, protein and, yes, fat. Carbohydrate assures energy, protein will help stabilize your energy levels, and a little bit of fat will keep you full. Another helpful element is fiber, which is found in carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber also helps stabilize energy levels; its slow digestibility can keep you from reaching for more calories before your next meal.
Another item to consider is the calorie content of the snack. Ideally, it should contain between 150 and 250 calories—any more than that and it almost qualifies as a meal; any less and you may not make it to your next meal! Roughly 50 to 60 percent of the snack should come from carbohydrate, 20 to 30 percent from protein, and the balance from fat.
Good snack sources of carbohydrate: Include fresh fruits and raw vegetables that can be easily transported and eaten. Also look for complex carbohydrates, such as popcorn, whole wheat pretzels or dry sugar-free cereal.
Good snack sources of protein: Consist of lean slices of cold cuts, low-fat cheese and cottage cheese. Using a protein source that contains some fat will ensure that you get this important nutrient as well.
Easy ways to get them all: Include combination foods, such as hummus, low-fat yogurt, and reduced-fat peanut butter.
So, you’ve completed your crash course in snack nutrition. Now, you’re wondering how to package it up into an on-the-go lifestyle. Here are some easy, portable snack ideas:
2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
3 T. light butter
1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
Melt butter in saucepan. Add cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour mixture over popcorn. Shape into 6 balls.
Nutrition information per 2 balls:
30 g carbohydrate
15 g protein
5 g fat
5 g fiber
Tastes great by the pool!
1 cup frozen peaches, strawberries or raspberries
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat fruited yogurt