As the dog days of summer begin winding down, most of us find ourselves trying to squeeze in all of the fun, outdoor activities that we can! From soaking up some sun down the shore, to taking a fun road trip, it seems like everyone’s on the move, which often leads to the need for having convenient snacks on hand.
Snacking isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s encouraged. Snacking can help you keep your energy up and your blood sugars stable in between meals. I generally recommend snacking between two and four hours after eating lunch since this is typically the longest stretch between meals. (If you are hungrier before then, it may be a good indicator that you skimped on your lunch.)
But aside from pregnant women, growing teens, or endurance athletes you should have no more than two snacks a day at most. You want to obtain most of your nourishment from meals, so remember that snacks are not designed to replace them. Try to choose snacks around 150 to 200 calories, with greater than 3 grams of fiber, at least 5 grams of protein, and natural ingredients, when possible.
Here are some of favorite convenient snacks to take with me on my summer excursions:
1. Bada Bean Bada Boom
From cocoa dusted to garlic and onion, Bada Bean Bada Boom snacks are anything but short on flavor! Made from simply fava beans, sunflower oil, rice flour, and flavor-specific seasonings, it isn’t hard to understand why this snack is so good for you. Coming in at only 100 calories, 7 grams of protein, and no more than 10 carbs per pack, this snack will keep you both full and satisfied. Its sodium content is also acceptable, ranging from 0 mg to 150 mg depending on flavor.
2. Biena Chickpea Snacks
Biena Chickpea Snacks new Baked Chickpea Puffs are keto diet friendly, give you that satisfactory texture that you get from cheese balls – and pack almost four times the protein. Their standard chickpea snacks are 70-78% less fat than peanuts without losing the protein (5-6 grams). With most flavors coming in at almost a quarter of your daily fiber, I love tossing these on a salad for both a crunch and to keep me fuller for longer. More of a sweets eater? Try their Girl Scouts Thin Mints flavor. Just be sure to measure out one serving to avoid overeating.
3. Brad's Kale Chips
Sure, kale may sound boring, but with flavors like Blueberry Dream and Radical Ranch, Brad’s Kale Chips are anything but. Made with half a pound of real vegetables, this is an extremely nutrient dense option. Chock full of vitamin B and vitamin C, kale also contains powerful antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol, which help to counteract oxidative damage, often linked to cancer and other diseases.
4. Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted Green Pea Snack Crisps
It never hurts to get in your veggies while you snack. With only 5 grams of fat (and no saturated fat!), 5 grams of protein and just 11 carbs, Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted Green Pea Snack Crisps is a good choice. One serving contains an impressive 22 crisps. Compared to a snack like Cool Ranch Doritos, which have the same serving size by gram, Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted Green Pea Snack Crisps contain fewer calories, less fat, sodium, and carbs, with higher amount of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and potassium.
5. Just Beets Chips
It’s not hard to tell what’s in these chips simply by looking at the name. As it suggests, these Trader Joe’s favorites are made with only beets – nothing else. Beets boast a fabulous nutritional profile; both high in vitamins and minerals, yet low in calories. They can assist with everything from maintaining blood pressure to improving athletic performance. They may also help to fight inflammation, support brain health, and even improve digestive health. For a more filling snack you may want to pair them with your favorite hummus.
6. Yes Bar Real Food Snack Bar
While the “in” snacks are constantly changing, one healthy option has had remarkable staying power: protein bars. A protein bar that looks like a cookie? Yes, please. Perfect for anyone with food allergies or sensitivities, the YES bar includes a mix of dietitian-approved healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Made through small-batch baking, the bar’s six flavors – including Salted Maple Pecan and Coffee ‘N’ Chocolate – provide a satisfying crunchy, yet chewy texture, with only half the sugar of an apple. For a complete meal, crumble over the top of plain Greek yogurt.
(Other RD-approved bars include: Square Organics, Nutshell bars, Bulletproof bars, Oatmega bars, Kalumi BEAUTYFood bars, and Aloha bars. Kind bars are an acceptable option if you choose a flavor with 5 grams or less of sugar.)
Next time you need a good snack, remember try one of these options to keep your waistline small but your belly full.
Theresa Shank, RD, LDN, is a Philadelphia based registered dietitian and the founder of Philly Dietitian.