I’m a Nutritionist and These Are the 7 Healthy Snacks I Always Keep in My Purse
Like any busy mom, I’m constantly running around from errands to appointments to football practice (my son’s, not mine!). In the hustle and bustle, it’s a near guarantee that my kids or I will find ourselves hungry at snack time. And since we usually don’t have time to stop off for a nourishing mini-meal, I’ve gotten into the habit of packing snacks in my purse.
As a nutritionist, though, I try not to toss just any old packaged snacks into my portable stash. I look for choices that not only travel well and keep for hours at room temperature, but that keep my family satisfied and well nourished. (As much as I might like to pull a freshly made smoothie or a whole watermelon out of my purse, some foods just aren’t feasible for on-the-go packing and eating.) Here are seven healthy, totally totable snacks I’m always packing.
1. Wonderful No-Shell Lightly Salted Pistachios
Most minimally processed protein sources require refrigeration. Tofu, chicken breast, or salmon, for example, are good sources of this satiating macronutrient. But can they sit for hours under the hot sun of swim lessons? That’s a no.
Fortunately, shelled pistachios pass that test with flying colors and 6 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving. Besides having as much protein as a hardboiled egg, these nuts are super simple to carry in a purse or other small bag. And when you purchase them shelled—as in Wonderful Pistachios’ no-shell lightly salted resealable bag—you’ve got snackable protein at your fingertips.
2, Mariani Dried Apricots
Much like meats, most fresh fruits don’t hold up well after an hour or two in a handbag. (If you’ve ever had a squishy banana stink up your favorite purse, you can attest.)
To get the antioxidants and nutrients of fruit without the mess, I opt for dried fruits like Mariani dried apricots. They’ve got zero added sugars, 10% of the Daily Value of potassium, and 3 grams of fiber per serving (three times more than a fresh apricot!). An on-the-go serving of fruit doesn’t get much easier than these bite-sized pieces.
Buy now: Mariani Dried Apricots
3. Kind Oats and Honey Bars
Nutritionist pet peeve: it can sure be tough to find a granola bar that’s not virtually indistinguishable from a candy bar. So many grain-based bars come loaded with added sugars and high levels of saturated fat. Kind’s Oat and Honey bars, however, are pleasantly sweet without overdoing it. Each bar contains just 6 grams of added sugar and 8% of the Daily Value of saturated fat.
Buy now: Kind Oats and Honey Bars
4. Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcorn Snack Bags
Popcorn is my go-to snack for savory grazing. It’s low in calories but big on flavor. And (hooray!) it’s even a whole grain. Since whole grains are associated with better heart health and a thriving gut microbiome, I’m all for incorporating them into snacks—hence my fondness for Boom Chicka Pop’s sea salt popcorn snack bags. These easy-packing bags have just 100 calories each and satisfy the need for crunch when I’m out and about.
5. Chomps Original Beef Jerky Sticks
Some snacking occasions require little nibbles to tide us over, others require something a bit more substantial. For those times when I could really use a boost of protein, Chomps original beef jerky sticks are perfect to pull out of my purse. (Even better if I can remember to pack some crackers to go with them!) Each individually packaged jerky stick comes with 9 grams of protein and just 90 calories. Their high satiation factor and savory flavor keep me going during longer stretches between meals.
Buy now: Chomps Original Beef Jerky Sticks
6. Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs
My kids initially turned up their noses at the thought of snacks made from sweet potatoes. But when I pulled Spudsy’s sour cream and onion flavor out of my purse on a recent road trip, the whole family was sold. We’re fans of the brand’s variety of flavors for their delicious crunch, not to mention their surprising protein content of 4 grams per serving. Plus, since Spudsy uses upcycled sweet potatoes (those with imperfections that can’t be used in other foods) they’re a win for sustainability, too.
Buy now: Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs
7. Unreal Peanut Butter Cups
I’ll confess, I have a sweet tooth. When mid-afternoon carb cravings hit, I’ve got to have something sweet on hand. Still, it’s all too easy to lose track of how much chocolate I’ve eaten when I can grab handful after handful out of a bag.
Instead of setting myself up for a chocolate free-for-all, I like Unreal’s chocolate peanut butter cups, which are individually packaged. Each one contains 80 calories and just 5 added sugars—and is just big enough for a portion-controlled sweet fix.
Buy now: Unreal Peanut Butter Cups
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