Busy lives and busy schedules can play havoc on our intentions to eat healthily. This is why, healthy snack ideas for busy days can really come in handy! First, a few tips to focus on that can help you make healthy decisions faster, second, a few things to be mindful of on those busy days and last, things to be aware of when creating a healthy eating environment for both your body and mind.
Tips to Focus On
1. Look for Fruit and/or Vegetables
Studies here and here repeatedly show that eating fruits and vegetables decreases your risk of all kinds of diseases, from heart disease, gestational diabetes and cancer to digestive disease and skin issues. Eating your vegetables daily puts you at better odds of avoiding many of these conditions and this is because they are full of antioxidants, nutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals and these work to keep our cells and our bodies in ultimate condition.
On the Go Single serving Fruit and Veggie Snacks:
2. Add Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are showing positive effects on overall health because they provide healthy fats, lean proteins and much-needed anti-inflammatory agents that help keep our bodies working well and prevent conditions like metabolic syndrome or diabetes. See studies here and here.
Ready to Eat Nuts:
3. Choose Plant-Based Proteins
Plant based proteins likes soy, tempeh, beans and lentils are low in saturated fat, high in protein and high in nutrients and studies (here, and here and here) show they have a protective effect against conditions like diabetes, heart disease, infertility for both men and women and gut health related concerns.
Ready to Go Plant based Proteins:
4. Include Fibre-Rich Foods
Studies show that more than 50% of Canadians do not get enough fibre in a day. A healthy intake includes 25-38g fibre daily. After all, fibre not only keeps your intestines healthy and mobile, but it also feeds the good gut bacteria which in turn boosts immunity and wellbeing. Since fibre comes from both insoluble and soluble sources, they both work together to ensure adequate movement through the system. From kids to the elderly, fibre does a body good.
On the Go Fibre Rich Snacks:
5. Combine Food Groups
When reviewing healthy snack ideas, keep in mind that a mix of protein, fats and complex carbohydrates will keep help you feels satifyied, help you feel full longer, help alleviate predinner hunger cravings and will help you meet your intake needs during the day. Look for snacks that have a combination of one or all three of these macronutrients.
Combined Macronutrient Snack ideas:
Fruit and nuts
Yogurt Parfait (my favourite – yogurt with berries and nuts)
Boiled egg and whole grains
Hummus with veggies
Whole grain crackers with cheese
Tips to be Mindful Of
6. Enjoy Your Food
This is a simple statement with a large impact. Becoming actively tuned into the foods you eat, where you intentionally pay attention to the food in front of you, can be beneficial in many ways. This allows you to become more aware of the taste, texture and aroma of the food, it also connects your mind and body to what you are eating and how much. Enjoying your food also includes , prepping meals or snacks together with your family. It also helps you make healthier choices, be more conscious of your eating habits and create a sense of awareness around your daily decisions.
7. Drink Water
Water is needed in every bodily function, either directly or indirectly. Water helps the blood flow, the cells work and the organs pump. It allows the nutrients to get where they need to go, aids in body temperature control, gut function, immune health and mental function. In the grocery store, there are aisles and aisles of beverages to choose from and a lot of them have added sugars and additives. If you can, just head to the next aisle and stick with water as your primary beverage choice. To add a little variety, you can always flavour your water too.
Flavours you can add to water:
Citrus fruits like lemon, limes, oranges or grapefruits
Watermelon and Mint
Strawberries and Basil
Cucumbers and Mint
Peaches and vanilla bean
8. Focus on Colour
There are 5 colour groups that food comes in: Purple/Blue, Green, Orange/Yellow, Red and White/Light Grey. These colours give us phytonutrients and phytochemicals that are super beneficial for our body. The more colour on your plate, the more variety of nutrients your body will receive and the decreased chances of nutrient deficiency. When searching for healthy snack ideas, choose the ones that offer the most colour variety!
Tips to be Aware Of
Distractions while eating take away from your ability to eat mindfully. Mindful eating includes being aware of how you eat, why you are eating, what you are eating, when you are eating, where you are eating and how much you are eating. Ideally, turning off the phone, TV, laptop and other devices can help you tune in to your intake and become aware of what your body is telling you. Are you hungry or bored, are you stress eating, are you full, are you enjoying your meal or snack? These are all important aspects of healthy eating in that you connect your body with your mind and this is super important in creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
10. Processed Foods
Processed foods get a bad rap so let’s be real here, these foods fall on a spectrum from minimally processed to heavily processed and include cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or any food that is changed in nutritional composition via fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways. Frozen fruits and vegetables, for example, can be optimal in that they are processed at their peak ripeness, locking in nutrient quality. Canned vegetables can also come in handy and offer a quick and good alternative when making tomato sauce or soups. The part we need to be aware of is the hidden salts, sugars, additives, and other ingredients that come with processed food. Be sure to read both the ingredient label and nutrient facts table so you become aware of what you are buying and what you will be eating.
11. Healthy Can Come in Many Sizes
Every person has their own unique body shape, size, height, colour and look and this is something to celebrate. Making healthier choices and being at peace with other choices, comes with a lifelong journey of acceptance and self-kindness. Healthy eating can contribute to feeling better, having more energy, improving your blood markers, getting better sleep and increasing your mood overall. When deciding on snack options on the go, remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy the moments you are able to take for yourself.
The Quick Summary
This list of healthy snack ideas helps to maximize nutrients, provide mindful eating tips and alleviate the stress that comes with being hungry. Hence why, whether working from home, at the office or on a day when you are bombarded with no stop interruptions (aka children, a pet puppy, a cat that likes the keyboard, your spouse that can’t find the……….whatever it is!). I hope this list helps you in alleviating some stress to make faster, more confident, healthier decisions amongst the long list of decisions we make daily.
If you are interested in knowing more about specific nutrition information that can be tailored made to your needs or want to leave me a kind comment, contact me in the link below.