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Smart Substitutions: On-the-Go Snacks

Fitday Editor
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Do you have a busy lifestyle that has you dashing here and there with little time for a healthy, leisurely lunch? Whether it's the challenge of juggling work and getting the kids to their activities or just a busy weekend day trying to accomplish your endless list of errands, you still need to eat. But don't rely on junky fast food or candy bars to get you through. With a bit of planning you can properly fuel your body to handle the most hectic of schedules. Always fill up your water bottle and bring that with you as well. Take a look at the following options for snacks you can quickly put together before you head out the door.

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Choose This

Not That

Apple with Peanut Butter:  Cut an apple in half and remove the core from each piece.  Spoon in 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into each side and close the apple back up.  Pop into a container or baggie.  Simply pull the two halves apart to eat.  It's a perfect snack filled with fiber, healthy fats, and protein. 

Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwich Pack:  Although these may be cheap and convenient, they are far from a healthy choice.  Their ingredients consist mainly of white flour, peanut butter, oil, and three kinds of sugar.  This highly processed snack will do nothing for your health and energy levels.

Smoothie:  Toss some frozen berries, a banana, fresh spinach, and soymilk into your blender for a vitamin and mineral packed drink you can sip on in the car for hydration and nutrients.  This type of beverage will provide you with steady energy levels and tons of nutrients. 

Soda:  Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, juices, and sports drinks.  Sugar has been associated with increased risk of several chronic diseases.  Plus, it will lead to unsteady blood sugar levels that cause you to temporarily feel a boost followed by an unpleasant energy crash.

Energy Bar:  Use caution here.  There can be a fine line between a nutritious bar and a candy bar.  Always check ingredient lists and look for whole grains, fruit, and nuts.  Watch out for too much sugar, oil, and unidentifiable ingredients.  Good choices are Larabars and ProBars.  A little more processed are the Luna bars, Odwalla bars and Clif Mojo bars- but these are still better than a candy bar.  Better yet, make your own.

100-Calorie Snack Packs:  Don't fool yourself with the idea that these are okay because they are calorie-controlled.  Ask yourself where those calories are coming from.  Are they providing your body with real food or are they coming from white flour, sugar, and a long list of bizarre ingredients that promote disease and stress your body rather than support vibrant health?

Fruit and nuts:  Bananas, grapes, berries- these are some of the easiest as far as grab-and-go.  But pick any fruit you love.  They are all rich in antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals to protect your body from disease and help you to feel great.  Peel an orange or slice up some melon or mango and pack into a container for effortless snacking.  Take along a small handful of nuts whose protein and fat will help keep you full longer than fruit alone.

 Candy:  Candy bars, candies, cookies, pretzels, baked goods- all of these are poor snack choices, mainly because they consist of empty calories.  Many candies and other packaged products contain sugar, partially hydrogenated oils (the dreaded trans fats), and artificial colors and preservatives.  This combination paired with no fiber wreaks havoc on your body and can contribute to serious health issues down the line. 

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Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition

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