It was 4:45pm on a Wednesday. My philosophy professor was an hour into a lecture of Mill’s On Liberty. And I was captive to the vending machine out in the hall.
I seriously could not stop eying it. From the Snickers bar on the top row all the way down to the Doritos at the bottom. Who was I? I can’t remember the last time I bought something from that black abyss of junk food. Yet now, stomach growling and mouth salivating, I was about ready to yell out loud “Give me liberty or give me Reese’s!”
Hunger will do funny things to you. Which is why I try to counteract the 3 o’clock slump by carrying healthy snacks with me. Instead of resorting to desperate measures like borrowing change for a bag of chips, pulling into the nearest fast food for a large order of fries, or ordering a fourth cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts (zing!), I can just reach inside my Mary Poppins backpack for instant energy, satisfaction, and nutrition.
- Dips and Dipables. This is one of my favorite ways to add veggies to my diet, which also serve as great vehicles for yummy dips, like hummus, salsa, plain yogurt, and cottage cheese. In the picture above, I packed yogurt, hummus, and white bean dip with carrot sticks, green pepper strips, cucumber slices and Mama Pea’s Tofu Dippers (look, I’m eating tofu by itself now!)
- Fresh fruit. Grabbing an orange, banana, or apple from the fridge is more convenient than any fast-food drive-thru — and will make you feel ten times better. I also like to pack containers of fruit salad (diced melon, sliced peaches, grapes) to eat as a “desserty” option after lunch. It makes it easier to say no to Twinkies when my sweet tooth has already been satisfied.
- Dried Fruit. I’m going on a long car trip today and in preparation, baked up a batch of apple trips to chew on the road. Dried fruit is one of my favorite no-mess travel snacks. Or you can eat half a batch straight off the pan if you prefer. To make your own apple chips, slice five apples into thin (1/8″) slices, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in a 250F oven for about 2 hours or until they are dry and crispy. Easy peasy, no sugar-added alternative to the $$-bags of
candieddried fruit at the grocery store.
- Yogurt. Satisfying, protein-rich, and oh so convenient — what is there not to like about yogurt? Well, maybe the high-sugar content of some of the leading brands. When buying yogurt, choose Greek (2x the protein!), low-fat or fat-free, and less than 30 grams of sugar. If you are planning on being out all day, store your yogurt in a cooler.
- Bars. If you really want nutrient-dense convenience, stock your purse/backpack/car with whole food protein bars. They are perfect for beating that mid-day slump, refueling after exercise, or supplementing a sub-par restaurant meal (aka, salads for mice). Just be sure to choose brands based in whole foods, and not candy bars dressed up in healthy packaging.
Odwalla asked me to review three of their latest bars and of course I jumped at the opportunity (who doesn’t want to get free food in the mail?). I immediately stuck the Berries Go Mega in my book bag to eat between classes. 1000mg of essential omega-3s from flax, 25% Calcium’s Daily Value, and 5g of fiber? Sounds like an instant brain and mood booster to me. I was pleasantly surprised at how thick and chewy Odwalla’s bars are — not like some of those skimpy protein bars that leave me still hungry.
I ate the Banana Nut as fuel before a day at the mall with Elizabeth. Shopping works up an appetite and I was not spending precious dollars at the food court. I was really impressed by the flavor and texture of this bar — just like homemade banana bread, in all its whole-grain and walnutty richness, but full with vitamins and in such a convenient portable package. I was one happy shopper. Odwalla is definitely worth checking out — and their website is so cute! You can search by whole-food ingredients!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a
cooler suitcase of goodies to pack before hitting the road. But please share your favorite healthy on-the-go snacks in the comments! I’m always looking for new ideas!
Disclaimer: I was sent Odwalla products free of charge to review for the blog. All opinions are my own.