Last year may have caused a pause in the hectic pace of many individual lives, but as 2021 finds its stride, most will be back to the grind. That’s no reason to go hungry or get stuck with whatever poor choices are available. Pack a snack for the road or ascertain a reliable source ahead of time. There are many options. Some require a cold pack, but most are shelf-stable and will be ready to eat when you can take a quiet moment to refuel your body.
1. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a great option. It contains a variety of nutritious ingredients—or not-so-nutritious, if you prefer—like dried fruits, nuts, and whole-grain cereals. It’s easy to pack along in any amount necessary. It can be mixed at home or bought in bulk. Trail mix is the ultimate in customizable snack material, and may also include items such as pretzels, bagel chips, chocolate drops, granola clusters, your favorite dry cereal, and even dried veggie chips. Related to trail mix in terms of snacking ease are: granola cereals.
Many farmer’s market-style grocery stores offer an array of both trail mix and granola cereals, so you can stock up when you shop. However, if you prefer to combine your ingredients yourself, it’s an easy task to gather them—mixed nuts, pretzel rods or grids, chocolate candies or chocolate chips, granola of any variety, any types of dried fruits, coconut flakes, or dried vegetable chips. If you keep these staples in your pantry, you can combine them to suit your daily or weekly palate.
2. Peanut or Tree Nut Butter
Nut butter can be paired with many portable foods. This allows you to change up your routine simply by switching ingredients. Whether you’re in the mood for apples, celery and carrots, matzo crackers, graham crackers, simply pack along a container of nut butter and your chosen vehicle. It’s always a great way to repair a midday slump if you’re short on time. All nut butter are high in protein and healthy fats, which will boost your energy and sustain you until you can slow down for a more complete meal.
3. Fresh Baked Goods
If you’re in the mood for something freshly baked, artisan bakeries provide delicious options. One local Miami bakery has even stepped up their game and gone virtual, providing anyone in the area with a safe and affordable way to treat themselves. Bakeries tend to offer delightful products that are not available in the neighborhood grocery stores and many lack the time to prepare themselves. Whether it’s a crusty, whole-grain baguette you’re craving, a specialty gateau, a dozen guava-cream cheese croissants, or a vegan blondie, look to your neighborhood pastry wizards. They have hundreds of ways to treat yourself while saving time and energy.
Jerky is a great snack for people who can’t pause for even the lightest meal during their daily routine. It’s packed with complete protein and flavor, but because it uses the leanest cuts of meat, it contains almost no fat. While there are a number of high-quality products available today, making jerky is relatively simple, and you can use any type of animal protein you desire. Simply select the leanest cut available, cut it into thin pieces—the thicker the piece, the longer it will take to dry—and marinate them in a mixture of oil, vinegar or other acidic liquid, and spices. Then, using a food dehydrator or your oven at a low temperature, completely dry the pieces in batches.
5. Tuna and Crackers
It sounds basic because it is. Tuna fish offers a great serving of protein and several essential nutrients. It can be eaten plain, but you can also make a batch of tuna salad ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for five to six days. Then, take a container of tuna salad and a plastic bag with your favorite crackers along with you. Follow your own palate in this regard and combine a can of tuna with mayonnaise, seasoning, and perhaps a bit of celery for crunch. Many people also enjoy adding gherkins—small, sweet pickles—to their homemade tuna salad. But the ingredients are up to you, because there’s no wrong way to make tuna salad. While refrigeration is a plus, a soft, insulated lunch bag or even an ice pack will keep your snack chilled until you’re ready to pause.
Healthy and delicious snacks on the go don’t need to be spartan or unappetizing. Find the ones you like best. Additionally, while there are many healthy ways to maintain your energy, don’t forget to indulge your appetite every once in a while. The act of occasionally treating yourself to what you most want to eat, what you ordinarily might forego, actually can reduce stress levels. In this fast-paced culture that offers so little opportunity to relax or take time for ourselves, that’s as important as a balanced and nutritious diet.