Healthy Snack Ideas for Busy Moms
Sometimes life with kids can leave little time for a nutritious meal. Chauffeuring, nursing, cleaning, reading and cooking can drain you of the energy you need to juggle it all.
If you find yourself snatching bites of your child’s mac and cheese while clearing the dishes or grabbing a handful of toddler puffs on the way out the door, you may need some quick and easy ideas for healthy and portable snacks for busy moms.
Experts recommend eating snacks between 200 and 300 calories if you are very active and snacks with less than 200 calories if you are more sedentary. Busy moms that exercise regularly and are trying to lose weight may need to play around with the calorie component to fuel the body and feed muscle.
Ideally, you want to feed your body every two to four hours to keep your energy high. Some people find the three-hour mark works well to stay in control of their food choices and to keep from feeling as if they are starving throughout the day.
Choose a cereal that is protein-packed for longer staying power. You can prepare baggies of your favorite cereal for an easy grab-and-go snack anytime and most are vitamin and mineral fortified. Look for a high fiber, whole grain variety, such as Kashi GoLean or Fiber One Honey Clusters.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds provide heart-healthy fats and protein to keep you fuller longer. Just don’t go overboard as these good-for-you snacks pack a lot of calories. Consider purchasing small baggies with measurement markings to make it easier to stick with servings.
Trail mix allows you to combine the sweet and salty in appropriate servings that will please your urge to snack and keep you in control of your appetite until the next meal. You can prepare your own with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereal, pretzels or small pieces of dark chocolate. If you are truly pressed for time, you can purchase healthy premade trail mixes in a variety of combinations.
Air-popped popcorn or microwave popcorn is a great movie snack from childhood, but it can also satiate hunger when you are busy. It’s easy to grab a handful after you fold laundry or eat straight from a baggie on your evening commute. Packed with fiber,
Smoothies are a creamy and delicious way to get in a quick meal or snack depending on what you add to the concoction. Some ideas include fiber-rich fruit like berries, heart-healthy cocoa, calcium-loaded Greek yogurt and protein powder. You can find plenty of recipe ideas online and can whip up a smoothie in a small blender or purchase premade smoothies made from yogurt.
You can purchase these little pods in single serving packets or divvy out servings from a large frozen bag and pop into the microwave for a quick snack that will satisfy that salty chip craving. One cup of cooked edamame contains 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber to keep you full.
String cheese is an easy snack to grab and toss into your bag. Depending on the type you choose, one string cheese can contain 70 calories and up to five grams of fat. It can stay at room temperature for a few hours while you run errands or you can stash a couple into your child’s insulated bottle bag. If you need to eat more combine string cheese with high fiber crackers and/or fruit.
Fruit like apples, bananas, pears and oranges are portable snacks in their own carrying cases. Apples and pears are also packed with fiber from the skin and contain around 100 calories, zero fat and five grams of fiber. Consider combining fresh fruit with other snack ideas like string cheese or nuts.
Hard Boiled Eggs
If you need a fast snack at home, boil eggs at the beginning of the week. You can grab a hard-boiled egg in between chores, while homeschooling or during a playtime break. Boil several and store in the refrigerator, so you can grab and peel easily. Each large egg with the yolk contains around 70 calories, 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein.
Yes, dark chocolate is good for you. Snacking on this sweet treat provides you with antioxidants and fiber as well as encourages a healthy gut. The microbes that live in the digestive tract help to ferment the antioxidants from the dark chocolate’s cocoa component – boosting its effectiveness. Dark chocolate is available in varying cocoa percentages with less sugar, such as 45, 75 and 85 percent. You can also find dark chocolate bars sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.
So, get those baggies ready before you head out the door. You may want to spend a few minutes on the weekend preparing your on-the-go snacks to last you the week.
Go ahead and stash those protein-packed bars in the diaper bag and baggies of trail mix in your purse to fuel your busy life.