Fast food has quite the bad rap, but there’s nothing inherently unhealthy about grabbing a snack on the go. The problem is that most of the foodstuffs we perceive as being quick and easy to eat are not exactly healthy snacks as they tend to be pre-packaged, over-processed, calorie-rich and lacking in nutrients.
This perception can make it hard for busy people to see how they can ever stick to a nutritious diet that supports good health. When you’re juggling so many things, finding the time to prepare and eat nutrient-dense, whole food-based meals, often is the ball that’s dropped first.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastically nutritious things to eat that require basically no preparation time. Read on for 5 fast and healthy snacks that can help keep your diet nutritious and your sugar and saturated fat intake low.:
1. Overnight Oats
If you’re always rushing out the door in the morning without eating breakfast, only to succumb and buy a sugary pastry to eat at your desk, overnight oats are your new best friend!
To make this high-fibre, portable breakfast packed with protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals and tryptophan, you will need:
- 1 ripe banana (or a quarter cup of frozen or fresh blueberries)
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of hemp seeds (or other seeds of your choice)
- 1/2 cup of steel cut oats
- 1 cup of non-dairy milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
In a Mason jar or other easily carried, watertight container, mash the banana (or blueberries) and mix in the seeds. Add the other ingredients and mix well, then seal the jar and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to use a jar that allows a couple of inches of room at the top for the oats to expand. Grab your jar, a spoon and running out to work in the morning knowing you have a healthy morning snack at the ready.
2. Celery Sticks, Hummus and Olives
Make it easy to snack well by preparing a week’s worth of vegetable crudités on a Sunday evening and sealing them in separate containers in the fridge for use throughout the week. Cut three-inch sticks of celery so you have these on hand whenever you need a quick snack. Celery is high in fibre and contains vitamins and minerals such as potassium, while being low in calories, helping you stick to a
Cut three-inch sticks of celery so you have these on hand whenever you need a quick snack. Celery is high in fibre while being low in calories and contains vitamins and minerals such as potassium. Celery is a great snack that will help you stick to a low-calorie diet while staving off hunger. Add some extra protein and healthy fats to your celery by filling them with humus and adding pitted olive slices on top.
3. Rice Cakes With Almond Butter and Sliced Bananas
An excellent fast food alternative! Rice cakes with almond (or other nut butter) and sliced bananas will help to fill you up, give you energy, boost your calcium intake and support digestive health. Make in advance and store in a sandwich bag to take to the office for a mid-morning snack. Or, keep a jar of almond butter and a bag of rice cakes at work, and bring a fresh banana each day.
4. Whole Wheat Crepes, Strawberries and Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
If you’re blessed with a powerful food processor, consider whipping up a jar of homemade chocolate hazelnut spread so you have it on hand to make delicious crepes. Your homemade version will most likely have a lot less sugar and salt than store-bought versions, especially if you use dark chocolate which is rich in antioxidants.
For a delicious and satisfying snack that is also kid-friendly, reheat pre-made frozen crepes and spread a thin layer of the nutty chocolate spread in the centre of the crepe. Add fresh cut strawberries before rolling up the wrap and cutting into bite-sized pieces. These can also be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, helping you and the rest of the family increase fruit intake.
5. Sugar Snap Peas
A cup of whole sugar snap peas, which have a rather satisfying crunch, weighs in at just 26 calories and contains 2 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein, and no added sugar or fat. Sugar snaps are also a source of numerous micronutrients, including an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate), vitamins A, C and K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and manganese.
Snow peas or sugar snap peas are usually one of the first things I look for in a grocery store when travelling as they are easily recognisable and often come pre-washed in small bags that can easily satisfy immediate hunger. No need to resort to an overpriced, highly sweetened, sodium-packed granola bar when you can make a quick stop in the salad aisle and munch on delicious sugar snaps while you figure out a more comprehensive meal plan.