As a health coach I’m all about making it easier for you to eat better, no matter where you are (did you sign up for my 10 best healthy travel tips yet??). Most of us do okay to great when we’re at home: we try to cook healthier dinners, we even pack some veggies and fruit for snacks, and may have a nourishing smoothie on our way out the door. But what happens when hunger strikes while you’re in line at the DMV? Moms know: never leave the house without at least one snack for those kids that JUST had lunch, but still.
Now, I could show you a beautiful list of delicious, fancy, super healthy snacks that I just discovered at the latest health food expos, but what if you don’t feel like driving 10+ miles to your nearest health food store, and you likely don’t have time to order them online because you’re in the middle of Target and your toddler is on the floor screaming for food, like you haven’t fed the child in a week.
Well, fear not, mama: even the most mundane stores like Target, Walmart, or Publix have a decent selection of snacks that are health coach approved. Of course fresh fruits and veggies with hummus would be amazing, but let’s not drive ourselves crazy, and keep in mind that good is sometimes better than perfect. I get it – not everyone has the time or budget to eat organic superfoods every single time. Neither do I. I just try to find the least “evil” snackfood out there and choose them using these simple guidelines:
- Artificial ingredients check: anything that contains artificial colors/sweeteners/flavors is OUT
- Empty calories check: anything that’s basically a candybar is OUT (loads of added sugar, processed/refined grains, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, …).
- Excess ingredients: anything with a mile-long list of crazy twisted ingredients is OUT. Don’t even bother.
- Protein/Fiber: make your snack count so that it actually holds you over to the next meal and not make you hungry again an hour later. Protein, healthy fats, and fiber will keep you full longer, and stabilize your blood sugar. Ideally a snack should have 5 – 10 grams of protein, but do your best.
So to put this to the test I went to my local Target (not a Super Taget, just a regular, not-great-at-all one), and went up and down the food aisles to see what I could score. I went a little crazy, but hey: I wanted to show you guys that healthy, storebought snacks are out there. You just have to do a little ingredient-list-reading. Here’s what went in my cart that day:
I purposely picked items that are uncomplicated, kid-friendly, and don’t require refrigeration or assembly. Yes, there are a ton of other options, but this post is about being able to find something worry-free at your everyday store that you or your kids will actually eat. I LOVE roasted seaweed snacks but you may not. I also rather smear almond butter on some apple slices for my kiddo, but I don’t carry a knife around with me. And let’s be real: hardboiled eggs are an awesome protein rich snack, but even the folks at the DMV don’t deserve that stink in their waiting area.
Larabars: my all-time favorite snack. Comes in tons of delicious flavors, has no added sugars (only sweetened with fiber & mineral rich dates), and provides good fat and proteins from healthy nuts!
KIND pressed fruit bars: these are fairly new and super yummy! 2 servings of fruit, no added sugar and a good amount of fiber. Have some water with these though as dried fruits can be a bit dehydrating on their own.
Somersaults bites: 6 grams of protein and plenty of fiber in these. They’re also non-GMO and nut free so they’re a safe snack for your litte one’s lunch box too.
Krave jerky: you can find a lot of jerky at the store these days but most of them are filled with MSG/yeast extract, corn syrup, added sugars, or gross stuff like hydrolyzed corn protein. Ideally you want grass-fed meat, hormone and antibiotic free, with simple ingredients and natural sweeteners. Krave is a good brand. Not perfect, but good.
Pearl’s Olives: yes, olives! Healthy fats for you and a bit of saltiness that is better for you than Doritos.
Late July Multigrain Tortilla Chips: one of our favorite brands of chips since they use only non-GMO and real ingredients. No artificial anything, just whole grain goodness. If you can, grab a cup of Wholly Guacamole with it (although that requires refrigeration).
Justin’s Nut Butters: I can’t always splurge on the Justin’s almond butter jars but love their little individual packets (squeeze on a banana for a yummy snack). Another great option for healthy fats and good protein.
So next time you’re at the store and reach for the regular old Goldfish and gummy fruit snacks, put them back on the shelf and try one of these instead. Progress, mama. Not perfection. Just progress.
You can also win a sample pack of all of these yummy snacks! How?? Head over to my instagram page and/or my facebook page for more details. Look for this post: