Imagine this: it’s Friday night, you are on your way to the fourth swim meet this week, you haven’t had time to go to the grocery store since Wednesday when all of your snack and meal reserves were depleted, and you have three kids in the back of the car who are complaining of empty stomachs. You need fuel and you need it fast. What do you do?
At this point it might seem impossible to resist the golden arches if you don’t have a back-up plan. I hate to say it, but if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. Of course, you could have a stock-pile of white chocolate chip macadamia Clif Bars in your purse or gym bag, but here are a few other options to add variety to your arsenal.
Here are five good ideas to help you in a pinch:
Clif Kid Organic Fruit Ropes – These twisted fruit ropes come in a variety of flavors- grape, strawberry, sour apple, tropical twist, fruit punch, and mixed berry and offer 70 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate per rope. They are made without high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, synthetic preservatives, and artificial flavors. Each flavor contains between 6 and 8 ingredients, they are packaged individually and are non-perishable which means they work great in a purse or backpack. This product can be found at Costco and in Hy-Vee HeathMarkets as well as a variety of other carriers.
ALT bars – Have you had a Larabar? They are a delicious option to have on you at moments of weakness, but ALT bars are even a little bit better. ALT bars are like Larabar’s younger and more mature sibling (yes, I am the youngest of four children) boasting 10 grams of protein per bar. Yes, that’s right- ALT bars use a vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and non-GMO protein source…peas. Protein is beneficial in maintaining stable blood sugars and will keep you satisfied longer. ALT bars come in four delicious flavors: Cinnamon Apple Crisp, Lemon Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie. Each flavor uses 9 ingredients or less. NINE- that’s it.
Cocoa Roasted Almonds – Cocoa + almonds = delicious, sustained energy. The cocoa is baked right into the almonds, which provides just the right amount of sweet cocoa burst without taking a toll on your waistline. One serving is about 24 almonds- providing 160 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. The almonds come in 100-calorie packs- which make for a very convenient snack. Otherwise, I would suggest measuring out ¼ cup portions into small snack baggies to carry with you.
GoGo Squeez Applesauce – Essentially, applesauce on the go. No spoon needed. These flavored applesauce packets come in a wide variety of flavors- from “apple apple” to “apple cranberry raspberry.” Each packet provides between 60 and 80 calories (depending on the size.) Ideally, this snack would be paired with a few cocoa roasted almonds, or other protein source, in order to provide a balance of carbohydrate and protein in one snack.
“That’s It” Bars – Last but not least, we have “That’s It” bars. These too come in a variety of flavors, but what is most important about this product is that its ingredients are fruit. That’s it. Just fruit. The bars contain ingredients like 1 apple and 20 blueberries or 1 apple and 1 banana, or 1 apple and 10 cherries. Each bar contains 100 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and no added sugar. The product is gluten free, vegan, and contains no preservatives. They are packaged individually and are non-perishable, making them perfect for a snack on the go!
All of these products are widely available at your local grocery stores.
Can’t Find These Things? Then Do This!
Every once in a while you find yourself in a corner of the world where you can’t get an organic, grass fed beef stick. Try out these combos for the best nutrition “bang” for your buck.
1. Trail mix + Chocolate milk
2. Nuts (any of them … almonds, peanuts, pistachios) + Gatorade
3. Hard boiled eggs + an apple
4. Bonus: Hummus cup + Vitamin Water Zero
Looking for more nutrition help?
Contributor: Coach Ellen Ries, RD, LD