As a nutrition coach, I am always trying to pre-pack my lunches or snacks when I know I’ll be on- the-go. It’s always healthier — and generally cheaper — than trying to find nutritious options in a bodega. But I’m also a human being, and even my best laid plans can go out the window during a super busy week. And that’s when I turn to my go-to, tried-and-tested, “over-the-counter” health foods! Here are some of my favorite healthy foods that I grab when I find myself hungry and far from home:
Avocados are filling, nutritious, and delicious. They have monounsaturated fat (the good kind) that actually helps lower cholesterol and support us to maintain a healthy weight. I like to halve them and spread their buttery flesh on high-fiber crackers, chop some into my salad, or simply slice them and place on a plate with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt. In a pinch, you can just buy a whole avocado, slice it open, and eat it with a spoon. Bam!
2) Trail mix
Generally available at almost any deli, trail mix has been a life saver for me many times. Packed with protein and healthy fats, it can keep you satiated for hours. Be sure to pick up the “raw,” unroasted kind of nuts and opt for dried fruits with no sugar added for optimal effect.
3) Coconut water
When I’m craving a cool, sweet beverage and want a healthy treat, I turn to coconut water. It’s filled with potassium and electrolytes, making this drink a great choice for a post-workout pick-me-up or a morning-after hangover. Go for 100% coconut water, not-from-concentrate brands that don’t have any additional flavorings, sugars, or juices. Harmless Harvest is a favorite brand of mine.
4) Canned fish
I’m obsessed with canned fish these days. This may sound like a funny bodega option, but it’s actually a great source of natural, inexpensive protein.. Since we know that tuna has mercury concerns (and is being over-fished in general), I now turn to canned mackerel, sardines, and wild salmon. All of those fishes are delicious, more eco-friendly, and packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Talk about a powerhouse snack!
5) Bananas and nut butter
A decadent, delicious combo that will keep you going for hours. Bananas are inexpensive and easy to find at almost any deli, and these days you can buy nut butter in individual packets in a lot of stores (Justin’s is a good company that’s relatively easy to find). This is a great snack after or before an intense workout, since you’re supplying the body with electrolytes (in the banana) and protein (in the nut butter) to really support your body on multiple levels. This is a seriously energizing go-to “snack” that can really double as a meal if you’re in a pinch.
6) Healthy protein bars
Not all protein/granola bars are created equal. In fact, most are candy bars in disguise! That being said, there are several companies producing healthy bars that are made with high-quality, real food. Look for ingredient lists that are short and pronounceable, with no added sugar. Two of my favorites that are easy to find: Lara Bars and Kind Bars. Both are made with real ingredients, and in the case of Lara Bars, those ingredients are usually just fruit and nuts. These bars are a much better bet than the typical “protein bar” options that you’ll see around town.
Andrea Moss is holding a Moss Wellness workshop to share secrets of convenient, homemade snacks on June 16 at 6:30pm. Join us!