How many times have you been out with your kids, exploring the world, only to discover that while you have a bag load of food for your kiddos, you’ve got nothing to ease your own hunger pangs? Let’s face it, raising small children can be hectic, and many times we parents let our basic needs take a back seat. Between sleep deprivation and chasing around little ones, keeping our energy levels up can be a real struggle. You reach for another cup of coffee for a caffeine boost, and find yourself munching on a muffin, hoping to hold yourself over until dinner. Snacks are great, in fact they’re necessary, but the trouble is, not all snacks are created equal.
If you’re trying to keep your energy levels up, and mood stable throughout the day, letting yourself get hungry, or reaching for baked goods packed with sugar and refined flours is not going to help you. A healthy snack will keep your blood sugar more stable, fill your belly, and sustain you for 2-3 hours. It should be a mix of protein (eggs, nuts and seeds, lean meat/fish, beans), complex carbohydrates (fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains), and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, cold water fish). It should not contain refined sugar, refined flour, or any other fillers, artificial flavours, or colours. Healthier snacks like this take planning and a little preparation, but usually make enough to keep around for a week or so.
Some great energy boosting snacks, many of which are portable, include:
–Granola balls (which can easily be made into squares/bars)
-Whole grain muffins with nuts and vegetables added in
-Yoghurt (have you tried coconut yoghurt yet?) with fresh fruit and granola
-Raw fruit and nut bars life this delicious version of “Lara” bars (I add hemp hearts to mine!)
-Trail mix (instead of buying it, buy the ingredients and create your own mix!)
-Veggies and dip (hummus takes a mere few minutes to make and keeps well in the fridge for a week)
-Apples and nut or seed butter (a personal fave!)
I encourage you to make as many of your snacks at home as you can, because you might be surprised by the amount of sugar hiding out in some common store-bought snack items.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be going more than 3-4 hours without eating, so take a look at your day and plan accordingly. A jar of trail mix, some frozen muffins, granola balls, or fruit and nut bars all make easy to grab, portable snacks. They also don’t take long to make and keep well for a week or so, sometimes more.
So, skip the refined, sugary store bought stuff. They may be convenient, but they’re also energy killers, good mood busters, and won’t make you feel good in the long run. With a small amount of effort each week you can keep yourself stocked with healthier, tastier things to keep you fueled for a busy day!