From Jennifer E. Landis
When you’re pressed for time, it can be tempting to reach for convenience foods, but junk food doesn’t give you the nutrition and energy you need to make it through the workday. Instead of grabbing a candy bar, try these seven healthy – and delicious – snacks instead.
Raw veggies are fast, but sometimes they’re heard to digest. Try steaming healthy vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and tossing them together for a unique salad. Top with a warm mustard dressing and zap for 15 seconds in the microwave to reheat for a delicious, wintery take on the typical salad.
When you don’t have time to cook, fruit and cheese skewers are a great way to get your fiber and protein in one great snack. Small fruits like grapes, strawberries or cubed melon hold up to being impaled on a skewer. Alternate fruits with cubes of your favorite cheeses. Cheddar, Gruyere and Monterrey jack all work well.
DIY Snack Mix
Mix up a bowl of your favorite nuts, dried fruits and granola for a personalized snack mix that you can munch on whenever you have a minute. The trick to a great snack mix is a balance of salty and sweet elements. Try adding wasabi peas for an extra kick, or toss in some chocolate or butterscotch chips for a sweet surprise.
Lighten up your popcorn by eating it Mexican style. Instead of dousing it in melted butter, add a squeeze of lime to lightly salted popcorn just before you eat it. The flavor is out of this world, and there’s no added fat.
Who says you need an oven for a pizza? Try a cold take on take-out by stuffing mini whole-wheat pitas with fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and some fresh basil. You can also add olives or red pepper flakes to kick up the flavor a notch.
Dried fruit is a power-packed snack, but it can get dull. Pep up dried apricots by dipping them in melted chocolate – semisweet chocolate chips melted over low heat are perfect for this. Allow them to cool on a piece of wax paper and store in a Ziploc bag until you’re ready to eat them.
Remember ants on a log? Celery sticks still make a great base for delicious snacks, even if you don’t use peanut butter and raisins. There are lots of combinations of healthy spreads and toppings you can try. Get creative with hummus and olives, or try sunflower seed butter with dried cranberries for a change of pace.
Eating on the run doesn’t have to be boring. When you plan ahead to pack healthy ingredients, your lightning-fast snack sessions at work can give you the energy you need to care for your patients all day long.
Jennifer E. Landis