It's not that you just-can't eat healthy; it's that you just-don't always have time. While staying busy might make you productive and feel more accomplished, tight schedules don't allow for much wiggle room to prepare nutritious snacks. You might grab for whatever is nearest when you're starved between meal times, but what you digest can make or break the rest of your day.
As registered dietitian and nutritionist, Monika Arenas RDN CPT at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort explains, "Healthy snacks are key for maintaining energetic balance throughout the day. They help fight cravings by stabilizing your blood sugars and keep your 'hangry' vibes at bay. I consider snacks as 'mini meals' to encourage choosing foods that contain a wider variety of nutrients in comparison to an overload of sugary and processed foods."
So what do nutritionists eat in a pinch? Here, 14 snacks that get the professional seal of approval.
Image via Getty
KIND's Fruit Bites
For when your morning starts with a meeting and your evening with an outdoor bootcamp your friend talked you into, you're going to be feeling those hunger pains more than once. For a snack that's portable and packaged while still being nutrient-rich, registered nutritionist and dietitian Amy Gorin, MS, RDN suggests trying KIND's Fruit Bites. Her personal pick for flavor is Strawberry Cherry Apple. "They're made with just fruit -- strawberries, cherries and apples, and no added sugar -- and each pouch provides one serving of fruit, offering filling fiber for just 60 calories," she says. If that doesn't hold you over until it's time to order takeout, try pairing this fruit snack with nuts (about a dozen almonds) to get protein, Gorin adds.
Good news if you'd rather pick savory over sweet any day: Nutritionist and health coach Allison Tannenbaum says cheese and multi-grain crackers are an ideal munchie to get you through a long stretch between lunch and dinner. Her top choice is a single serving of Babybel cheese with a handful of Triscuits. "This snack provides both fiber and protein to keep you feeling full, while also giving you the calcium you need for bone health," she explains. If Babybel isn't your idea of a tasty, fulfilling cheese, look for an organic snack-size option that's not overly processed.
Especially if you're recovering from a cold or were on antibiotics and you're just getting into the swing of your routine again, grabbing a container of plain Greek yogurt will curb hunger pangs and assist in getting you back to top-notch health. Registered dietitian Cara Walsh from Medifast Weight Control Center of California explains a single cup of Greek yogurt is an all-star source of protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6 and B12. Compared to other yogurt varieties, Greek yogurt also has three times the amount of protein, meaning it'll keep you sated for much longer. "It's also an ideal food to help you lose weight. It will leave you feeling full longer and help you avoid sugar and carbohydrate crashes," she says. Our pick: Fage Total 2%.
Paprika Spiced Popcorn
If you like a side of crunch with your snacks, Paula Simpson, holistic nutritionist and co-founder of Zea Skin Solutions says popcorn isn't at all a bad choice for a quick snack, especially if you add some spice to the kernels. "Popcorn with paprika and sea salt makes a great mid-afternoon snack when energy levels are down and cravings are up," she says. "Paprika contains carotenoid antioxidant zeaxanthin, an important antioxidant that has been clinically shown to support eye and skin health." Another smart option is cayenne pepper, which Simpson says has capsaicin, a nutrient that's been show to support a healthy metabolism.