Countless meetings, social activities, school pickups — with such busy lives, we’re relying on wholesome, portable snacks more than ever. Luckily, it only takes a little planning to “snackify” your life. But what does “snackify” mean? Simplified, it refers to enjoying five to six smaller meals over the course of a day, in lieu of three big meals.
“Many people are opting for several small meals and snacks throughout the day,” says Registered Dietitian Kristy Hogger. “Packing healthy snacks from home allows us to have food on hand as soon as hunger hits and prevents the drive-through temptation.”
We asked Hogger to share her expert tips on how to snack smart with a mix of ready-to-eat and made-from-scratch recipes that’ll keep you fuelled — no matter your schedule.
With hectic mornings answering emails and getting the kids off to school, it can be tempting to skip breakfast. But missing this meal can deprive you of essential nutrients.
“Breakfast gives us energy to start the day and also helps to ensure we are meeting our daily nutrient needs,” says Hogger. “For example, a simple breakfast of yogourt, berries and bran cereal provides protein, fibre, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. By skipping breakfast, we may also skip important nutritional benefits!”
The bottom line: fuelling up is an important first step — even if it’s on the go.
Try This: Whip up a double batch of Gluten-Free No-Cook Breakfast Bars, made with a base of Compliments Puffed Rice* that’s studded with fruit and almonds. Freeze the bars in re-sealable bags and grab and go as needed. “These can easily be brought to the office for a quick, healthy snack any time of day,” adds Hogger. Each bar contains 230 calories, making them a convenient way to get a quick hit of energy when busy.
Alternatively, sip on a Banana Soy Breakfast Smoothie while on the way to work. If you’re crunched for time in the morning, combine all ingredients in an airtight container the night before and refrigerate — blend before you go. Made with vanilla Greek yogourt, cinnamon and almond butter (peanut lovers can substitute with Compliments Naturally Simple 100% Natural Smooth Peanut Butter). It’s a hit with kids, too.
Made with the right ingredients, snacks can be beneficial and tasty. “Ideally, a healthy snack contains at least two different food groups,” says Hogger, who recommends looking for foods that include protein or fibre (or both). “Fibre and protein help to keep blood sugar steady and prevent hunger.” She suggests pairing whole-grain bread with almond butter, Greek yogourt with berries, baby carrots with hummus or cottage cheese with veggie sticks.
Try This: Substitute sour cream-based dips with this Classic Hummus, a simple, dairy-free dip! For some crunch, serve it with our Cajun-Spiced Kale Chips, which call for just three ingredients and are ready in 35 minutes.
Ideally, a healthy snack should be 200 calories or less, but the “right” amount varies for each person. “The calorie level depends on other factors, such as an individual’s activity level and meal sizes,” says Hogger. “If meals are small, then larger snacks may make sense. It’s all about balance!”
Try This: After an intense workout, get an energy boost with chocolate milk or pre-cut fruit. Or blend up a serving of Greens, Blueberry & Fruit Smoothie with a hint of fresh ginger. “The avocado gives this smoothie a rich texture and healthy fat for satiety,” says Hogger. “And the kale and fruit provide vitamins A and C.” That means a single serving of this smoothie provides 90% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and 50% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A.
Munching directly from the box or bag can lead to overeating. Instead, portion snacks into small bags, a bowl or onto a plate to keep serving sizes in check. “Plastic food-storage containers with locking lids are great for packing snacks,” says Hogger. “They help keep food fresh and come in all different sizes to allow a variety of different food options.”
Try This: Headed to the office? Pack this Quinoa Porridge in a portable container for easy microwaving. Top with Compliments Dried and Sweetened Cranberries and a dash of Compliments Honey, stored separately. On the weekend, make a batch of delectable Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies or Coconut Popcorn — both are easily portable and make easy, delicious snacking options.
Keep your snack stash handy at all times, because you never know when hunger will strike. Store snacks in your bag, in your desk at work or in the car. “You will be less likely to impulsively buy baked goods, treats or fast food if healthy snacks are easily accessible,” says Hogger.
Try This: For a quick snack, pack a container of Compliments Organic Medium Salsa and a bag of corn chips for a quick bite. Or grab a yogourt and a Compliments Naturally Simple Trail Mix Nut & Honey Bar if you’re rushing out the door.
* DISCLAIMER. As product ingredients occasionally change, customers diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, or those wishing to avoid gluten-containing products, should be careful to always verify the gluten-free status of a product by checking the label and by consulting the Pocket Dictionary – Acceptability of Foods & Food Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Diet, 2012 edition, Canadian Celiac Association. The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have specific needs, please see your health-care provider.