Ah, snack foods. The land of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats and excessive packaging. The land of oversized bags, tempting you to stick your hand in just one more time, for one more handful.
STEP AWAY FROM THE BAG!!
Options and awareness
There are lots of better options out there. It does take a little pre-planning, but we are used to that eating gluten free. As I mentioned in “preparing ahead for healthy gluten free eating success,” celiac disease makes us automatically more aware of what we put in our mouths in order to not get sick.
So let’s take it a step further to make choices that can impact our health, energy, and potentially our body composition (fatness vs not fatness) in a positive manner. You could very easily just have a smaller version of what you might have for another meal. A snack of some chicken breast, green beans and a little olive or macadamia oil is very common for me. It depends on what your resources are, how portable you need your food to be, and if you have refrigeration or a cooler. A small soft sided cooler with an ice pack is a great thing to keep with you, and then you’re never caught absolutely starving and headed for the closest crap food to dive into.
A general rule of thumb I like to follow is to try to include a fruit or vegetable source in the snack, a protein source, and possibly a healthy fat. (Side note-Some people consider nuts and nut butters to be a protein source. Me, not so much. If you look at the nutrition facts for lets say 2 TBSP of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter. There are 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein.
So yes, there is some protein, but there’s twice as much fat as protein. See what I mean? It’s fine, it’s a good healthy fat source, but I wouldn’t consider it a bunch of protein.) This way you get a snack that helps you get a larger amount of produce in your day, and gives you some lasting energy.
10 gluten free healthy and portable snacks
These are in no particular order, by the way.
- Apple and string cheese-my go-to snack. Very portable, easy, and tasty. I like Fuji’s, and I like the 2% string cheese. Personal preference.
- Celery sticks and natural peanut butter with a small container of cottage cheese or greek yogurt. Try to get the plain kind-the flavors add A LOT of sugar. You can generally find the Greek yogurt Fage or Oikos brands in many regular supermarkets. They are thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, with a higher protein content.
- Deli turkey slices (make sure it’s gluten free, Boar’s Head brand is very common and gluten free) wrapped around baby carrots, and/or wrapped around pickles.
- A small handful of almonds with a piece of fruit, and a hard boiled egg or three.
- Sliced bell peppers dipped in homemade bean dip (seriously-can’t be easier-open, drain and rinse a can of white or garbanzo beans, throw ’em in the Magic Bullet or a food processor with some garlic, thyme and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt, add some cayenne if you like or whatever spices. Voila) or store bought hummus-again and as always check labels.
- Small pop top or packet of canned tuna, and celery or carrot sticks, small handful of nuts.
- Plain Greek yogurt with some berries, and sliced almonds or crushed walnuts.
- Cottage cheese with a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies. You can also make this like a “ranch” type dip by adding some seasonings and blending until smooth.
- Ostrim jerky-ONLY THE NATURAL FLAVOR IS GLUTEN FREE!! But it’s tasty, doesn’t require refrigeration, dairy free, and high in protein. Add an apple and you’re set.
- A protein shake and a handful of almonds with an apple. Protein powder you can keep in your car, won’t go bad, and all you have to do is have a secure bottle and some water to shake it up and you’re good to go.
- BONUS SNACK!
I know, I said 10, but if the guys in Spinal Tap can take it to 11 so can I. A couple ounces of chicken breast left over from dinner the night before, some green beans and slivered almonds. Yum. I’m a big fan of cooking in bulk, and having leftovers to have either as snacks or as entire meals. Why cook 2 chicken breasts when you can cook 10? Save time, save energy, and have great healthy food ready to grab.
So no excuses as you’re running about this holiday season-the siren song of the food court will not affect you when you have these handy snacks ready to go!
What are your favorite snacks? Let me know in the comments-there’s always room for more great ideas!