By Staci O’Connor MS, RD, CLC, CDN
We all have very busy lives and because of this some of us either forget to eat or grab the closest food item from a vending machine or fast food restaurant. If you know that you will be traveling, plan and prepare healthy snacks that you can bring along with you. Here are a few quick healthy snacks that can be prepared ahead of time and easily transported.
I. Trail Mix
1/4 cup whole shelled (unpeeled) almonds
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
2 ounce dried apricots, or other dried fruit
- Combine almonds, peanuts, cranberries, dates and apricots (or other fruit) in a medium bowl.
Per serving: Per serving: 156 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium; 247 mg potassium.
II. Kale Chips (Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each)
1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces (about 16 cups; see Note)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Position racks in upper third and center of oven; preheat to 400°F.
- If kale is wet, very thoroughly pat dry with a clean kitchen towel; transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, massage the oil and salt onto the kale leaves to evenly coat. Fill 2 large rimmed baking sheets with a layer of kale, making sure the leaves don’t overlap. (If the kale won’t all fit, make the chips in batches.)
- Bake until most leaves are crisp, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 8 to 12 minutes total. (If baking a batch on just one sheet, start checking after 8 minutes to prevent burning.)
- If you decide to make these ahead of time store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Choose organic kale when possible since nonorganic can have high pesticide residue.
Per serving: 110 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 6 g fiber; 210 mg sodium; 642 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (767% daily value), Vitamin C (192% dv), Calcium (20% dv), Potassium (18% dv).
III. Granola Bar (makes 16 bars)
- 1 cup oats, quick cooking or old fashioned
- 1 cup shredded wheat cereal
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (combination of your choice of dried apricots, dried plums, dried cherries, and dried cranberries)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Place the oats, cereal, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped (the dried fruit should be the size of a dried pea or lentil).
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Add the oatmeal mixture and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking pan and flatten down gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to spread evenly.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the edges turn golden brown and the bars are done. Let bars cool completely in pan before slicing and serving.
1 bar: 170 calories, 7g fat (1.5g saturated, 0.7g omega-3), 85mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g protein