I am a huge advocator of eating small, frequent meals throughout the day for health but also to keep cravings at bay. My number one tip to avoid the lure of the carbs is to always have something in your car or handbag (preferably both!) that can deter the starchy calls! I usually have a shaker bottle with a scoop of protein powder in my car and some nuts in my bag. It really does help! I might not use it, but its got an extended life and so won’t spoil if left there for a while! Below are 10 healthy on the go snacks for busy riders.
Before I get to the top 10, my top tip is to always plan two meals ahead, better to have and not use than stop at the garage for a packet of crisps (and a kit-kat chunky, and a cappuccino). Yes this does mean that you have to think a little bit in the morning, but buying items in your weekly shop that can keep or getting a small cooler over long periods of time can be wonderful for your eating habits.
I find that a high protein, moderate fat and lower carb snack works best for keeping hunger cravings at bay. I would suggest saving carbohydrate dense meals for pre and post training sessions and/or in the morning. The trick with snacking is two fold 1) think of them as meals and not snacks. I eat 4-6 times daily, usually five times. Around 7am, 10.30am, 2pm, 6pm, 8.30pm. I try to make the caloric intake roughly the same over the meals which does mean my lunches and dinners are smaller than your average meal and my ‘snacks’ larger than your average snack! 2) eat BEFORE you feel hungry – try not to go more than 3 hours without eating/drinking some sustenance.
It takes a while to get used to but if you eat right and drink enough water you don’t get to the point where you can hear your brain telling you it doesn’t care if your butt bursts through your jodphurs at your next show – you want some dairy milk because you are starving and you’ve had a busy day at the yard, ridden 6 horses, been puked on by the baby and the toddler pooped its pants. I get it, I have been there! That dairy milk is not going to keep you full for long… the dopamine release might temporarily please you but then you NEED a jacket potato with beans because your blood sugars are all over the place!
So here is a list of my top ten on the go snacks. Snacks that don’t go bad too quickly, make too much of a mess or require too much effort! These in addition with 2-4litres of water daily should get you out of bad habits 🙂
1. Beef Jerky
You can buy jerky in single serve or larger packets at most grocery stores. I tend to buy the big bags and separate into smaller ziplock bags since my husband and two young boys also love munching on it (I wasn’t expecting my little ones to like it but they really do!). Depending on brand, serving size and flavour beef jerky can offer ~15g protein/6g carb and 1g fat per serving. I tend to add around 30g almonds in with my jerky to create a higher fat/protein combo.
The great thing about nuts are they are no mess, the crunch is satisfying and makes a great topper in salads, yoghurts and in cereal. I personally gravitate towards almonds and peanuts which offer about 20g fat per 30g serving. Its really important however to watch your serving size here. I would start with a 30g serving – this is not even a full handful and since 1g fat = 9 calories (compared to 1g carb and protein offering 4 calories each) nuts are where it can all go wrong for dieters! You can add oats, chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut chips etc to make the mix more exciting. I am boring and stick to plain old nuts on their own!
3. Protein Shakes
I am on a high protein diet right now and therefore consume at least one if not two shakes a day, usually I take one with me on the school pick up and slurp away whilst I am entertaining my 3 year old and waiting for my kindergartner to come out! The other is usually between 8-9pm as ‘pudding’ before bed.
The purer the protein (i.e. the most filtered) is the more expensive and generally has the most protein and least carb and fat content. You can pick up a decent protein powder at most grocery stores these days. Usually the serving size sits between 20-30g protein which is fairly high – equivalent to a small chicken breast.
Protein shakes come in all flavours and its an experiment to work out which suits you best. I like to cook with vanilla and drink chocolate. You can make protein pancakes and waffles and shove in a tupperware with some peanut butter for an on the go snack if you get bored of shakes too.
Simple 1 scoop powder, 1 whole egg, 1/2 tsp baking powder and cook into small pancakes or bung in a waffle maker. Easy mess free (YUMMY!) snack – would be great for an on the go brekkie!
4. Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt, perhaps a bit more on the messy side but some good tupperware can sort that out! Top with nuts, fruits, peanut butter. You can even mix protein powder in (I love this its like angel delight but a healthy version!) granola etc etc. In a serving you can expect 11-15g of protein and fat and carbs is dependent on wether you choose flavoured or plain and whether it is fat free, or not!
5. Turkey Roll Ups
Turkey roll ups are a quick and easy meal to prep and although must be eaten on the day can add variety to snacking when trying to create high protein snacks.
If you are not watching your carbs then add a wrap but if you are use the turkey as the wrap and fill with avocado, spinach, tomato etc.
6. Boiled Eggs
High in protein and moderate in fat boiled eggs are easy to make, prep in advance and come with their own protective shell! Whats not to love? Two eggs and your looking at 12g protein and 10g fat.
7. Mini Cheeses/Cheese Strings
Again, mini or string cheese is a higher protein snack and easy to keep in your bag to have with an apple or some nuts. Depending on brand etc you can expect around 5g protein and 6g fat (for example a BabyBel).
8. Protein Bars
The only downside for me is that protein bars tend to be somewhat high in carbs 20-30g which is absolutely fine but they can come with quite a high calorie cost, great of your eating them as a meal but shouldn’t just be considered as a free for all 🙂 The same with the protein shakes you can expect lots of flavours and textures and it takes a bit of digging and trial and error to find great ones. Quest bars are obviously a favourite. You can also get protein cookies, brownies and even ‘reeces’ style protein peanut butter cups which are amazing.
You can also make all the above at home with your protein powder. You can search some great protein balls, or protein bar recipes and I will do a blog on them in the future.
9. Rice Cakes
For quite a lot of volume rice cakes are quite light, and low calories. I like to have these in the car as an easy and healthy carb source and often top them with peanut butter, turkey, boiled eggs or avocado. Peanut butter is my fave but just watch if your not planning to have the snack for a while it can make the rice cake go soggy if left too long 🙁 same with avocado. However you can buy single serve packets of both which I prefer on the go.
10. Bananas, Apples and Oranges
Most of these snacks are lower on carbs but after a morning of riding horses or after the school run before the gym you might need a carbohydrate boost. Bananas, apples and oranges all have their own protective case so you can grab and eat on the run and eaten with a fat like nuts or cheese can provide a really filling snack on the go.
I hope these 10 healthy on the go snack ideas inspire you to prepare some healthy snacks. Nothing in here earth shattering but sometimes the basics are the key, I often have a Martha Stewart moment making high protein snacks and cookies,, but the reality is most of them taste like clay and whoopsie before I know it i’m gnawing that Dairy Milk again… so I stick to these basics and try to add variety in here and there!
Let me know what snacks you have for busy days 🙂