Living in New York has taught me a lot of things - but one thing is certain, ain’t nobody got time to sit down and prepare a healthy snack. Honestly. It’s a lot easier to grab snacks that can be thrown in my bag and taken to work to eat throughout the day than it is to pull out a chef's hat and apron every time I get hungry (which is honestly about every three hours). Yes, I love cooking. But I also love things that are easy. These 10 snacks may not be on your grocery list yet; but if you’re looking for healthy, convenient foods to get you through a busy day - they need to be. Here’s a list of my go-to packaged snacks.
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1. Quest Bars
No surprise Quest Bars are number one on this list. I eat AT LEAST one Quest Bar a day (not even exaggerating). I have a major sweet tooth, and not only do Quest’s dessert flavored bars satisfy that, their macros are virtually perfect for a snack or breakfast, in my opinion. Most flavors have at least 20 grams of protein, less than 3 grams of sugar, and under 10 grams of net carbs. If you’ve never tried these before, DO IT ASAP. My favorite flavors are Birthday Cake, White Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Cookies & Cream.
2. Dry roasted edamame
Edamame is high in protein and fiber and when dry roasted, it makes a super easy on-the-go power snack. In 1/3 cup, there are 8 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. Look for brands that have the fewest ingredients and are fairly low in sodium. If you’re one to reach for a bag of potato chips, try satisfying your craving for crunch with crispy edamame. My go-to brand: Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Sea Salt Edamame.
3. Freeze dried fruit
THIS is amazing. It’s basically the same as eating real, fresh fruit - only travel style. Freeze dried fruit is different from dried fruit. Often times dried fruit (like raisins) contain added sugar, whereas freeze dried fruit’s only ingredient is the fruit itself. I like to buy freeze dried strawberries and blueberries or bananas and take them in my carry on bag when I travel. My go-to brand: Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit.
4. Light string cheese
Light or fat-free string cheese is an excellent source of protein (around 6 grams per stick) if you eat dairy products. The only downfall to string cheese is it has to be refrigerated, but if you have a lunch box you usually bring to work it’s easy to keep it cool until you’re ready to eat it. My go-to brand: Sargento Natural Light String Cheese Snacks.
5. That’s It Bars
Similar to freeze dried fruit, That’s It Fruit Bars make it super convenient to get your daily serving of fruits & veggies without any added junk. These bars come in 12 different fruit flavors and four different veggie flavors. My favorite is the apple coconut bar - and guess what the only ingredients are? That’s right. Apple and coconut. Can’t go wrong.
IMAGE: THAT'S IT
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6. Rx Bars
These are so popular among the fitness community and have recently exploded all over Instagram. RX Bars use minimal, natural ingredients to make delicious bars you’d never believe weren’t dessert in disguise. They come in 14 flavors, and the main ingredients that remain consistent across the board are dates, egg whites, and almonds or cashews. My favorite flavor: Coconut Chocolate.
IMAGE: RX BAR
7. Muscle Milk 100 Calorie Protein Shakes
A lot of people have mixed opinions on pre-made protein shakes. Personally, I think they’re delicious and an easy way to get 20+ grams of protein in a snack or breakfast when you’re rushed and don’t have time to make your own or cook a meal. Lately I have been loving Muscle Milk’s 100 calorie vanilla creme flavor. 100 calories, 0 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein in a shake that tastes like cake batter? Yes, please.
IMAGE: MUSCLE MILK
8. 100 calorie cocoa roast almonds
Almonds are an amazing snack to eat in the afternoon hours when you start to hit that mid-day slump. They are a great source of healthy fats and protein, which will help keep you full until dinner time. My go-to: Emerald 100 Calorie Cocoa Roast Almonds. Bring on the chocolate.
IMAGE: EMERALD NUTS
9. Epic meat bars
Okay. I know what you're thinking. This may not SOUND appetizing - but I promise it tastes just like beef (or chicken) jerky. Epic Bars are gluten-free, paleo, high-protein fruit, meat, and nut bars. Each bar has around 15 grams of protein and about 100 calories. These come in 11 flavors and different kinds of meat, but my favorite is the Chicken Sriracha.
IMAGE: EMERALD NUTS
10. PBFit single serving packets
I am OBSESSED with PBFit. It's one of those foods I eat pretty much every day (sometimes twice a day). It's easy to mix in to healthy recipes, but it's also super tasty just on its own; which is why single-serving packets of PBFit come in handy when you are on a time crunch and need a snack you can just grab and throw in your bag, as opposed to measuring out a serving of PBFit from the jar. If you're still not sure why everyone loves this stuff: CLICK HERE to read a full blog post with seven healthy recipes you can make using PBFit.
What are some of your favorite healthy packaged snacks? Leave a comment below and let me know which ones should be added to the list.
Head over to my Instagram account @samanthabowers_ for more healthy recipes, workouts, and lifestyle tips.