Back-to-school season is a busy time for kids and parents alike. Family schedules book up faster than a Fortune 500 CEO, as parents must once again find the right work and home balance so they can spend quality time with the kids, and do things like cooking at home and staying active. Even the best intentions can be easily dashed when there are just 24 hours in a day. Unfortunately, it’s the simple things like healthful snacking that are often sacrificed in favor of a quick-fix. This creates a domino effect that can impact a parent’s physical and emotional health, and, ultimately, trickle down to the kids.
Fortunately, when it comes to nutrition, there are some simple steps one can take to tame the daily schedule. For instance, planning ahead for nutritious snacks will leave one less thing to worry about when zipping from school to soccer practice or ballet class. With little to no prep, one can easily provide their families with healthier food options when they’re away from home.
It’s no secret that protein is necessary for growing healthy bodies and keeping kids feeling fuller longer. Protein is also important for adults for muscle recovery post-exercise, while keeping the mind sharp. With that in mind, here are my top five recommendations for nutritious portable protein snacks that are perfect for the glove box or lunchbox.
- Hardboiled Egg (6 grams per egg): Inexpensive and packed with protein and other nutrients, eggs can’t be beat as a go-to snack.
- Pumpkin Seeds (10 grams per 1/4 cup): Not only are they high in protein, pumpkin seeds are full of energy-boosting magnesium, zinc, and iron.
- String Cheese (8 grams per serving): The ultimate in convenience, string cheese is pre-portioned and low in calories!
- Protein Bars: (5 grams per serving): Not all are alike. A favorite of mine is CLIF Kid Zbar Protein  with organic whole grains that leaves out what parents consider to be “no-no’s,” such as partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives and artificial flavors.
- Jerky (8 grams per slice): Jerky (beef, turkey or salmon) makes a great snack because it is low in fat, lean, savory, and fun to chew. But make sure it’s nitrate-free.
While the start of another school year has many challenges, with just a couple of easy purchases or a little bit of kitchen prep, healthier snacking does not have to be one of them.
Disclosure: I do work with the folks at CLIF Bar but opinions are my own.