As a Personal Trainer working long and physical days, Tracy Griffen needs an armoury of easy healthy snacks to keep her energy levels high. As Tracy writes, even if you’re a ‘desk jockey’ doing mainly cerebral work, you still need to snack healthy throughout the day.
There are a couple of reasons for healthy snacking; firstly it helps to boost your metabolism, which in turn means you burn calories more easily (and have more energy). Secondly your brain is around 2% of your body mass but uses an extraordinary 20% of your energy.
In other words, you need steady blood sugar levels simply to think straight. Here are some of my favourite snacks for a busy day.
I discovered these wondrous savoury oat biscuits soon after moving to Scotland. Many oatcakes are wheat / gluten free and low GI (slow burning) to boot. Top with your fave topping – try almond butter or homemade houmous. These are my secret snacking weapon. I eat them plain straight outta my bike pannier bag.
2. A humble hard-boiled egg
A high protein snack that comes ready packed.
3. Energy bars / balls
Raw food snacks are fashionable at the moment, and did you know you can make your own for the fraction of the price?
This is a super easy recipe, using only five commonly found ingredients. You can adjust the texture to personal taste. This recipe makes 10 balls at 25 pence each, whereas Nakd bars from the shops are around 75 pence.
3 Tbsp nut butter (almond or cashew are ideal)
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/3 cup chopped dates, the fresher the better
½ cup sunflower seeds
Grated cacao (raw chocolate) or desiccated coconut to coat
– Blend the top four ingredients in a blender. You may need to mix it about a bit with a spatula.
– Roll into bite sized balls in either the cacao or coconut.
– Wrap in tinfoil and store in the fridge.
– This recipe makes 10 balls.
4. An apple or a banana
Simple, easy to transport and a good energy boost. Keep your fruit on your desk so you can see it and will remember to eat it.
5. Nuts and seeds
A serving size is around 30 grams (a small handful), choose a mix of raw nuts and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Use a small snacking bowl (around the size of ramekin) to ensure you don’t super-size your nuts.
Buy sachets of instant miso from your local Chinese supermarket. This delicious Japanese enzyme-rich fermented soybean soup is wonderful for warming you up after an active commute to work.
If you’re going pick up anything from the food-to-go section of any big store, sushi is often the healthiest choice. If you find raw fish a bit creepy, try the vegetarian version. M&S now do a brown rice version too.
Homemade if possible. It won’t fill you up, but is fab if you’ve got a case of the munchies.
There’s a reason why air-dried meat (usually beef) was popular with cowboys on long horse rides. It’s high in protein, low in fat and good to chew on.
Personal Trainer Tracy Griffen runs a fitness studio in Edinburgh and is the author of the Healthy Living Yearbook, www.healthylivingyearbook.com. Follow Tracy on Twitter and Facebook or visit her website at www.griffenfitness.com.
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