• Kaitlyn Furtado, MS, RDN, LDN

Portable Balanced Snacks

Whether you’re going to the beach, on a hike, taking a bike ride, or anywhere that you want to bring a snack; these different options will give you something that not only will fill you up but will keep you full for longer than a traditional go-to snack. Some of these snacks should be kept cold and it is important not to allow foods that are meant to be kept cold to rise to a temperature higher than 41°F for more than two hours so an insulated lunch box and ice packs are a must to keep your food in the safe zone. If you know you will be going on a long hike or bike ride and you want multiple snacks, it may be best to pack snacks that stay good at room temperature for later in the trip when the lunch box starts to get warmer.


Boiled egg with crackers

One of the easiest snacks you can make is a simple boiled egg. Despite rumors that eggs are high in cholesterol, and you should only eat egg whites, that is totally not true! Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin B12 which will help keep you fuller for longer. Pair a boiled egg with some crackers like Good Thins, Wheat Thins, or any of your favorite crackers and you’ll have a balanced snack with protein, fat, and carbohydrate.


Remember: This is a snack that needs to be kept cold and if it is kept at warm temperatures could cause foodborne illness. Do not pack this if you do not have a way to keep the temperature controlled for the time you are going out.


No bake energy bites

If you don’t mind doing a little prep beforehand, no-bake energy bites are a delicious option that can keep you full and going for a long time and they are surprisingly easy to make. This recipe includes oats, nut butter, honey, and dark chocolate chips.


Recipe:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats

  • 1/3 cup of honey

  • ½ cup favorite nut butter

  • ½ dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine

  2. Scoop out 1 Tbsp and roll into a small ball. This recipe should yield about 12 energy balls

  3. Store in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden


Two energy balls equal 1 serving. These are delicious and taste like dessert. The oats provide a good source of whole grain fiber, the nut butter is high in protein, the honey is a natural carbohydrate and along with the dark chocolate contains antioxidants that will help fight free radicals in the body and help keep you healthy!


Cheese, raisins, and nuts

This combo is salty and sweet with a combo between the salty nuts and the sweet raisins. You can make this mixture yourself by slicing a block of cheese into bite-size cubes and adding your favorite type of nuts and dried raisin to a container and mixing. Sometimes I like to swap out the raisins for craisins too! If you don’t want to make these yourself, they sell premade mixes at grocery stores. Sargento has some called Balanced Breaks which have a variety of combinations but are all delicious. For a more cost-effective version of the same thing, Aldi’s sells their own version of the Balanced Break called Park Street Deli Snack Selects.


Protein bar

Protein bars can be a nice and easy way to bring food on the go and with such a wide variety it can be easy to find something that you’ll like! Although the wide variety offers many options for flavors, it can become overwhelming to find the best ones. As with any food, if you don’t like any of the options that are lower in sugar and are made with whole foods, any granola bar that has a source of protein will keep you full in a pinch. Aim for a bar that has more than 5g of fiber and protein.

RXBAR

Some of the best protein bars are made by RXBAR. With the ingredients listed on the front of the packaging, it is easy to know exactly what you are eating. They don’t use any artificial preservatives, colors, or animal products (vegan-friendly!). All their products are gluten-free as well, however, they are produced in a factory that contains the big 8 allergens, so if you have a severe allergy, call the manufacturer before eating. While containing all whole ingredients, they can be on the pricier side, but for an occasional treat on a long day out, they are a great source of energy.


Kind Bars

Kind bars are very popular and found in most grocery stores. They have minimal ingredients and can be high in fiber but are typically lower in protein than the RXBAR’s. Like the RXBAR, Kind bars are also gluten-free and low in sodium. Sodium and sugars are sometimes added to protein/granola bars to make them taste better, but for people who have diabetes, or kidney disease, it can be a sneaky source of sugars and sodium that is unexpected. You will avoid this with Kind bars.


Quest Bars

While slightly more processed than the previous brands, Quest bars offer a high punch of both fiber and protein that is sure to keep you full for a long time while keeping sugar levels low. The sodium level of these bars varies but is higher than the previous two brands on average. This could be good however if you are sweating and need to replenish some lost electrolytes. Quest provides a wide variety of fun flavors that is sure to please anyone!


Making sure to stay fueled up while out in the summer heat, or even during the colder winter months is crucial to staying healthy, keeping you energized, and preventing injury if exercising. Don’t overlook nutrition when planning your next adventure!

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