Picture this: it's 3 pm, and you've just finished work for the day. You have about an hour until it's time to pick up your little sister from summer camp, and your stomach grumbles softly as you consider what to do until then.
Driving past the pool, you think about how refreshing it would be to sit by the pool, a copy of a book you've been dying to read stretched across your lap.
I mean, I guess I could go, 45 minutes, you think, or I could get ahead on some other laundry so I can relax all day tomorrow and Wednesday, thinking of all the dirty T-shirts piled up in your closet.
Your stomach grrrrs again, interrupting your train of thought.
Then, it hits you.
Aha! I'll just go back home for a bit. It's only down the street, and I can eat something before it's time to head out again!
You turn onto your street, thinking about how you should probably eat something healthy, but also how good potato chips sound right now, and besides, there's no such thing as snacks that are actually healthy, right?
We've all been there: coming back home after a long, draining shift, and just wanting to chow down on something that tastes good or satisfies a sweet tooth, regardless of its nutritional value.
Snacking is a thing that we all do, but it doesn't always have to involve unhealthy options! In fact, as I've adjusted to college living, I've managed to come up with several healthy, easy-to-make snacks that can be prepared almost anywhere in only about 10 minutes or less, five of which I have listed below...
1. Veggies and hummus
Vegetables are an essential part of any diet, and I highly recommend taking a trip to your local grocery/convenience store and investing in some bagged produce! My go-to's are baby carrots and celery, as they require little to no preparation and can easily be eaten by themselves, or with hummus. They also are great sources of calcium, natural fiber, and lots of other essential vitamins. Hummus is also a great way to get your daily dose of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats, and tastes great!
2. Clementines and blueberries
Over fall break, my mom surprised me with a bag of clementines and package of blueberries to take back with me to school, and since then, I have always turned to them as a healthy snacking option! Fruit provides essential sugars and antioxidants, and are a great way to enjoy a light, refreshing midday snack or even as breakfast. I recommend clementines are ready-to-eat and can be taken on the go, and I like blueberries because of their versatility (they can be eaten by themselves or with other things, like yogurt or oatmeal).
Yogurt is a great source of calcium and healthy, gut-promoting bacteria, and comes in a variety of different flavors. It's also versatile in that it can be eaten at any time of the day and can serve as a quick breakfast or lunch if you're running late. I like Greek yogurt because of its high protein and low fat content, as well as Yoplait yogurt smoothies!
4. Trail mix
Trail mix is honestly my favorite snack. It's a great source of protein and essential fats come in all different varieties and can be eaten almost anywhere. You can even make your own! There are tons of recipes online, but you can make it as simple or as diverse in content as you like.
I'm not talking about microwave or movie-theatre style popcorn (although it is very tasty), but organic, unsalted popcorn (think SkinnyPop). You can spice it up a little bit by adding your own toppings; just make sure you do so in moderation to avoid feeling bloated or decreasing the snack's nutritional value!
So, the next time you want to indulge in an afternoon snack, try one of these options instead!