We've all had pre- or post-workout situations when we wished we had a healthy snack in our gym bag for a little boost. Instead of waiting until you can get your hands on something healthy and worthwhile, you end up eating something you really didn't want and then regret it. "If only I had packed something healthy," you say.
Don't get stuck with cardboard food or something boring. Try thinking about the following healthy snacks as options when you aren't able to eat a full meal. A win-win every time and the best part is, they're healthy and can hold up in your gym bag so you'll never be without a quick, easy and healthy snack.
Here are five good-for-you snacks that are perfect to take to the gym. They give you energy and are great for when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.
My favorite gym bag snack is fresh fruit. An apple, orange, grapefruit, pear or banana will hold up just fine in your bag for a day or two, but any fruit is good as long as your store it well. Check what's in season for the best quality (cherries, peaches and plums are just about to make their way to your local market's produce aisle!). Just make sure you don't forget the fruit in your bag — it's never fun finding an old banana, right?
Dried fruit (1/4 cup) is also a great idea if you don't want fresh fruit floating around your bag. Try mixing some dried apricots, dried cherries, dates, prunes, figs and coconut flakes for a lovely, won't-go-bad mix.
2. Organic nuts & seeds
Before you get too excited, keep in mind that a serving of nuts is 1/4 cup at most, and for 1-2 tablespoons for nut butter. This is important so you don't undo all your hard work. Fat is terrific and very important for your body, but just keep your portions mindful and you'll be good to go. Try raw almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds or Brazil nuts.
Nut butters are also great. Keep your eye out for brands that are available in individual packets. One of my favorite snacks is slathering raw almond or sunflower seed butter over two celery sticks as a perfect snack at my gym. You could also get fancy and make your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices like sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg or ground ginger to change the flavor up a bit. A favorite combo of mine is raw almonds, dried cherries, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, sea salt and cinnamon.
3. A wholesome snack bar
This is a tricky one. You must read the labels and understand every ingredient for this snack to really work out. You're probably aware that not all protein and nut bars are created equal and in some cases, you might actually be better off with a candy bar as there can be as much sugar and questionable ingredients in an unhealthy protein bar.
Instead, reach for a wholesome bar made with real ingredients that you can pronounce
4. Protein powder
Protein is important in any diet. While food is always the best option, it may not be a bad idea to have a scoop of your favorite protein powder in a baggie tucked in your gym bag. Add your protein powder to your water for a convenient way to fuel with protein. If you aren't a protein powder fan, try keeping some coconut water in your gym bag. It won't provide the protein, but it'll help refuel with its natural electrolytes.
5. Superfood drink packets
This is for when you aren't really hungry but feel like you need something to recharge your batteries, especially when the alternative is another cup of coffee. This is also perfect for those days when you feel like you may have not had any "greens" in your day! Look for a green superfood powder (vegan, gluten-free, raw) that comes in individual packets. Add to your water and enjoy a healthy, alkalinizing pick-me-up.
What are some of your favorite healthy snacks packed in your purse or gym bag?