Getting out the door to go anywhere with small kids involves a plethora of items. I’m at the stage with 2 very young children where it takes a whole car load of items to have a successful morning outing. Food is always a part of this as I have a hungry-hungry toddler who is always asking for something to eat. After I’ve packed him his 20 or so snacks (just in case) I’m usually scrambling to also grab something for myself to eat. Without my power snacks I become one grumpy mama and am easily swayed by any attractive picture or aroma of delicious food I encounter.
It’s easy to forget our own nutritional needs during the busyness of mothering. But it’s really, really important. When I’m well nourished I make better decisions, have a touch more patience, and usually have energy to conquer the day. I’m realizing that just as I have to pack up the kids stuff the night before, I also need to set out my power snacks. Otherwise, I find myself right back in the dangerous scenario of we-should’ve-left-5-minutes-ago (which I swore would not happen today) and I’ve got nothing packed for me.
Here are some ideas of quick grab items you can pack for yourself and how they benefit your body to power through the day.
When you think nuts, maybe just one or two reasons why they are healthy probably pop in to your mind. But there are so many reasons to enjoy nuts like almonds on a daily basis. Almonds contain 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. Both of these nutrients will help you feel satisfied and full better than a carbohydrate heavy snack. In addition, this super nut contains a plethora of other minor nutrients like calcium (75 mg/svg) for protecting bones, potassium (200 mg/svg) for maintaining healthy blood pressure, and vitamin E (7.4 mg/svg) to protect our hearts from cardiovascular disease. To put a cherry on top of these reasons why to eat almonds, a recent study found that one ounce of almonds (23 whole almonds) is truly only 129 calories as opposed to the formerly thought 160 calories. (Source)
To easily enjoy almonds, put 23 of them in a snack size ziploc bag with a few pieces of your favorite dried fruit (my fav are apricots). Then, store them in an easy to spot location in your pantry so you never miss them. You can also try my Hidden Honey Bars that include almonds and two veggies in a tasty snack bar.
This protein packed legume is one of my snack and restaurant secret weapons. It’s low on calories and a great source of satisfying protein. A half cup serving of fresh beans (not pods) is about 150 calories and 14 grams of protein. You can’t beat that with a stick! Soybeans are also a source of B vitamins and wonderful health-promoting phytonutrients that may prevent cancer.
Making edamame portable is easy. Either buy the frozen pods, defrost, then put into ziplocs or buy them fresh and portion them out. You can also try dry roasted edamame, which is super easy to transport and just as satisfying.
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a tasty, natural source of magnesium providing almost 50% of the Daily Value in a quarter cup. While nutrient deficiencies are rare in the US, it is estimated that most Americans do not get adequate magnesium in their diet. Magnesium is a crucial mineral that supports hundreds of metabolic processes including energy production. (Did someone say more energy???)
Add a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds to your afternoon yogurt or just eat them straight up. They also make a great addition to your morning oatmeal or try my Honey Pumpkin Whole Wheat Muffins. To get the best deal, buy them in the bulk section or ethnic aisle of your grocery store.
Perhaps I don’t need to remind you of how important water is, but I’m going to do it anyways. It’s something so simple and the ultimate grab-n-go health food. A recent study found that those who increased their water intake had less fatigue, confusion and tiredness. For those who underwent a water restriction, their mood was worse and they experienced a decrease in vigor and calmness (source). Yikes! Just consider this your pre-summer public service reminder to always have water for you, and your kids.
So here’s to a great summer ladies, where we are not exhausted by 2pm because we are eating and drinking (water) to power our bodies! Please continue with me on our journey of healthy living at my blog, www.FreshFoodPerspectives.com, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
About the Author
Jenna Braddock, MSH, RD, CSSD, LD/N is a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition and a mom to two boys. When not chasing down her sons or watching her husband coach football she enjoys helping people have a positive relationship with food and reach their goals. As a nutrition expert she works as a healthy living speaker, nutrition counselor, blogger and media personality. You can follow her fresh perspective on her blog at www.freshfoodperspectives.com or on Twitter at @JBraddockRD.