Kids and snacking go hand in hand and, as every mother knows, we often find ourselves on the move when it’s snack time (which is basically all the time).
I’m an on-the-go mom so I know this firsthand. I also live with a chronic condition, so keeping my energy up and my flares down is key.
For those living with a chronic condition, the types of foods you eat can be beneficial to your health — or they can trigger a flare. There are also issues like fatigue and stress that come into play.
Family life doesn’t give moms much opportunity to slow down, so when organizing snack time for someone with a chronic illness and their entire family, a little smart planning and strategizing is helpful.
I’ve rounded up five of my family’s favorite ways to snack when we’re out and about. The emphasis is on crunchy, raw veggies, omega-3-packed nuts, healthy chips, and other grab-and-go options that keep hunger (and the accompanying crankiness) at bay — for all of us.
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables
Pack up whole or individual portions of fresh fruits and veggies. Options that’re traditionally less messy can be eaten in transit or outside. I generally skip fruits that can leave stains or make a mess in the car (think: blueberries and blackberries). Some great options are:
- carrot or celery sticks
- cucumber slices
- broccoli florets
- red or yellow pepper slices (sweeter than green peppers)
2. Dried fruits and pouches
If fresh options aren’t available, you can still enjoy your fruits and veggies in delicious and healthy ways. Look for versions that don’t include extra ingredients and don’t add any sugar.
- Baked. Kale or sweet potato chips are a crowd favorite.
- Dried. We keep raisins in the car and all of our bags. They’re incredibly easy to pack and, unless they’re dumped out on the floor, aren’t a very messy snack.
- Freeze-dried. I prefer strawberries because they kind of taste like astronaut ice cream, but you can find a freeze-dried version of pretty much any fruit you can think of.
- Pouches. My girls can’t live without applesauce pouches, but I always give them the ones that also sneak in vegetables.
- Choose nuts that are high in protein, such as almonds, cashews, or pistachios, to keep you full longer. When possible, eat them raw, as higher temperatures used in other preparations methods can destroy the nutrients.
- Nut-butter-based snacks are always a hit. Whether in bar form or in individual packets, they’re a tasty way to get that protein.
- Combine nuts with the dried fruits and you have yourself a fun homemade trail mix. Kids also love to pitch in making these.
If you’re packing snacks for the whole family, make sure you don’t give your child a new nut to try when you’re out and about in case they have an allergy.
4. Protein shakes and smoothies
Endless combinations of flavors plus no crumbs to clean up make shakes and smoothies fabulous snacking options. You can prepare these before you leave the house in portable cups or grab ready-to-drink bottles at the store for really easy grab-and-go.
Blend your favorite fruits and veggies with water or preferred milk-type beverage, add in a scoop of whey protein and you’ll have a filling, delicious snack. I also love to add chia seeds for an added nutritional punch.
Protein bars. Nut bars. Fruit bars. Granola bars. Bars of all kinds are incredibly convenient for snacking on-the-go. The endless variety of ingredients and flavors means everyone gets to enjoy something they like.
Choose types made with minimal ingredients and that don’t add artificial ingredients or preservatives. Finally, always be sure to check the amount of sugar.
There are a lot of options for healthy snacks to benefit the whole family, keep the ‘hangries’ at bay, and minimize the stress that comes with caring for yourself and your kiddos.
Joni Kazantzis is the creator and blogger behind Just a Girl with Spots, an award-winning psoriasis blog dedicated to creating awareness, educating, and sharing personal stories from her 19+ year journey with psoriasis. Her mission is to create a sense of community and to share information that can help her readers cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with psoriasis. She believes that with as much information as possible, people with psoriasis can be empowered to live their best life and make the right treatment choices.