On the Go and In the Know
Posted: July 12, 2012
I was surprised during a recent cooking workshop that 2 or 3 of the class participants took the time to soak and cook dried beans, rather than using canned; one regularly cooks oat groats, the rounded whole grain oat kernel that takes longer to cook than the rolled oats most of us are familiar with (old-fashioned compared with spiffier flavored instant oats, but new-fashioned compared to the un-flattened oat groat!). For those with less time for food preparation, try pairing foods from at least two food groups for a healthy snack.
Eating healthy at home is the first challenge we face, and part of the answer is in keeping healthy foods in stock and strategically placed so that we see them first. Use clear containers for healthy snacks, so the suggestion speaks for itself!
A few tips for fast and healthy snacks on the home front:
- Whole grain cereal or granola mixed into low-fat yogurt - top with a few berries.
- Roll up lean thin-sliced beef, ham, turkey or chicken in a whole wheat tortilla and have a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes on the side.
- Baked tortilla chips and black bean dip or hummus. Tuck in a few snips of fresh spinach.
- A scoop of low or non-fat cottage cheese with sliced strawberries or melon cubes. “Parfait” it with strawberries and blueberries!
- Mix frozen strawberries with frozen mango and puree’ for a fruity treat – serve as is or over plain yogurt.
- One or two Medjool dates, with a few luscious pecans
Quick Picks from the Vending Machine or Convenience Stop:
- Fat-free or lowfat yogurt or yogurt drinks
- Veggie or tomato soup with whole grain crackers
- Packages of baby carrots, broccoli florets or celery sticks
- Mozzarella cheese stick made from part skim milk and a fruit cup
- Packets of nuts or sunflower seeds or low-fat popcorn
- Fig bars or animal crackers and fresh fruit
- Fat-free milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- Wash and cut a kiwi in half – spoon and eat the delicious green pulp.
When work keeps you at the office or the mid-afternoon munchies strike, there are some healthy options you can keep at work for such an occasion. If you have a refrigerator available, then the list is endless, but be sure to put fresh fruits and veggies at the top of the list!
Make-it-through-the-Day Desk Drawer Stash:
- Zip plastic bags with oatmeal, cinnamon and dried fruit – empty into a mug, add water and microwave! Then stir in peanut butter for a delicious bonus of protein.
- Vegetable, bean, lentil or split pea soups in “heat and serve” or “pour and heat” containers.
- Single serving foil packets of tuna or salmon packed in water and small cans of veggies (keep a can opener handy!)
- Peanut, almond, or cashew butters and whole grain crackers
- Light microwave popcorn (it’s a whole grain!)
- Single servings of fruit packed in 100% fruit juice or water; dried apricots, raisins, cranberries or cherries
- Zip bags filled with whole grain cereals, pretzels and nuts
Being “in the know” about healthy snacks and being stocked with the staples are key to being prepared when hunger strikes! Some of the suggestions in this column came from the Naturally Nutrient Rich Coalition.
Rayna Cooper is a Registered Dietitian and Family & Consumer Sciences/Nutrition Educator serving Penn State Extension in Adams County. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. Penn State Extension in Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, PA 17325, phone 334-6271, email email@example.com.