10 Nutritious On the Go Snacks
By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, integrative nutrition expert, cookbook author, and consultant dietitian who works with Clif Bar & Company.
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition related activity.
Whether it’s a busy day of errands, a commute to school or work, or a meetup with friends or family, daily routines get busy. It’s easy for the day to get away from you if you aren’t prepared with nutritious on the go snacks to keep you energized along the way. Having simple, grab and go options that travel well and help you meet your health goals is something everyone needs to consider.
What should I look for in a snack?
A nutritious grab and go snack can look different depending on what your day may bring. Carbohydrates like whole grains provide energy for a busy day, whereas protein and fat will help add staying power and tide you over between meals.
What makes a snack easy?
Whether you’re commuting by bike, car, or public transportation – convenient, shelf-stable and nutritious options that keep their flavor and texture are key. Snacks that pack well and don’t require refrigeration when you will be gone all day, is another important aspect. Shelf-stable yet nutritious snacks like trail mix, bars, dried fruits, and veggies can all be good options for when you’re on the go.
Be sure to think about how you pack your snacks. Consider sustainable options such as compostable and reusable bags and containers. When you need your snacks portable, be sure they can easily be carried in a lunch bag, backpack, or briefcase. If you do have a snack option that needs to stay cold, use a simple ice pack to transport it safely.
It’s important to consider what kind of snacks you need, should it be a lighter, 100 calorie bite or a larger, more substantial 250 calorie option? Do you need to make it all yourself or are there good store-bought options? Here is a list of easy, grab and go snacks that are balanced for nutrition and energy to fuel you when you’re out and about.
1. CLIF® Thins
Have a quick break (?) between class or meeting? Snacks need to be simple and fast. CLIF Thins have 100 calories per pack for a perfectly portioned, crispy, and crunchy snack-time pick-me-up. Made with organic rolled oats and 5 grams of added sugar, these can fit perfectly into your nutrition goals. CLIF Thins come in craveable flavors like Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Brownie, and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Flavor.
2. 1 cup of blueberries or strawberries
Packed with fiber and flavor, berries are a perfect sweet treat. Pre-wash your berries and remove the tops and slice the strawberries in half for a convenient and mess-free grab and go snack.
3. 1 piece of string cheese or a packaged square of cheese
If you’re stuck in traffic, something you can eat with one hand without a mess is key. So, if you have a cool pack available for your commute, calcium-rich cheese is a great option.
4. Palmful of nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans)
Whether you purchase individual packs or shop in bulk and make your own combinations, nuts are an easy snack that travels well. A palmful of nuts is about an ounce, providing plant-based protein and unsaturated fats to help keep you feeling full.
5. Celery with almond or peanut butter
Slice your celery stalk and slather 1-2 teaspoons of nut butter inside. When the nut butter is contained within the celery, it can be a surprisingly easy-to-eat snack that satisfies the crunchy, salty flavor you’re seeking. Mix this snack option up with cream cheese topped with a few raisins for a creamy fruit veggie option.
Sometimes a larger, more substantial snack is needed to satisfy your hunger. CLIF Nut Butter Bar provides a mix of satisfying nutrients, including 7g of plant-based protein (9% DV), helping you power through your busy day. With tasty flavors like Peanut Butter, Chocolate & Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter, you’ve got variety in your on-the-go snacks.
7. Fruit Smoothie
Devoid of added sugar (and can easily be made dairy free if that’s important to you), this simple smoothie can be made in a moment at home and carried with you on your commute or while running errands. Blend together 1 cup of low-fat dairy or non-dairy milk, ½ cup fruit and 2 teaspoons of peanut butter. Consider using frozen fruit for an even frothier smoothie or adding in some baby spinach for an easy veggie addition...
8. Apple and almond butter
Slice an apple before you leave home. Pack 2 tablespoons of almond butter in a reusable container and dip while you walk or travel. Store bought almond or peanut butter is a great pantry staple that’s versatile for grab and go snacks.
9. Whole grain crackers and hummus
Simple whole grain crackers packed to travel in a reusable container alongside a separate container of hummus is a balanced, dairy free snack that offers satiating fiber and protein.
10. Trail mix
Reminiscent of classic granola bars, a reusable pack or container of walnuts (1oz) and raisins (1oz) is a shelf-stable, grab and go snack that’s full of fiber, protein, and unsaturated omega 3 fats. Consider other dried fruit options like cranberries or chopped dates or other nut varieties like pistachios or almonds to mix up your trail mix.
Other Snacking Considerations
A lot of people look for snack qualities that fit their own values, like choosing products that are sustainably made or use ingredients that are responsibly sourced. Clif Thins and Clif Nut Butter Bars are both non-GMO and made with wholesome whole grains. If this is a priority for you, choose produce, grains, and nuts that are labeled organic at the store.
On busy days, make sure you are prepared with nutritious on the go snack options to match your snacking needs. Focus on foods that don’t need to be refrigerated, travel well, and are designed to eat when you’re on the go. There are plenty of nutritious options!