20 Nutritious Snacks On the Go
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 snacks to keep you energized along the way. Having simple, easy options that travel well and also help you meet your health goals is something everyone needs to consider.
What Makes a Nutritious Snack?
A nutritious snack doesn’t always look the same from day to day. It depends on what you need. Carbohydrates like whole grains give you energy for a busy day, whereas protein and fat will help add staying power and tide you over between meals.
Snacks that pack well and don’t require refrigeration for long days is another important aspect. Whether you’re commuting by bike, car, or public transportation, convenient, shelf-stable, nutritious options that keep their flavor and texture are key. Think about how you pack your snacks, and consider sustainable options such as compostable and reusable bags and containers. When you’re on the go, snacks need to be portable, so be sure to pack them so they can be easily carried in a lunch bag, backpack, purse, or briefcase.
It’s important to consider what kind of snack you need when you’re on the go. Should it be a lighter, 100-calorie bite or a larger 250-calorie, more substantial option?
100-Calorie Nutritious Snack Ideas
If you need an easy-to-eat bite while you’re on the go, often 100 calories can do the trick. If you only have time between class or a meeting for a quick bite, then snacks need to be simple and fast. If you’re stuck in traffic, something you can eat with one hand without a mess is key. Here are some examples of nutritious 100-calorie snacks:
- CLIF® Thins: crispy, crunchy, snack bars
- 1 cup of blueberries or strawberries
- 1 piece of string cheese or a packaged square of cheese
- Palmful of nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans)
- Celery with 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter inside
- A cup of dill pickles and 12 almonds
- 10 cucumber slices dipped in 2 oz. hummus
- 3 oz deli turkey wrapped in a large Romaine lettuce leaf
- 5 mini sweet peppers dipped in ¼ of a smashed avocado
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
250-Calorie Nutritious Snack Ideas
Sometimes a larger, more substantial snack is needed to satisfy your hunger. Choose a simple option that’s about 250 calories with protein if you’re between meals or having a very busy day and hunger strikes. Here are some examples:
- CLIF® Nut Butter Bar, 5-7g plant protein (8-10% DV)
- A simple smoothie of 1 cup low-fat dairy or non-dairy milk, ½ cup of fruit, and 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
- An apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 3 whole-grain crackers dipped in 4 oz. hummus
- Trail mix: handful (1 oz.) walnuts combined with handful (1 oz.) raisins
- 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese and with 3 dried apricots, chopped
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast with ½ a small avocado sliced on top (spritz with lime to help keep it green as you travel!)
- 15 whole grain tortilla chips with ¼ cup salsa
- Chia seed pudding made with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, ½ cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon honey, and a splash of vanilla extract
- 2 pieces of thin-sliced whole wheat bread with 1/3 cup of sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon peanut butter as a sandwich
To learn more about CLIF’s Nutritious Snack Bars that fit these categories, check out this video for snacking inspiration.
Other On-the-Go Snacking Considerations
In addition to the list above, many people look for snack qualities that fit their own values. Non-GMO products made with USDA organic whole grains (like oats!) are a staple of both Clif Thins and Clif Nut Butter Bars. 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 options to match your snacking needs.