You take a look at your calendar, and it’s one of those days where every hour is booked. Between meetings, errands, and a mile-long to-do list, you’ve got a full plate—and no time for a decent meal. How can you stick to your healthy eating plan when you barely have a moment to take a breath—let alone cook something nutritious?
Snacks might be your best bet. No, not a lousy bag of whatever’s in your nearest vending machine. We’re talking about protein-rich, nutrient-packed nibbles to get you through the day—the kind that nutritionists like Becky Jay Forman, MS, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in New York City, rely on themselves.
Here, Forman reveals her favorite snacks for non-stop busy days. With tasty treats like these, you might even forget that you skipped lunch.
Related Reading: The Most Interesting Healthy Snacks On the Market
Nut butter and fruit
A smear of your favorite nut butter on portable fruit, like an apple or banana, packs a sweet-and-savory punch that staves off tummy rumbles, says Forman.
“This duo provides about nine grams of protein, six grams of fiber, plus heart-healthy fats—a winning combination that will keep you feeling satiated and fueled to rock your to-do list,” she explains.
While just about any squeeze pack of nut butter will do, Forman prefers a few brands over others.
Justin's Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Packs, $9.50 on Amazon
These portable packets are perfect for getting your nut butter fix on the go.
“I love RxBar’s vanilla almond butter because it tastes like a sweet treat without any added sugar,” she says. “I also like Wild Friends creamy peanut butter because it contains only two ingredients: roasted peanuts and sea salt.”
Allergic to nuts? Go for sunflower seed butter instead, advises Forman.
Looking for something healthy on the fly? Edamame will be your new best friend. One cup of the soybeans delivers 17 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber.
“Keep a bag of frozen edamame in your freezer at all times,” says Forman. “When you need an energy boost, pop the frozen pods in the microwave and you have a protein- and fiber-rich snack ready in mere minutes.”
Eating them straight from the pod comes with a key benefit that makes it worth the extra effort, she adds.
“It slows down your eating pace and prevents you from scarfing down your food too quickly, which can easily happen when you’re feeling stressed on extra busy days,” Forman explains.
Avocado with special seasoning
Half an avocado is an instantly satisfying healthy snack, but Forman has a little secret to take this classic mini meal to the next level.
“Sprinkle on Everything But the Bagel seasoning and dig in with your spoon, or enjoy it with some whole grain crackers,” she suggests. “Either way, this tasty snack is flavorful and loaded with beneficial fats that will keep you feeling full and stabilize your blood sugar levels.”
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Everything (well, almost everything) tastes better with Trader Joe's legendary seasoning blend.
Homemade trail mix
If you only nosh on trail mix when you’re hiking, you’re missing out on a healthy snack that can give you a boost of energy when you need it most.
“A DIY trail mix is always a terrific on-the-go option,” she said. “I create a snack-stash made with almonds, walnuts, air-popped popcorn, and pumpkin seeds.”
Head to the dry goods section of the grocery store and stock up on your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and even chocolate. Stocking your pantry with the right ingredients will allow you to whip up some quick trail mix in no time.
“This shelf-stable snack keeps well in your bag or desk drawer, and requires no utensils,” adds Forman.
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Pack your snacks in these reusable storage bags.
Got a can of chickpeas in your cabinet? You’re already halfway to healthy snack heaven on a hectic day.
“Roasted chickpeas are easy and economical. Just 1/4 cup of these pop-able treats clocks in at six grams of fiber and six grams of plant-based protein that will keep your appetite in check and your blood sugar steady,” says Forman.
Roasting chickpeas is a piece of cake—just drain them, put them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with avocado oil, and sprinkle on salt. Then, pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Boost the flavor with any seasoning you like (such as chili powder or paprika) just before eating.
But if that’s more effort than you have time for (no judgement!), Forman recommends stocking up on Biena’s single-serving roasted chickpea packs in flavors like sea salt, ranch and barbecue for easy snacking. A handful of these guys might stop your stomach from growling when you’ve still got a lot left to do.