Say hello to our incredible friend, Alana Fravell! 🌟 This powerhouse is on a mission to uplift her community and guide them towards living their most vibrant lives through nutrition. We just had to bring her into the spotlight to share her jaw-dropping strategies that'll have all you fantastic moms out there not only staying on the wellness train but soaring right back on track after soaking up that glorious summer sun.
Big gratitude to you, Alana, for stepping up as our guest blogger and bringing your A-game to the table! Your wisdom is about to ignite some serious snack transformations, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Let's dive in, shall we? 💃🍏...
It is back to school season, your to-do list just grew, right? Nutrition is often one of the first things to go when life gets busy. We think, “I’ll just grab something while I’m out.” Just one delivery or grocery store run or can ensure you have healthy snacks to fuel yourself! Women and moms usually do not put themselves first, but here are a few reasons why you might make healthy snacking a priority:
- Lack of quality, nutritionally dense foods available at grab-n-go places
- Save some money, snacks at gas stations, concessions, and convenient stores are not cheap
- Keeping blood sugar balanced for the extra energy required when taking on additional tasks with back to school season
- Dietary restrictions / food sensitivities - you can’t just get what you need while you’re out
- You get hangry, and don’t want to ruin a day by being grouchy
- You save time by NOT hunting for nutritious, satisfying, filling foods
- Feeding yourself well is a form of self care. When you take care of yourself, you can show up better for your family, your community, and you.
You might think those things make sense but, “I’ll just get through this week or two.” How many times has a week or two of not-so-great food choices lead to “falling off the wagon.” Before you know it, the holiday season creeps in and you become even more “flexible” with food choices and you find yourself uncomfortable in your clothes, with an achy body, and an internal battle of what you “should” and “should not” eat. I also hear lots of families talk about not having enough time. Going through the fast food line takes time, ordering Door Dash takes time, agonizing about what to eat takes time and mental space. Ultimately, you get to decide how you will spend your time.
Why healthy snacking really matters:
Properly fueling your body goes a long way towards managing your energy. Who doesn’t want more energy and stamina? Most convenient foods are high in fats and sugars. These foods make us feel good for a while, but we often feel a slump later. High-sugar / highly processed foods can cause inflammation, lead to brain fog, and offer virtually no nutrition. Keep your body functioning at optimal levels by eating quality protein, vegetables, and small quantities of complex carbohydrates. Did you know, it is recommended that women eat no more than 24g of sugar a day and for men it is around 36g? Sugar is one of the main ingredients you’ll want to check for in packaged food. Even snacks that are branded with healthy can be loaded with sugar and added artificial sweeteners.
Here’s how to be prepared to take care of yourself with food on the go:
Don’t go hungry! Be prepared. Pack a snack bag. Make selections that are catered to your food sensitivities and preferences.You don’t have to share this stash with the kiddos if you don’t want to. Don’t chance it while you’re out and about. How many times do practices run late, or you have to pick up another kid for carpool? Chaotic schedules can lead to desperate options when you feel those hunger pangs coming. Have healthy snacks on hand to fuel yourself. For me, it feels empowering when I know I’ve made food choices that are adding to my health and nourishing me.
You could pack a snack bag for the week or do it daily. I recommend keeping some options in as many places as you can. Your car, at work, purse, gym bag, etc. Let's say you forget your bag or run out of items. I like to keep a mental map of where the grocery stores are in the areas on my schedule for the week. You can always run in and grab something simple like a piece of fruit and a bag of jerky. I challenge you to run into a grocery store before you run into a gas station or drive through fast food. You might find jerky or nuts at a gas station but they’re likely to contain inflammatory seed oils and added sugar.
Here’s where to shop for healthy snacks:
I like to make a trip to somewhere like Whole Foods or Target once or twice a month because I know they have lots of gluten-free / dairy-free options. I still like to shop in stores, but you could always instacart if that's your jam. Sites like Thrive Market have a plethora of clean-eating snacks. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK ALL INGREDIENTS. I recently picked up some banana chips that had gluten in them, who would have thought? Anaphylaxis is not an activity anyone wants to participate in while trying to get the kids to practice on time.
Sample Snack Shopping List
Jerky or meat snack sticks, I like Talmock or Chomps because they don’t add sugar.
If you have a sweet tooth pick something sweet like Boom kettle style - has far less sugar than candy or cookies.
Unsweetened dried coconut flakes
If you’re a crunchy person, choose something salty like regular potato chips. Many of us do not get enough sodium in our diet. Often when we think we’re hungry, we just need a little bit of salt. Try to find ones that are cooked in avocado oil or olive oil. Most chips are fried with inflammatory oils.
Flavored sparkling water - clean drink options at convenience stores can be limited - keep some low / no sugar refreshing beverages on hand. A sugar bomb soda from the concession stand is not going to do anything positive for you.
Nuts are the perfect balanced snack! Carb + protein. Look for raw or dry roasted to avoid seed oils. You can also toast raw nuts yourself in the oven with some coconut oil. I like to add seasoning blends to make them more enticing.
Bars! Another well-balanced snack - make sure you pick some up with protein and watch for artificial sweeteners. I like larabars or kind bars.
High-Quality dark chocolate is a way to indulge a little without regret. Pick ones with as few ingredients as possible.
Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re thirsty. Water can “trick” your system into feeling full, but you have to chug at least 16-20oz. The weight of the water can send signals to your brain that you are full.
No sugar added dried or dehydrated fruits are good in a pinch. Be sure to pair with some protein to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Flackers are a fun “cracker” type snack, great for dipping. They’re basically compressed flax seeds in a cracker shape. They have protein, win!
Keep pre-portioned protein shakes or a product like The Roasted Purpose protein coffee on hand. All you need is a blender bottle or mason jar and you’ve got a quality meal on hand.
Prepackaged or pre-proportioned nut butter. These days you can find sweet and savory options. Be sure to check for added oils like palm or sunflower oil which can cause inflammation.
These selections are items you can buy off the shelf, don’t require refrigeration, and they’re ready to go! Once the back to school frenzy settles down, consider adding in a few fresh options. Pack them in a cooler bag.
Chop apples for dipping in nut butter. Or, buy berries you can simply dip.
Prep some veggies for dipping in hummus, guac, or homemade mayo. Good fats are good for you.
Batch cook a bunch of chicken on a sheet pan. Chop in small, bite size pieces. I freeze half, and keep the other half to eat throughout the week. Most women do not get enough protein! It can leave you feeling lethargic.
Lunch meat is always a debatable option. No matter what, it is still going to be better for you than whatever you can get in a drive through. Pick organic ones without nitrates.
Kombucha is a great low-caffeine, low-sugar energy booster - plus it is good for your gut! I find it helps an upset stomach. Use this instead of your Diet Coke or Starbucks fix.
Remember, you can’t take care of your people if you don’t take care of you first!
Are you going to pack snacks for your week? Tag me on the gram.
Alana Fravell is driven to help her community live their best lives. You can find her on her blog and sharing knowledge about healthy cooking, mocktails, low-tox lifestyle, connecting with nature, and self care. She says she believes we all deserve to live a life of quality and can do that by being intentional about how we care for ourselves and spend our time. She guides others regarding how to simplify, scale back and grow in healthy, meaningful ways. Check out her upcoming virtual and in person workshops, connect to the community at alanafravell.com.