It seems wise at the time. Anticipating a mid-shift snack attack, you grab a banana or a carton of yogurt and toss it in your bag before leaving for work. When your break rolls around, you feel profoundly disappointed—how boring! Suddenly those chocolate chocolate chip cookies a patient’s mother brought in start to look very appealing….
But wait—there’s a remedy for that. The single-serve packs on these pages from the Fall 2013 issue of Scrubs elevate snacking from mundane to magnificent (or at least very tasty!). With these on hand, you’ll have more interesting, but still healthy options to choose among. And because they all come in moderate-size servings, you circumvent the danger of diving into a big box of crackers or bag of chips and not being able to stop. With these single portions, even the more indulgent picks aren’t so bad.
1. Juice Break There’s a reason chia seeds are the hottest things since sliced bread: plenty of omega-3s, protein and fiber all in a tiny orb. Now you can drink your seeds in an easy-to-stash beverage. Mamma Chia comes in 10 flavor combos. We love the blackberry hibiscus. Go to mammachia.com for stores.
2. Plant a new seed. Thanks to the discovery of their health benefits (loads of antioxidants, fiber and protein), sunflower seeds are experiencing a renaissance. These Somersaults seedy biscuits are a great stand-in for chips or cookies—they come in both sweet and savory flavors, and in one half– and one-ounce sizes. Go to somersaultsnackco.com for stores.
3. Indulge (a little). Popcorn singles are a far cry from the kernels you get at the local movie house. Besides ginger sesame caramel, they come in black truffle + white cheddar, sea salt caramel, and chipotle caramel + almonds. Go to 479popcorn.com for stores.
4. Snap them up. Far be it from us to bad-mouth carrots and celery, but they’re not exactly exciting. Sugar snap peas, on the other hand, are something to look forward to—and a great way to up your daily veggie intake. Available at grocery stores.
5. Be a jerk. Besides being delicious, wild salmon jerky has one over on beef jerky: nutritious omega-3 fatty acids. It also has more protein ounce-for-ounce. Available on amazon.com.
6. Cheese please. Laughing Cow Babybel minis are cute, but at this point they’re a bit of a yawn. Try these Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese Medallions instead. Paired with sliced apples or pears, they make a great snack, even a light lunch. (TJ’s makes baby Brie cheese as well.) Available at Trader Joe’s.
7. Yummmm…hummus! It’s always been a great midday pick-me-up, but only now is hummus showing up in take-along sizes. Trader Joe’s snack packs are our faves because they come with pita chips, but Sabra also makes hummus singles (no chips). Available at Trader Joe’s and on sabra.com for stores, respectively.
8. Go nuts. Peanut, almond and hazelnut butters laced with chocolate, honey, vanilla or maple. Yum! Need we say more? Go to justins.com to order or find stores near you.
9. Super Cereal. It’s nutrient-rich, high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, certified organic, gluten- soy- and dairy-free and deliciously-filling. Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal comes serving-sized, prepacked with its own spoon. Just add cold water and you’re good to go for the rest of your shift. Available in four varieties at vigilant-eats.com.
10. Try freeze dried. Dried fruit is healthy, but the calories can add up (a box of raisins is more than 100 calories, as is a fistful of dried apricots). Freeze-dried fruit, on the other hand, is surprisingly lighter in calories and has a pleasing crunch. You can eat the whole bag with impunity. Available at supermarkets and on crunchiesfood.com.
11. Tired of apples and oranges? You might not take the time to cut up a pineapple, but how easy is it to slip a pineapple cup into your bag? They are pure fruit and juice—no sweeteners added—and weigh in at only 60 calories. Available at grocery stores.
Healthier, Yes, But Can Small Packages Satisfy?
When it comes to achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, there’s no doubt that smaller portions are generally better. But can they be just as satisfying? A new Cornell University study says yes. After testing 104 adults given large and small portions of the same snack, researchers found that even though those who ate the larger portions consumed 77 percent more calories than those who ate the small portions, both groups had the same level of satisfaction. Cut your usual amount in half, advises Brian Wansink, PhD, coauthor of the study, and you’ll likely be happy with less.
The researchers also found that both groups in the study felt significantly less hungry 15 minutes after their snacks, giving credence to some oft-recommended dietary advice: Allow your stomach time to register the food you’ve eaten before you go for seconds. Chances are, you’ll find that you’ve actually had enough.