On long school days, when you’re running between classes, after-school basketball practice, piano lessons, homework and more, it’s important to always have snacks on hand. The problem with snacking is that it’s so easy (and tempting) to grab a muffin, bagel, or unhealthy granola bar when the hunger hits in the middle of the day. I’ve been known to grab a piece of dark chocolate and dip it in almond butter simply because there was nothing else readily available. Not one of my finer moments, ok? To figure out how a busy teen girl is supposed to keep snacking healthy, without going hungry, we talked to Emma Johansson (whom you might know from her Youtube Channel!) about her snacking habits, and how she maintains a healthy diet on-the-go.
So, what exactly is a healthy snack? Emma defines it as being “something that’s easy to prepare, is natural, and doesn’t make me feel bad afterwards”. That pretty much sums it up! Here at Zenzy, we believe healthy snacks consist of few whole, natural ingredients, that are high in protein, fiber and nutrients. They are meant to fuel your brain, give your body energy, and keep you feeling full for longer. While it’s easy to grab a snack off the shelf at the local grocery store or bodega, nothing beats a healthy snack prepared at home. We always look for snacks that have as few ingredients as possible, and include whole, healthy foods. Stay away from processed foods with ingredient names you can’t pronounce— these are usually gross chemicals, or sweeteners!
Emma prefers to eat three regular meals throughout the day, with two snacks in between, and it has been shown that this is the most health-conscious way of eating throughout the day! Most teen girls need to eat every three to four hours to feel satisfied, and keep your body and brain energized throughout the day. This means eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, with two healthy snacks in between— one midmorning snack, and another between lunch and dinner. Emma usually has her first snack around 11am, and her second snack around 3pm, which is great timing! This might line up with a snack before math class (we need all the energy we can get to understand those formulas), and another before basketball practice, to keep your energy levels up and prepare you for the activity ahead!
The challenge with healthy snacks, is that they need to be easy to prepare, and even easier to throw in your backpack and bring them along on your action-packed days. That’s why Emma likes to bring whole fruits to school, such as bananas and apples, since they’re “super easy [to grab], really healthy, and give [her] energy between classes”! Her snacking “must-have” is a banana, since they’re easy to transport, and packed with nutrients and energy! If she’s on the go, she’ll grab a vegan protein bar. At Zenzy, we prefer bars that have as few ingredients as possible, with names that you can pronounce and recognize. That’s why we always recommend Lara Bars, as they’re filled with whole, healthful ingredients like cashews and dates.
If Emma is at home and has a little more time to prepare a snack, her go-to is “oatmeal, with cinnamon, bananas and oat milk”. This is a great combination, is it will keep you full, while the bananas provide the nutrients you need, and cinnamon helps cleanse your system. That’s why, when Emma goes to the grocery store with her mom, she’s always sure to grab rolled oats, bananas, and a non-dairy milk, like almond or oat milk.
Emma’s final advice to busy girls who are trying to stay healthy on the go? “Always bring water, fruits and nuts with you!” The fruit will provide essential nutrients, the nuts are high in protein and fats, and water is always a must. Below we’ve listed ten easy, healthy snack ideas that you can buy, or prepare at home, and bring with you wherever you go.
COVER IMAGE: Pinterest