As the lazy days of summer wind down, the back-to-school shuffle starts. Homework, fall sports and extracurricular activities are enough to interrupt even the best healthy meal intentions.

At New Jersey Bariatric Center we understand the challenges of eating on-the-go, so we’ve put together part one of a 3 part series on effective ways to tackle the demands of the back to school routine while staying on track with your health goals. 

Don’t Leave Home Empty-Handed

One of our most consistent pieces of advice is don’t leave home empty-handed. Pack a few healthy snacks for yourself and your family and you’ll be prepared with healthy choices regardless of what the day throws your way. 

  1. Jerky: Low-sugar meat sticks and beef jerky are non-perishable and a great way to get some protein on-the-go. Chomps, Archer Farms and Epic are a few good brands to consider. 
  2. Protein Snacks + Shakes: Consider these when you need a snack or meal replacement. Bariatric patients should look for bars and shakes with at least 15 grams of protein and less than10 grams of total carbohydrates per serving. Even kids can grab a shake or bar. Brands like Orgain, Zbar and Perfect Kids offer kid-friendly and convenient options. 
  3. Nuts and Seeds: Snack sized bags of nuts and seeds pack a lot of nutrition into a small serving. Aim for a serving size of ¼-⅓ of a cup to get all the benefits of healthy fat, fiber and protein without going overboard on calories. Lightly salted or seasoned nuts are also good options, just avoid varieties with added sugar. 
  4. High Protein Dairy: A small, insulated lunch bag with reusable ice packs can be a great way to increase the variety of on-the-go healthy options. Low fat yogurt, single-serve cheeses and hard boiled eggs are some great sources of protein. 
  5. Homemade Cracker Sandwiches: Make some DIY peanut butter crackers that taste (almost) too good to be healthy. Look for crackers made with ingredients like almond flour, cauliflower or seeds for a lower carb alternative to traditional options made from refined flour. Some brands to try are Simple Mills, From the Ground Up and Flackers. Stick with one serving of crackers (or less) and spread with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut, almond or sunflower butter for a crunchy and satisfying snack. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series on healthy fast food options for those hectic weeknights when you’re on-the-go. 

For more information on healthy snacking and staying on track, make an appointment to see your dietitian at 908-481-1270.