We all have the ability to make healthier food choices, and small changes over time will pay off. No one diet works for everyone, so it’s essential to find a healthy, balanced eating plan that makes sense for you and your lifestyle.
Being busy and always on the go, most American’s spend little time enjoying their meals. With multitasking and working lunches as the new normal, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for the quickest meals and snacks with little thought about nutrition. Putting your best fork forward means planning balanced, nutrient packed meals. A little time spent planning ahead can limit overindulgences and reduce your overall intake of calories, fat, and sodium.
Plan your meals to include lean protein sources, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Foods full of protein such as poultry, lean beef, pork, fish, and eggs promote satiety and keep you fueled during a busy day. For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, nut butters, legumes, tempeh, or seitan are excellent protein sources. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are full of fiber and nutrients that also promote feelings of fullness and can limit excessive snacking later. Keep in mind that dinner leftovers make a great lunch for the next day. Limit trips to the vending machine by keep healthier snack on hand such as apples, oranges, baby carrots, yogurt, almonds, or other raw nuts.
Most restaurants have nutritional information posted online, so if dining out is your only option, consider reviewing the menu prior to dining and select lower calorie options.
Here is an easy, tasty recipe for No Bake Go Bars. These are easy to make, very versatile, and are a great option for an on the go breakfast or snack. You can swap out the chocolate for your favorite dry fruit (blueberries are great for a peanut butter and jelly type bar) or you can add a couple scoops of your favorite protein powder to bump up the protein.
NO–BAKE PEANUT BUTTER + CHOCOLATE GO BARS
Versatile and easy to make, these bars are a great option for an on-the-go breakfast or snack. Swap out chocolate for your favorite dried fruit, such as blueberries, for a peanut butter and jelly flavored bar. You can even add a couple scoops of protein powder.
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cup oats
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup unsweetened, dried coconut
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
1. Melt peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil together in a small pot on medium-low heat.
2. Once combined, remove from heat and stir in oats. Fold in the remaining ingredients.
3. Press into 8×8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Chill for at least 2 hours, and then cut into bars.
Casey Provo, MS, RDN is a Research Dietitian with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Endocrinology and UT-Methodist University Hospital General Clinical Research Center.