5 Snacks Disguised as Meals: Stay Full on the Go for Less than 500 Calories

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., RD, Best Life lead nutritionist

What to eat when you’re stuck in a junk-food-infested office park, stretch of highway, or other nutrition wasteland? Try one of these five meals, all of which contain foods you can keep in your purse, desk drawer, or office fridge, or can be found at a coffee shop. They range from 370 to 480 calories.

trail mix recipe

Oatmeal topped with dried fruit and/or nuts and a 12-ounce nonfat or 1 percent latte

Approximate calories:  370

Nutrition highlights: This dish is rich in calcium and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (from the oats), plus it offers phytonutrients from the coffee, dried nuts and fruits. It’s my go-to at Starbucks and other coffee shops.

Trail mix (2/3 cup)

Approximate calories: 450

Nutrition highlights: Nuts, seeds and dried fruit offer vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats. Make your own to control the ingredients and avoid a sugar rush. Try our Sweet & Nutty Trail Mix.

A can of soup (lentil, black bean or other bean soup) and 100 calories of whole-grain crackers

Approximate calories: 420

Nutrition highlights: Beans offer B vitamins and fiber; the only drawback is the sodium—unless you find the rare brand with no more than 600 mg for the entire can. Make up for it by limiting sodium the rest of the day. Your healthiest bet is to make your own soup, like this Easy Black Bean Soup, and store in one-serving containers to grab and go!

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons), 115 calories of whole-grain crackers, a banana and 20 baby carrots

Approximate calories: 480 calories

Nutrition highlights: You’ll score some healthy fat and protein from the peanut butter, satiating fiber from the crackers, and beta carotene and potassium from the carrots and banana (respectively). No fresh produce available? Have ¼ cup of raisins or other dried fruit.

2 mozzarella sticks, 140 calories of whole-grain crackers, a cup of grapes, and a clementine

Approximate calories:  450

Nutrition highlights: Yes, you have to have the foresight to take fruit with you, but look at the payoff: They help bring this meal up to 7 grams of slimming fiber, more than many “real” meals. Grapes—especially red or purple varieties—contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that fights heart disease by helping keep arteries clear and preventing blood clots.

What’s your go-to on-the-go meal?

Also Read:

35 Quick and Healthy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

The Ultimate Low-Calorie Snack Guide

Be a Portion Control Pro

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