Budget Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss for Students and Busy Professionals
Jaime A. Heidel
Feb 20, 2011
The kids missed the bus so you drove them to school and now you’re running late for work. You couldn’t even think about breakfast this morning and now you’re trapped in an hour-long meeting with nothing to quell a growling stomach but high-calorie donuts and cream-cheese covered bagels.
A burn-the-candle-at-both ends schedule makes it difficult to stick to any weight-loss routine. However, even those on the go can find snacks that fit both their get-healthy goal and their tightening budget. Let’s check them out!
1 – Nuts
Nuts are a great budget-friendly snack that can help you lose weight by stabilizing blood sugar and providing a protein boost. Instead of mixed nuts, which are often laden with an unnecessary amount of oil and fat, choose a one-pound bag of raw almonds, walnuts or pecans and put them in small snack bags to leave in your purse.
That way, the lazy dieter can be armed and ready whenever hunger strikes and they’re tempted to visit the snack machine. Include raisins, cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, a drop of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt for more taste-bud pleasing variety!
2 – String Cheese
Most people think of cheese as a diet no-no but it can actually help you lose weight! One serving of string cheese contains only eighty calories and is loaded with usable protein and nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A and B12.
Those concerned with its high fat content can opt for a string cheese made with skim instead of whole milk. This budget-friendly portable food is perfect way for the busy professional to save both waistline and wallet!
3 – Almond Butter & Crackers
Almond butter can offer a delightful new twist to those still burnt out on childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Though the caloric-content may seem high to some wary dieters (190 calories per two tablespoon serving), a little bit goes a long way.
Spreading some on low-fat crackers and keeping them handy can stave off on-the-go hunger pangs and have you easily cruising past that fast food restaurant on the way home to a sensible dinner. This protein-rich food is high in nutrients, especially vitamin E and contains no harmful additives.
Concerned about cost? Check local grocers for dispensers that allow purchase by the ounce, instead of buying the usual one-pound jar.
4 – Apples
Since the dawn of man, apples have been the perfect portable food. At only about 65-80 calories per serving, these delicious health gems come in a wide variety of flavors from succulent and sweet to tart and tangy. Great for the student to eat alone on the way to class or cut up and dip in nut butter for a sweet treat.
According to a Brazilian study, women who ate three apples per day were noted to have had lower blood glucose levels and lost more weight than those who ate oat cookies. Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, apples pack a healthful punch that is easy on both budget and figure.
For the best health benefits and the most bang for your buck, buy a three-five pound bag of organic apples and eat one daily.
5 – Yogurt
Yogurt is a great budget-friendly snack that promotes healthy digestion and weight loss. Loaded with friendly bacteria called probiotics, yogurt helps crowd out bacteria in the intestines and helps the body better digest and absorb nutrients.
Those who suffer from irregularity may find it especially difficult to lose weight if waste matter often remains in the intestines. The probiotics in yogurt help to regulate this problem by encouraging more regular waste removal.
For added nutritional and weight-loss benefit, add milled flax seed. Flax seed is high in dietary fiber and loaded with essential omega 3 fatty acids that decrease inflammation.
At under a dollar per serving, yogurt is an inexpensive way for the lazy person to eat their way to a slimmer waistline!
6 – Protein Bars
Protein bars can be effective weight-loss tools and are a great choice for the busy professional with no time for lunch before that 1-o’clock meeting. Preservative and additive-free raw food protein bars are an excellent choice because they deliver needed nutrients the body can easily assimilate and turn into fuel.
Two examples of raw food bars that do not contain harmful additives are Larabars and Raw Revolution bars. Both contain a combination of only nuts, fruits, chocolate (in some) and fruit juice and/or agave nectar. Another bonus? They’re both gluten free! For added savings, visit a favorite health food or retail grocery outlet and purchase them in bulk.
7 – Bananas
Bananas are one of the world’s most perfect foods. Not only do they come in their own portable carrying case, they are chock-full of nutrients such as tryptophan (a natural mood stabilizer), iron, fiber and potassium.
These extremely budget-friendly fruits usually cost under a dollar per pound (even the organic varieties) and are an excellent on-the-go snack that can be eaten anytime, anywhere. Peel and dip the banana in nut butter and granola for added variety!
8 – Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are perfect for the lazy person who just doesn’t have the energy to prepare a nutritious meal. Though some may be tempted to pick up commercial canned varieties, you can save a lot of money and get much better weight-loss health benefits by making them at home.
Start by pouring six ounces of low-fat cow, almond or rice milk into a blender, add a tablespoon of almond butter (95 calories), a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream (151 calories), a handful of blueberries or a small banana and blend for thirty seconds. Then, pour it in a thermos and go. This is only one suggestion. Modify this recipe based on your own dietary needs and preferences to create the perfect, portable weight-loss shake for you!
9 – Hard-Boiled Eggs
A hard-boiled egg contains less than 80 calories and contains a healthy combination of protein, eye-strengthening lutein, all nine essential amino acids, choline to regulate the nervous system, vitamin D and B12. Eggs contain 5 grams of fat but only 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat, making them a good choice for energy the body can use without adding pounds.
Hard-boiled eggs are budget-friendly too. Even at four dollars a carton for the organic variety, one hard-boiled egg is only a thirty-cent snack! Boil four to six eggs at a time and store them in the refrigerator. When hunger strikes, simply peel, sprinkle with salt and eat!
10 – Vegetables and Hummus
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas that has recently made its way to health-conscious household tables across America. At 70 calories per two-tablespoon serving, this dip is a perfect snack food for the budget-conscious college student and can enliven the taste of just about any vegetable.
Save a bit more money by fixing hummus at home using chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, sesame seeds and choice spices. There are countless recipes to be found online. Hummus is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which aids in weight-loss by stabilizing blood sugar. Like bananas, hummus is also a good source of tryptophan, the pre-curser to serotonin that helps balance mood.
When life is hectic, there’s hardly any time to slow down and enjoy a good, nutritious meal. Whether you’re abusy professional, a stressed-out student or just a lazy dieter, these ten easy, budget-friendly snacks can help you attain your weight-loss goals and keep you one step ahead of the diet game!
(Jaime has a passion for holistic and natural healing. Her website aims to validate those suffering from mystery symptoms, get to the root cause of disease and illness and help people heal naturally.)