5 On-the-Go Snack Mixes to Fuel Your Day

By Hayley Mason

Step away from the vending machine. These snack mixes are easy, healthy and just what your body needs to power through the day.

For Pre-Workout Energy
Makes two cups. Serving size is 1/4 cup:
-1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
-1/2 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup dried apricots
-1/4 cup dried cherries
-1/4 cup sunflower seeds

“Pre-workout you want a slow-carb introduction — something that will fuel you throughout your activity,” says Nicolette Pace, registered nutritionist and founder of NutriSource, Inc., Medical Nutrition & Weight Loss Center. Healthy snack mixes let you fit in all the good vitamins and minerals you need, without weighing you down mid-workout. Dried fruit in this mix gives you quick energy, while tree nuts and seeds slow your absorption and prevent a spike (and later, a crash) in blood sugars. Dried cherries in particular are beneficial pre-workout for their anti-inflammatory powers (some arthritic medicines contain similar compounds according to Pace). Zinc-rich pumpkin seeds keep your insulin levels steady while supporting your immune system at the same time. But remember — even if your snack fix is made up of all healthy components, if you consume it in excess, the healthy factor kind of becomes moot.

And Post-Workout Repair
Makes two cups. Serving size is 1/4 cup:
-1/4 cup raisins
-1/4 cup green lentils (baked)
-1/4 cup red lentils (baked)
-1/2 cup banana chips
-1/4 cup shredded coconut
-1/2 cup almonds

When you’re working out, you’re tearing and stretching your muscles and pushing your body. Post-workout you want to choose a snack mix that will replace your energy and replenish your muscles. Pace created this snack mix with protein-rich ingredients in mind. Lentils are chock-full of protein and iron, while the dried fruit provides energy, and fiber-rich almonds slow your sugar absorption so your blood sugar doesn’t spike, says Pace. (To make baked lentils, soak them in water for 24 hours beforehand, then boil them on medium-high heat for about five minutes until they are firm. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees F, take them out and stir, then bake another ten minutes until the lentils are crunchy.) The coconut serves as a healthy fat, which is essential to keeping joints lubricated. Banana chips provide a powerhouse of potassium (without having to worry about where to toss your peel in the car).

When You’re Crashing at 3 PM
Makes two cups. Serving size is 1/2 cup:
-1/4 cup pistachios
-1/4 cup hazelnuts
-1/4 cup walnuts
-1/4 cup pecans
-1/4 cup dried goji berries
-1/4 cup dried cranberries
-1/4 cup dried blueberries
-1/4 cup raisins

When 3 pm rolls around, I’m usually well into my post-lunch lull and starting to lose interest in what I’m working on. I tend to polish off a bag of gummy bears, work through the following sugar burst and finish everything up right as I’m heading toward the subsequent crash. Pace’s super food mix gives you a burst of energy through the concentrated glucose in dried fruit instead, balancing the rate of absorption through the healthy fats in tree nuts like walnuts and hazelnuts, so there’s no post-snack crash.

Take on Your Commute
On-the-Go Breakfast Bites (serves 3-4 people):
-1/2 cup almond butter
-1 cup dry rolled oats
-1/4 cup ground flax seed
-1/4 cup chia seeds
-1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
-1/4 cup honey or agave

1. Mix all the ingredients together
2. Refrigerate for about an hour
3. Roll the mixture to shape into balls
4. Freeze on wax paper, and they are ready to eat

Breakfast is often an afterthought for me. When I have few precious moments left in my morning routine, I usually favor touching up my hair or makeup to trying to pull breakfast together and eating it before I need to be out the door. But these simple breakfast bites created by Cohen seem perfectly doable. Plus, three to four servings could last me almost the whole week. For a breakfast to be beneficial, you want a good mix of high fiber and protein, plus a little bit of sugar for energy, says Cohen. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady and release energy throughout the day. Protein-rich almond butter, high-fiber seeds and fruit sugar (fructose) in the form of honey or agave check off all those requirements, while a little bit of dark chocolate adds just enough flavor.

When You Feel a Cold Coming On
Makes two servings:
-2 tablespoons dried blueberries
-2 tablespoons dried goji berries
-2 tablespoons Brazil nuts
-1 tablespoon pine nuts

When you’re starting to come down with something icky, it’s best to load up on antioxidant-rich foods. Rather than downing a packet of Emergen-C, try a snack mix that contains the super fruit goji berries. Loaded with folic acid, fiber and vitamin C, goji berries offer the nutritional benefits of multiple fruits combined. But your body will absorb more of the vitamins when you consume it with other fruits, says certified nutritionist, personal trainer and exercise physiologist Franci Cohen — which is why we’ve paired this nutrient powerhouse with antioxidant-rich blueberries. Brazil nuts seal the deal with another immune-boosting punch.

Photos: Total Beauty