Ask Shaun: Options for healthy, portable snacks?

Q: I am a college student and I often buy something from the vending machine when I get hungry in between classes. What is the best thing to have?

A: Most vending machines contain very few nutritious foods – if any. Many people choose sunflower seeds or peanuts thinking they are having a healthy snack. While nuts and seeds contain valuable vitamins and minerals, they should be eaten in moderation. One cup of sunflower seeds has about 65 grams of fat and one cup of peanuts has about 70 grams of fat. Chocolate, another popular choice, usually contains large amounts of sugar. This adds carbohydrates to your diet without adding any significant vitamins and minerals.

To avoid high fat or high sugar options bring a few pieces of fruit for a convenient and nutritious snack. Fresh fruit is a good source of vitamins and minerals and an excellent substitute for candies or chocolate bars that contain few nutrients. Yogurt is also an excellent portable snack that is high in protein, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. For added protein, go for a greek yogurt!

And don’t forget to experiment: try different combinations of fresh fruits and veggies, along with proteins like yogurt or cheese and healthy grains like oatmeal. Find what works for you and add variety to prevent boredom!

Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer in Vancouver. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800.