When life is nuts, crush ‘em and spread ‘em on bread!

Most guys moonlight in one form or another, with these second jobs taking many forms: As a chauffeur driving the kids to hockey practice, as a personal assistant running household errands, as a mechanic putting air in car tires, as a chef making dinner for the brood, as a handyman fixing leaky eavestroughs…you get the idea. More work, NO pay! The question is: What would they do without us?

All this extra labour requires extra energy, of course, and since the work has to happen before dinner that energy usually comes from snacking. As we rush to hockey practice, to the service station and so on, we tend to grab something quick and easy. Trouble is, when it comes to snacks, quick and easy often means salty, sugary and full of fat. Potato chips, doughnuts, cookies, candy bars…basically, the kinds of unhealthy foods that are sold at service stations and arena snack bars.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, there are plenty of tasty and easy-to-prepare options that are also good for you. What healthy snacks give you energy and fit seamlessly into your unpaid moonlighting shift? What healthy snacks fill you up? Here are three awesome ideas:

 

Peanut butter and banana sandwich

This delicious childhood classic is child’s play to prepare, but it provides a grown-up dose of nutrients. Let’s start with whole wheat bread: It contains plant sterols, which help keep your cholesterol levels in check, along with plenty of digestion-aiding fibre.

The peanut butter tastes amazing, of course, and is packed with protein, fibre, Vitamin E — which helps protect your body’s cells from damage — and folate, which helps keep the blood vessels and heart healthy.

Then there’s the tender sliced banana on top, which is rich in fibre and heart-helping potassium.

 

Tzatziki with whole wheat pita bread

You can find tzatziki at most supermarkets, or you can whip up the creamy Greek dip yourself by following this quick and easy recipe. With a two-tablespoon serving containing nearly 10 percent of the muscle-building protein you need in a day, along with a healthy portion of bone-strengthening calcium, tzatziki must have been a favourite of Hercules, the super-strong hero of Greek myth.

You can continue the Greek theme by tearing off chunks of whole-wheat pita bread and dunking it in the tzatziki. That way, you get a healthy dose of fibre and iron to boot. So go ahead: Rip, dip, chew, yell “opa!” and repeat…

 

Whole-grain crackers with ricotta cheese

If you crave something creamy and crunchy, this healthy combo is as good as it gets. Whole-grain oat, rice, corn and quinoa crackers have many nutritional advantages over whole-wheat crackers (and breads for that matter), as they are higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Plus, research shows that people who eat more whole grains may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Creamy and spreadable ricotta cheese, meanwhile, has many nutritional advantages over cream cheese. It’s higher in calcium and protein — both of which are already plentiful in cream cheese — and lower in fat and calories.

In case this combination proves to be too delicious, here’s one final tip: Carry a solid serving of crackers in a resealable plastic bag or container instead of in the box. After all, this combo tastes so good that you risk emptying the box — and spoiling your dinner — once you start spreading.

 

This blog is part of our healthy snack series:

 

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About the Author

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader's Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN.com and DontChangeMuch.ca.

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