Heading back to school is always a time filled with excitement, anxiety, and a little extra hunger. As a teacher, nothing brings up a case of the hungry horrors like returning to school in the fall. Throughout the years (18 to be exact), I’ve discovered some great snacks that keep me full and focused, helping me to be my best teacher and mom self.
I typically buy plain Greek yogurt. Then I add frozen cherries (my favorite frozen fruit), some mini chocolate chips, and a little stevia, agave, or honey to the mix. This is one of my favorite snacks for a few reasons: The cherries thaw throughout the morning and create a nice cherry juice that naturally sweetens the yogurt (sometimes I don’t even add any other sweetener!), and the Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. The chocolate chips make it even more fun, because who doesn’t love chocolate? I usually have this snack early to mid-morning, and it keeps me running until lunchtime. It also doesn’t have a major impact on my blood sugar because the carbohydrates and protein work together.
This is perfect when I just want to grab something and go. I don’t have to think about anything, I don’t have to make anything, and some of the protein bar flavors out there are, as the kids say, fire. My favorites include maple glazed donut One bars (yum!), fudge graham Zone bars, and Bobo’s Oat Bars (banana chocolate chip is my favorite, but they have a lot of great flavors!). I usually have one of these for my afternoon snack. It helps prevent the crash that typically happens when I leave work and return home to my family.
Apple and nut butter
One of my favorite treats for the morning or afternoon is a golden delicious apple and fresh ground, honey-roasted peanut butter. Regular jarred peanut butter or almond butter is good too, but NOTHING is as good as the fresh stuff you can get at many supermarkets now. This snack keeps me full and happy — it’s the perfect mix of carbohydrates and protein, and it helps me keep my mind focused and my body nourished. Bananas are another great option to enjoy with nut butter, but when it’s fall in New England, apples are the better choice for me!
This was one of my favorite breakfast treats when I was pregnant, and I never gave it up! These can be made a few different ways. Sometimes I scramble 10 eggs and mix them with cheese and veggies. Then I pour them into muffin cups and bake them in the oven. Other times, I buy the pre-made sous vide egg bites from Starbucks or Hungryroot and enjoy them for breakfast, snack, or as an addition to my lunch. Egg bites are a great way to satisfy hunger without raising blood sugar, thereby making them a great option for snacking.
I’m not partial to shakes — I tend to enjoy eating my nutrients rather than drinking them — but sometimes a shake is just so darn convenient! I really enjoy Koia premade protein shakes — either chocolate banana or vanilla bean – and I can get them at Target during my weekly trip. If I’m making my own protein shakes at home, I love using the pure chocolate flavor of Olly plant-based protein and mixing it with oat milk (I think oat milk is one of the better dairy alternatives, for those of you who prefer non-dairy). When I blend my own protein shakes, I often throw in some frozen fruit or peanut butter, too! It’s a great way to satisfy a grumbly tummy.
A change in schedule often means a change in hunger for me. While I am not a dietician, I have found, through trial and error, that certain snacks work better for my body and my schedule. Eating these healthy(er) snacks prevents me from looking for a sugar fix when my energy drops and falling victim to the candy bowl in the breakroom. There’s nothing wrong with occasional treats, but I know that balanced snacks leave me feeling better physically and more mentally prepared to take on the days with my students and my family.