11 Healthy Foods to Grab on a Busy Day

When you’re hungry, be prepared with nutritious ideas that are simple to prepare, good for you, and keep you energized for hours.


Many of us are starting the year inspired to tackle our goals for 2020, but most New Year’s resolutions fail by February. That’s why, at Thrive, we focus on specific, too-small-to-fail Microsteps to help us stay consistent in our habits. One easy Microstep that can help you improve your eating habits is to pack a healthy food in your bag each morning, so you’re not tempted to grab something processed and non-nutritious when you need some fuel. 

We asked our Thrive community to share their favorite stress-free healthy options to bring to work, and we were so inspired by the ideas they shared. Which of these will you pack in your bag this year?

An apple with almonds

“My on-the-go food is an apple and a handful of almonds. It’s an easy option to grab when you’re on the road, and I find that having the fruit and protein mix sustains me until dinner!”

—Kristen Lampert, HR strategy consultant, Charlotte, NC

A healthier cheese plate in a Mason jar

“To keep energized all day, I fill a Mason jar with small cubes of cheese, grapes, and tiny rice crackers. I pack them in layers, putting the grapes on the bottom, then stacking the cheese and crackers. It’s packed with protein and vitamins — and it’s environmentally friendly! Using glass reduces waste and is more sanitary than plastic.”

—Marsha Kelly, marketing, Long Island, NY

A sweet and salty trail mix

“I make my own healthy trail mix with goodies from the local bulk store. I use raw cashews, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, raw almonds, and some raw cacao. It is so yummy, and gives me the energy I need to get through my day.”

—Carrie McEachran, executive director, Sarnia, ON 

Chopped veggies and hummus

“I have Celiac Disease, so I need to be conscious of what I eat.  My favorite healthy option is veggies with hummus. It’s easy to chop up the veggies in advance, and the hummus gives me that extra boost of protein and fat that keeps me full until my next meal.”

—Kathryn Djordjevic, pharmacist, Toronto, Canada

Popcorn and a banana

“I pack a banana and a one-ounce bag of Smartfood popcorn. It’s a filling snack, and satisfies both sweet and savory, and goes well with some water. If low-carb is more your preference, you can substitute the bag of popcorn with a stick of healthy turkey jerky.”

—Darren Paltrowitz, writer, researcher, and podcaster, Long Beach, NY

Mixed nuts

“Perhaps because it’s the closest thing in my cupboard to a hunter-gatherer snack, I can’t find anything better to enjoy on the go than a handful of unsalted mixed nuts. They’re healthy, and quells my hunger for hours.”

—Lynne Everatt, author of Acts of Friendship, Toronto, Canada

Roasted chickpeas

“Although I would enjoy the immediate satisfaction of a candy bar when the mid-afternoon hunger creeps up, I know that it will lead to an energy slump and unnecessary calories. Instead, I reach for a handful of unsalted roasted chickpeas or a spoonful of peanut butter. It’s easy to store these snacks at the office, so I can grab a quick bite between meetings!” 

—Ami Patel, non-profit professional, Philadelphia, PA

Cherries and parmesan cheese

“My absolute favorite is an ounce of parmesan cheese and some fresh cherries. I plate it up and savor every morsel!”

—Kristen Lampert, HR strategy consultant, Charlotte, NC

A homemade granola bar

“I have a few healthy foods that I like to bring with me when my day is busy and I can’t stop for a meal. I like to make homemade granola bars, but KIND bars are great, too. I also like trail mix with nuts and raisins. I skip chocolate because I find it increases my cravings.”

—Janet Fanaki, creator of Resilient People, Toronto, Canada

Baby carrots and raw almonds

“I go skiing pretty often during the winter months, which is a high-energy activity. I keep up my energy by packing raw almonds and baby carrots. Almonds are packed with energy from fat and protein. Carrots bring the carbs, and have water in them. These two simple snacks deliver a power punch of energy, and they are easy to carry in your pocket.”

—Francine Tone, attorney and business strategist, Truckee, CA

Veggies, nuts, and dark chocolate

“As a personal trainer, I have had many conversations with clients about the best options to fuel and satisfy the body. I suggest a morning snack that includes veggies, an afternoon snack that includes nuts, and in the evening, some dark chocolate. In terms of portion sizes, I suggest keeping it small. It will fuel your body and satisfy your cravings.”

—Trish Tonaj, C.P.T., coach, author, and speaker, Toronto, Canada 

Do you have a go-to food that is healthy and simple to make? Share it with us in the comments!

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