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My 6 Favorite Over-the-Counter Health Foods

As a holistic health counselor, I am always trying to pre-pack my lunches or snacks when I know I’ll be on-the-go. It’s always healthier and generally cheaper than trying to find nutritious options in a local deli or grocery store. But like most people, I’ll often find myself out and about without my pre-packed snacks by my side. And that’s when I turn to my go-to, tried-and-tested, over-the-counter health food products! Here are some of my favorite foods that I grab when I find myself hungry and far from home:

1) Avocados: Avocados are filling, nutritious, and delicious. They have monounsaturated fat (the good kind) that actually helps lower cholesterol. And they also contain beta-sitosterol, a natural substance shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. I like to halve them and spread their buttery flesh on crackers or sandwiches, chop some into my salad, or simply slice them and place on a plate with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.

2) Trail mix: Generally available at almost any bodega, trail mix has been a life saver for me many times. Packed with protein and healthy fats, it can keep you satiated for hours. Be sure to pick up the “raw,” unroasted kind with no sugar added.

3) Coconut water: When I’m craving a cool, sweet beverage and want a healthy treat, I turn to coconut water. It’s filled with potassium and electrolytes, making this drink a great choice for a post-workout pick-me-up or a morning-after hangover.

4) Canned fish: I’m obsessed with canned fish these days. Since tuna has mercury concerns (and is being over-fished in general), I now turn to canned mackerel, sardines, and wild salmon. All of those fishes are delicious, eco-friendly, and packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

5) Canned beans: Cheap and chock full of tasty, plant-based protein, canned beans are one of the best easy health foods out there. Add them to salads, sprinkle some over your stir-fry, and mix them into your grains. Choose organic if available.

6) Healthy food bars: Not all food bars are created equal. In fact, most are candy bars in disguise! That being said, there are several companies producing healthy bars that are made with high-quality, real food. Look for ingredient lists that are short and pronounceable, with no added sugar. Some of my favorites: Lara Bars, Organic Food Bars, Organic Cliff Nectar, and Organic Greens Plus.