Snacks, they are loved, or they are hated. They tend to spoil your dinner, add extra calories to your day, and worst of all, most of them come in a box, bag, or wrapper (a sure sign that the food is processed and far removed from its natural, most nutritious state!)
Crackers, Chips, Candy, but even granola bars, fruit snacks and microwaved popcorn tend to contain unwanted, processed ingredients. Next time you are at a grocery store, look at the ingredient list of popular granola bars or snack crackers. You are sure to find high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, maltodextrin, guar gum, monosodium glutamate, and other highly processed ingredients! Hunger can strike at any moment, and if you aren’t adequately prepared, you might rely on vending machine snacks, or drive-up options. But there can be a place for healthy snacks in your diet! Eating a natural, balanced snack can help keep cravings at bay and prevent you from overeating later. It’s all about being prepared and having the right foods on hand! Here are a few healthier snack options to make snacking fit your healthy lifestyle.
Portable, peel-able fruit
Fruit is nature’s quick pick-me-up. They contain natural sugars to help boost your energy, water and fiber to fill you up and keep your blood sugar stable, but also many important nutrients. Fruit has some of the highest levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, phytochemicals and other amazing compounds which can do everything from support your immune system, to turn on genes that promote longevity! Keep a quick, peel-able fruit in your car, gym bag, or purse. Since it has a peel, you don’t have to worry about being near a sink to wash it (or your hands!) Bananas, oranges, tangerines, and clementines are some great healthy snacks! And the best part about them? They come in their own, decomposable casing, so they are waste-free!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are the perfect portable snack, they are shelf stable for months, they are highly nutritious, and extremely filling! Pistachios, cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds are delicious lightly roasted with a little salt. You can also try adding your own spices and flavors like curry powder, or cinnamon and nutmeg, to make them more interesting. Nut butters can be great stored in a mason jar with a few veggies for dipping and brought along to work or school. Homemade trail mix can be a very healthful option, as long as you choose the right mix-ins! Seeds, nuts, and a few pieces of dried fruit are a great healthy snacks; avoid anything that contains sugar coated nuts, candies, or cereals.
If you have a cooler, or bag with an icepack you can expand your options for natural snacks even further. Hard boiled eggs are the perfect snack food! Rich in healthy fats, protein and many vitamins, they can be easily boiled a week in advance for convenient whole-food snacking! Plain Greek yogurt is also packed with protein to help ward of hunger! Add your own mix-ins like fruit, honey, nuts and seeds to avoid artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and excess sugar found in most flavored varieties. Hummus must be refrigerated but can be stored in a mason jar with vegetables for quick snacking as well.
If you are looking for something a little more fancy, (and delicious!) here are two recipes that contain natural, whole food ingredients and none of the unwanted ingredients that are found in most store-bought snack foods.
Our recipes for healthy snacks: