Little twinges of hunger can strike at nearly any point during the day, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a snack between meals to maintain energy and keep that nagging hunger at bay.
Unfortunately though, most of the “quick fix” foods we have available to us today are filled with empty calories, excess sodium, high fructose corn syrup… and basically none of the things that your body actually needs out of a snack!
Because a key part of snacking is convenience, it’s so much easier to reach for those corner-store treats or processed, pre-packaged foods that will stave off hunger, but do very little for providing you with nutrition.
So, for healthier snacks, we’re looking for three important qualities:
- Convenience (like any other snack)
- Something light and not processed
- Small portions to hold us over until dinner
And here are a few simple ideas for achieving all three:
- A piece of fruit slathered with almond or cashew butter
- A snack plate with almonds, dark chocolate, and fruit
- Hummus with veggies
- Salsa and Mary’s Gone Crackers, tortilla chips, or sprouted corn chips
- Avocado on gluten free bread, sprinkled with lime juice and sea salt
- Popcorn made on the stovetop with coconut oil with sea salt
Snacks can do more than just curb hunger, too. A healthy snack will provide you with the energy to get through that afternoon slump – that 3pm sluggishness that’s difficult to overcome. If you need a boost to get through the afternoon, a good snack is the way to go! Coffee and sugar may help in the moment, but as soon as they wear off, you’ll crash.
Instead, look for snack that combines protein and fiber – the dynamic duo of nutrition that will help keep you sharp when that afternoon slump hits. Protein is satiating and helps you become more focused, while fiber slows down digestion and prevents spikes in blood sugar, keeping your hunger at bay longer.
Sometimes having healthy snacks is simply a matter of doing a little bit of preparation beforehand. I’ve collected recipes for some of my favorite snacks below – just take some time over the weekend for some prep, and you’ll have a healthy, delicious snack ready to go all week!
These can be portioned out to bring to school or work, stored in the break room, or left at home for when you need something on your way out the door.
- Roasted Chickpeas
This ultimate snack is easy to make, and is full of protein to maintain healthy body tissues, fiber to keep your colon healthy, and rich in vitamins and minerals, such as manganese and folate that support bone development and wound healing, as well as boost your metabolism.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 can of organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Sea salt
- Cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Rinse chickpeas under cold water
- Lay chickpeas on a towel, then pat very dry using an additional paper towel
- Once completely dry, pour into a medium bowl
- Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mix through – the chickpeas should be just very lightly coated
- Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper until evenly coated
- Spread evenly onto a baking sheet
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so
- Take out of the oven and pour back into the medium bowl
- Drizzle with the additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and add any additional sea salt or pepper to taste
If, after 30-35 minutes, your chickpeas are still soft in the middle, turn the oven off and keep the baking sheet in the oven, checking every 5 minutes until done. This may occur if your chickpeas were not dried thoroughly or if they are too crowded on the baking sheet.
- Turmeric Cashews with Toasted Coconut
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent that treats jaundice, flatulence, menstrual pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. It can also improve liver function and provide cardiovascular health.
Cashews are packed with vitamins E, K, and B6, as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, and others. These delicious nuts help improve cognitive ability, lower blood pressure, provide bone strength, and actually contain ZERO cholesterol!
Coconuts are also extremely healthy. They are high in fiber, provide quick energy, help with digestive function, and improve heart health (among other benefits).
Combine these health foods into a fantastic snack!
- 2 cups cashews
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- A pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a tray with baking paper
2. Place all ingredients (except the coconut flakes) onto the baking tray and toss together with your fingers; place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, tossing after 5 minutes; in the last 2 minutes, toss through the coconut flakes and cook until everything is lightly browned
3. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving
3.Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl
This is one great snack that will truly fill you over until dinner time!
Hazelnuts are a great source of healthy fats that can protect heart health. They can help raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
Cacao contains antioxidant flavonoids, compounds that promote general health and may help prevent your risk of several diseases. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals that can potentially cause harm to our bodies.
- 2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 bananas
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine all of your smoothie ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth!
2. Pour the smoothie mixture into two bowls and top with garnishes below.
- Sliced bananas
- Crushed hazelnuts
- Sea salt
- Cacao nibs
- Hemp seeds
- Spirulina Energy Balls
Spirulina is blue green algae rich in vitamins, minerals, and iron. It’s also full of antioxidants to combat free radicals.
Almonds are rich in healthy fats like omega 3 and omega 6.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
A protein packed portable snack or dessert using energizing foods such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and spirulina.
- 1 cup organic raw almonds
- 1 cup organic dates, soaked (keep 3-4 tablespoons of the water you soaked the dates in)
- ¼ cup dried apricots
- ¼ cup pistachio nuts
- ¼ cup organic raw almond butter
- 2 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 heaping tablespoons raw cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut for the mixture (and 2-3 tablespoons for rolling)
- 1 tablespoon organic spirulina
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt (or other sea salt varieties)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine all the nuts and seeds in a food processor or high-speed blender until broken down (you can choose to leave some chunks or pulse until fine)
- Pour the processed almonds, pistachios, and flax seed into a large mixing bowl
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine softened dates and apricots
- Add the nut/seed mixture with the dates/apricots in the blender
- Combine until the mixture resembles a sticky, thick “batter”
- Place the combined mixture into a large mixing bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients manually (that’s right, get those hands messy…really messy!)
- Place the “batter” into the freezer for about 10 minutes or until cooled
- Take a tablespoon or a small ice-cream scooper to measure the batter
- Gently roll the tablespoon of “batter” into your hands until a small ball forms
- Once you have formed all the “batter” into small balls, you may roll them in the 2-3 tablespoons of shredded coconut (this is optional)
- Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days OR keep them in the freezer and grab and go for a quick snack.
These delicious snacks will help keep you going during the afternoon slump, and help you stay away from the hollow junk food that is so tempting when we need a quick bite to get through the day.
With just a little bit of preparation, you can avoid those unhealthy snack options by focusing on quick foods that will promote wellness, provide energy, and make you feel great!