I’ve been getting some requests and concerns about healthy snacking. Specifically healthy snacking on the go! There’s so many snacks on the market today but not all are created equal. When you walk down the grocery store aisles and are faced with 100 calorie packs, fat free cookies, berry blast this, and chocolate chip that, what does your hand reach for? Or maybe a better question may be what should it be reaching for?
Let me start by saying, finding healthy energy promoting snacks in your grocery store aisles may be your first mistake. I think I’ve mentioned this in my prior posts, but getting your food from the outskirts, aka in the fresh produce sections will ALWAYS be your best option. Now this may not be what you wanted to hear; giving up oreo’s, potato chips, cheese its, and gold fish will not permanently break your heart ladies and gentlemen (I promise). And although giving up these processed snacks would be 100% ideal, you don’t have to give them up completely! Its okay to enjoy these snacks in moderation. What I’m saying is don’t rely on them for your primary snack/energy provider.
-Want to hear a secret? As healthy as I try to eat and incorporate as much whole foods into my diet as I can, I still get those empty calorie snack cravings. My personal favorite indulgences include: kettle potato chips, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and buttery popcorn. Oops!
Easy Fruits and Veggies
I want to point out fruits and vegetables were designed by nature to be snacks and food! Our oldest ancestors started out as gatherers and folks that grazed all day on fruits and veggies. Most fruits easily fit in our hands because, well, they were specifically made to do so.
Here’s a tip to making sure you’re getting tasty fruits before you buy: smell them. If they don’t smell like anything they probably will not taste like much either! I use this method for almost all the fruit I buy, it seriously 100% works. (Even if people look at you funny)
Apples- Such a typical snack fruit, but an apple a day really does keep the doctor away! Apples have shown to help prevent almost any and all diseases. The peels also include fiber to help you feel fuller. Try apples and a nut butter like almond or peanut butter, so yummy, filling, and energizing!
Bananas- I always tell people how much I appreciate bananas. They are so versatile and convenient and even come in their own natural “ziplock bag,” their thick yellow peel; so no extra packing or preparing is required! Bananas are also the cheapest fruit you can buy; you can get four banana for about $1! Packed with vitamins and minerals such as B-6, , and Potassium to keep you energized, full, and healthy.
Berries- Any type of berries are also a quick and easy fruit to take or eat on the run. Filled with antioxidants that fight against virtually any and all diseases, as well as providing energy for your body and brain! They are best enjoyed in season since they can get pretty pricey during winter months, but if you can find them on sale go for it!
Carrots- Carrots are one of my favorite snacks to munch on. You can pack them up quickly by just peeling the skin and breaking them in half and stuffing them in a bag! They are pretty cheap to buy as well, even the organic ones. I buy a 1 lb bag of organic carrots from Stop and Shop for around $1! Guess what their orange color reveals about them? They are filled with beta-carotene’s a type of antioxidant that protects against many diseases including cancer. Carrots also contain lutein a carotenoid vitamin that promotes amazing eyesight!
Celery- I’m not a huge fan of celery but doesn’t mean you can’t be, and you should be. Another easy veggie to prepare by just washing, cutting, and bagging as well as being pretty cheap to have around. Although celery won’t provide you with a ton of energy because it is technically a negative-calorie food (meaning it takes more calories to eat than the food actually provides) BUT celery is great for incorporating some nut butters into your snack life! Enjoying celery with some peanut or almond butter is yummy and the proteins from these butters are very beneficial for energy and feeling more full!
Citrus- Oranges and grapefruit are quick and easy to peel then bag and snack on. My favorite citrus fruits are blood oranges because they taste just a bit better to me than a regular orange. But you can snack on any type of citrus fruit, and enjoy all its health benefits including a ton of Vitamin C for energy and immunity!
Grapes- Just wash these babies up and enjoy their balls of goodness. Grapes can be a bit expensive like berries when they are out of season, but try to buy them on sale. Grapes are so easy to eat, yet provide a ton of health benefits and energy from their vitamin C and B-6. Not to mention how yummy they are. And they are responsible for making wine, and anything related to wine is fine by me!
Grape Tomatoes- I enjoy grape tomatoes as a snack primary in the summer time, just because they are more delicious and sweet in season. But you can enjoy them during the winter too, buying organic ones may have some better taste than conventionally grown.
Pomegranate Seeds- Pomegranates can run on the expensive side but honestly once you break them down they provide you with a few days of delicious healthy seeds or “arils” to be exact. I usually spend about 15 minutes at night breaking down my pomegranates and storing the seeds in a bowl for the next few days; from there its fast, easy, and yummy. The red membrane around the seeds are responsible for the antioxidant and nutrient rich benefits, where the inner seed is pretty fibrous helping its consumer to feel full.
Snow Peas- I love eating raw snow peas for a snack. They are filled with all sorts of vitamin and nutrients to promote overall health and are pretty cheap to buy a bunch to last you a while. These are a great way to get more of your daily servings of vegetables. They are easy to munch on by just washing and putting them in a bag!
Nuts and seeds are great for incorporating into your snacking life. They are packed with protein and minerals essential to your health and energy. And when it comes to snacking they are easy eating. I love eating my fruits and veggies with my some nuts like almonds or cashews just to have a protein source that fills me up a bit and keeps me running. Nut butters are awesome to dip fruit in. Just be sure your butters have no other added ingredients, JUST NUTS! Cheap peanut butters like Jif or Skippy have nasty hydrogenated fats and sugars added.
Picking a Snack/Granola Bar- Do’s and Dont’s
DO! Nuts and seeds– I want to point out when picking a good granola bar or snack bar the importance of having a diversity of nuts and seeds in your bar. This will usually insure you’re getting the most nutrition for your buck rather than a cheap bar packed with white flours and refined sugars. Look for snack bars with flax seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and/or hemp seed. READ FOOD LABELS, READ INGREDIENT LABELS. This tells you pretty much exactly what you’ll be investing in and whether or not you should be investing in it. Try snack bars from the natural foods aisle at a grocery store or try your local health food store; they should have some better options available. If you’re feeling adventurous try making your own!
Refined/Added Sugars– The problem with a lot of granola and snack bars are the sugar content. Most of the big name brand bars are not actually all that great for your. Think about it, if they spend more money on advertisements like commercials, internet advertisements, and graphic design for their boxes, how much are they really investing into their actual ingredients? Probably not much, and that’s why their products are virtually pretty cheap aka crap!
Most of them are packed with refined sugars, corn syrup, gross fats, and white processed flours (these are very cheap ingredients). They may taste “good” because they taste very sweet but when it comes to health and energy they will make you feel worse and more low-gee rather than energized and full. They will also most likely make you pretty hungry within a hour or so because they provide a very small amount of nutrient rich ingredients and a lot of refined sugars which virtually makes you crave more sugar after eating it. READ THE FOOD LABEL- If it contains sugar in the ingredients list and contains anywhere from 12 grams or more sugar on the nutrition label, it should be enjoyed in moderation, and not as your daily go to energizing snack.
DO! Natural sugars- A good quality granola bar or snack bar can contain and should contain natural sweeteners instead of your standard refined sugars. I love bars made with dates, a fruit that is naturally very sweet, provides a ton of fiber, and a ton of added vitamins and nutrients. Other fruits that can be used include, raisins, cranberries, apricots, or figs. Honey can also be used but this can be a gray area as well, when it comes to marketing the “honey” ingredient. Or try bars sweetened with stevia. Dark chocolate can be pretty delicious too!
DO! Whole grains- Don’t skip the whole grains either. Look for granola bars made with whole grains, oats, quinoa, rice, bulgar, millet, amaranth, etc. These are good carbs as well as fiber and are apart of a healthy energized diet for sure!
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo and organic corn chips
- Guacamole and organic corn chips
- Flax or other seed crackers
- Beef or turkey jerky
- Dark Chocolate
- Dried fruit!
- Boiled eggs
- Chunks of Energy
- Hummus and pita chips
- Applesauce (low sugar or naturally sweetned)
- Trail mixes
- Roasted seaweed snacks
- Tabbouleh and pita chips
- Stuffed grape leaves
- Smoothies- Be careful if you go out and purchase a smoothie. A lot of them have a ton of added sugars. If you make them at home avoid the added sugars and instead use natural ways to sweeten your smoothies.
Share your ideas in the comment sections below! Feel free to post about your favorite snacks. Also feel free to ask any questions that come to mind. I hope you all enjoyed this post and can be on your way to eating a few healthier snacks in the near future. You can do it! 🙂