I am a snacker. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m tired. Basically, if you are looking for me, the kitchen is a pretty safe bet.
As much as I would love to eat freshly baked chocolate chip cookies all day erryday, I try to sneak in some nutrients every now and then. Fortunately for my waistline, I’ve found a bunch of delicious yet healthy snacks.
A good snack provides lots of nutrients, keeps you full, and doesn’t have a lot of processed ingredients or sugar/salt. I tend to look for snacks that are high in protein or fiber, or stick with the classic fruit or vegetable. Here are a few of my favorites:
Nuts and Seeds
They are a good source of protein, have healthy fats, and fulfill our salt snack cravings. I don’t get too stuck on whether or not they are raw or roasted and salted but I know there is some nutritional benefit to eating raw. I’ve found that mixing raw nuts/seeds with roasted nuts/seeds is a good way to get around that. It gives the snack more variety, still has the yummy, salty roasted pieces, but makes the raw nuts more snackable. Stay away from the candied nuts though. Those should be considered a treat – not your go to snack.
I can’t get enough of these. They are so versatile. You can top them with pretty much anything depending your your mood. Cinnamon with a touch of brown sugar is my favorite to satisfy a sweet tooth. If I’m craving salty, I usually go with plain sea salt, cracked pepper and a little paprika. For spicy, chili powder and cayenne pepper is where it’s at. These don’t take too long to make, have protein and fiber, and are a guiltless snack to pop in your mouth while you watch tv.
Not all popcorn is created equal. Microwave popcorn is not included in this list – it’s full of chemicals, fat, sugar, you name it. You can still get that indulgent “Movie Theater Butter” popcorn experience though. I have a stirring popper but an air popper would be even better. Just use some coconut oil in the stirring popper, pop the corn, and drizzle (generously) with butter. Toss with salt and you have a cinema worthy treat.
Veggies and Hummus
I love this one for work. The veggies have fiber while the hummus has protein. Sneak in a few whole grain crackers and you have a complete protein. I personally prefer the Whole Foods brand plain hummus topped with a drizzle of olive oil, some red pepper flakes and a crack of sea salt. This snack is crunchy, and reminiscent of chips and dip*.
*Obviously this isn’t chips and dip and I’m not trying to suggest that it will get rid of your queso cravings forever. This is great in its own right and works well in scenarios where you would usually want a chip and dip-eque snack.
Fruit makes an amazing sweet snack. I love pomegranate seeds with coconut whipped cream. I’ve been a huge fan of winter citrus lately. Apples, bananas, strawberries, swoon! I always think I want a sweeter, more indulgent treat, but an apple or a handful of berries tends to fill that craving. I don’t follow a single diet, but I do fully consider fruit to be a free food. When I’m craving something sweet, I always (try to) start with fruit, and then reassess.
I love a good avocado toast. I also love peanut butter toast (maybe topped with banana and coconut), buttered toast, roasted garlic on toast and toast with coconut butter. Okay, maybe I just like bread a lot. For real though, bread and toast makes a pretty darn good snack. If you pick a good quality bread (maybe my whole grain recipe from Tuesday) you can top it with pretty much anything you want. I try to pick something with some fat to it because I find that it works well with the complex carbs to keep me full.
Snacking should be fun, not stressful. I like to have fun, easy to grab snacks on hand so it is easier to resist things like cheesy fish crackers and ooey gooey cookies.