It’s mid-afternoon and you start to feel your tummy rumbling. It’s too soon for dinner, but your lunch isn’t going to last you much longer, either. That’s right, it’s snack time.
But what do you reach for? If you’re like many of us, you probably have plenty of quick options in your fridge or pantry: bags of chips, granola bars, cookies or some frozen appetizers you can toss in the oven. While these are all good at getting the job done quick, speed doesn’t usually equal substance. In fact, many of the foods we buy in bags and boxes are chemically processed, meaning that artificial ingredients are added for preservation, flavor and color.
While consuming processed foods in small doses isn’t a huge risk, making them a part of your regular diet can be, since you are missing out on the essential nutrients and minerals found in natural foods. But with a little planning ahead, you can have wholesome, healthy snacks ready to go in your kitchen or packed for the workplace!
If you’re craving something crunchy
Sometimes, we just want to bite into something that makes a satisfying crunch. Potato chips are an easy answer, but with the copious amounts of salt added for flavor and preservation, it is certainly not the healthiest snack. Instead, try some of these:
- Roasted or raw nuts: Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber and healthy fats and their savory goodness is amplified by roasting them. However, we recommend roasting raw nuts at home at a low temperature to avoid damaging the healthy fats and negatively affect the taste.
- Sweet potato chips: Sweet potato chips are a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips and offer all kinds of fiber and vitamins. You can buy these at the supermarket or make your own by cutting sweet potatoes into thin slices and baking them in the oven with a little olive oil and light salt.
- Carrots and hummus: The old adage says carrots are good for your eyes, but we say they are good for the stomach, too! They are delicious, full of antioxidants and fiber and have a good flavor on their own! If you like to dip your veggies (and honestly, who doesn’t?), try some good-for-you hummus on the side.
If your sweet tooth is running rampant
When your sweet tooth calls, it is hard to ignore. But candy or cookies don’t have to be the answer: there are many other ways to get a sugary fix the healthy way! Yes, you heard right. Here are some ideas:
- Dark chocolate: Yes, we are starting this list off with chocolate and no, we’re not crazy. The key here is finding quality dark chocolate made with cacao, not added sugars. Dark chocolate has been linked to many benefits, including low blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease.
- Fresh fruit: Nature’s candy at its finest! Take a peek at your local grocery store to see what is in season and stock up! Fruit has all kinds of health benefits and it will satisfy that sweet craving. Tip: You can add a squeeze of lemon to chopped apples to prevent them from browning!
- Greek yogurt with honey: This snack is a great one-two punch. The yogurt is packed with protein and honey is great natural sweetener. You can also add some walnuts on top for an even more complete snack! Tip: If you’re not a fan of Greek yogurt’s thicker texture, a plain yogurt will work fine.
If you are just plain hungry
There are days where a quick snack just won’t suffice and we totally get that feeling. If you’re hungry for something that will hold you over for longer than a few hours, we have some ideas for you:
- Smoothie: When you put a bunch of healthy ingredients in a blender, something magical happens. Smoothies are the perfect snack to sip on for hours at a time and can offer many health benefits. Just make sure to stick to healthy ingredients, like yogurt, fresh fruits and honey, and skip the extra sugar.
- Breakfast burrito: The great thing about a breakfast burrito is that they are good any time of the day! Pack them with healthy, wholesome ingredients like eggs, black beans, avocado and fresh veggies and kiss hunger good-bye. Bonus: They can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or even the freezer!
- Pinwheel sandwiches: This a fun one for the kids to get involved with, too! Wrap fresh veggies, ham and a light cream cheese in a tortilla and cut into single, bite-sized slices.