Quick and easy healthy snacks…Snacking! It’s so fun and easy to do. But if we aren’t careful and mindful, it can quickly get out of hand and have a negative impact on our health/wellness goals. Admittedly, I am a grazer throughout the day, so I need to have options readily available so that I am making healthy choices as I “graze” and not just simply eating whatever because I am so famished, which can very easily happen. As a mama to a toddler, it’s also very tempting sometimes to reach for his snacks- ya know, the goldfish crackers, fig bars, animal crackers. But- if I am exercising self-awareness and mindful eating AND have healthy snacks on hand, this is less likely to happen. I’ve found that if I keep these favorite items of mine stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, I am more prone to eat them throughout the day instead of reaching for something unhealthy and nutrient void.
Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty health conscious, so we don’t typically have a lot of “bad” food in the house, which definitely helps! Although the toddler snacks can be oh so tempting! If it’s not there tempting you and having a stare down with you as you battle in your mind whether or not to eat it, then the better you are able to stick to your health goals. So, we just don’t even tempt ourselves, (especially with items like cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.).
Here are some of my personal favorite snacks that are my go-to. Some of them are Paleo and if they aren’t, we always try to steer towards gluten free at a minimum.
Hummus: Hummus is a great choice because it can be paired with so much- cut up veggies, baby carrots, crackers, pita bread, the list goes on. I typically eat hummus with fresh cut up veggies like carrots, baby bell peppers, or cucumbers. I also like hummus with gluten free rice crackers.
Greek yogurt: We really don’t eat a lot of dairy in our household, but this is one staple I always have on hand. I love Greek yogurt because it is naturally fat-free and is loaded with protein! Now, if you really want the healthy option, you’ll need to opt for the plain greek yogurt. I know those flavored Chobani’s are so tasty but they are loaded with sugar- like 18 grams or something crazy! I know some of it is “natural” sugar from the fruit, but when you are most likely going to add more sugar with granola or another topper, I think it’s just best to go with the plain. You can dress up the plain very easily. Add some honey, fresh berries, Paleo cereal, granola and you’re set with a tasty and super healthy-protein rich snack. You can even use greek yogurt in smoothies or shakes! In fact, I’ve even substituted greek yogurt for sour cream in spinach dip and used it in banana bread too!
Fruit: I always like to have a plethora of fruit available in our home. Our typical fruit list is this: Cuties (clementines), apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries (or some other type of berry). Occasionally we will mix it up and get pineapple or pears or a melon of sorts. Fruit is great because you can eat it alone or use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and many other options. And it’s easy to grab and go and take with you to the office or as you run errands. Pair an apple or banana with peanut butter to get a combination of healthy fats and fiber.
Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole: This is probably my least healthy snack that I eat, but it’s really not too bad. I LOVE salsa and guacamole! I could eat it everyday no problem! I always make sure to get gluten free corn tortilla chips or gluten free sweet potato tortilla chips. Recently, I’ve been really into the blue corn tortilla chips. Yum! Newman’s Own has a great salsa that tastes so fresh and is full of different veggies so I feel like it’s not too terrible for me! Trader Joe’s also has some delicious, fresh salsa options. And if you are looking for the BEST guacamole recipe, hands down Alton Brown’s recipe on The Food Network is amazing! I use it every time!
Nuts and Dried Fruit: This is another great snack for on-the-go. Almonds are so incredibly good for you (within reason, of course). Grab a handful and snack away. I love dried fruit too! I love raisins on Ants on a Log or on top of a rice cake with peanut butter. I also love dried apricots, but I can only eat a few at a time because they are high in sugar. Instead of getting the generic store trail mix that isn’t the healthiest, opt to make your own. It’s really quite simple. Choose 1-2 nut varieties (think almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), 1-2 dried fruit options (choose from dried banana chips, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried apple, dried berries, raisins, craisins, etc.), 1-2 seed varieties (pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are great), and if you are feeling adventurous, you can add in some yogurt chips or dark chocolate chips.
Chia Seed Pudding: This simple to make snack is chalk full of fiber! Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Basically to make chia seed pudding, you soak your seeds in liquid and the seeds soak up the liquid to make a jelly-like consistency. You can add in a variety of add-ins such as berries, nut butter, cocoa powder or cinnamon.
Prosciutto and Cheese: Nothing sounds better to me than a little meat and cheese platter. I love charcuterie boards and could literally eat them everyday! Make your own little snack board with some dried meats, high quality cheese, veggies, and fruit.
It’s important to have healthy snacks available because there are always those moments when we “forget” to eat lunch or are just really hungry and it’s in those moments of feeling famished where we are the most vulnerable to blow our “diets” and grab for the Snickers or bag of potato chips. Creating snacks ahead of time or having something readily available and easy to make or grab helps us to maintain our healthy eating goals! Nowadays there are so many “healthy” packaged snack items. Try to stay away from too many packaged items (within reason) and aim for whole food options. Bars and healthy chip-like items may be “healthier” but they are still processed and not as nutrient dense as say an apple and peanut/nut butter.
There are other great, healthy snack options out there but I just wanted to share some of my personal favorites and go-to snacks with y’all! Enjoy!