I don’t know about you, but I love snacking.
Mindful snacking, that is….
How many times have you come across an a “healthy snack” recommendation, only to find out that it was something pre-packaged, full of ingredients you can’t even pronounce?
There are so, so many food products marketed as “healthy” or “healthy alternatives” that aren’t so healthy after all. Instead, they are filled with sugar and have little nutritional value… and don’t even get me started on cereals or some of these “protein” bars….
HOMEMADE GRANOLA /RAW BARS
Who needs that pre-packaged, over-processed stuff from the vending machine when you can make your own? You can adjust it to your liking, use your favorite ingredients, and I promise you that these taste better than the store-bought bars. My favorite snack bars to make are these Raw Cranberry, Coconut & Apricot Bars made with raw almonds, dried fruit and coconut oil. You can make a big batch in about 10 minutes, keep them stored in the fridge and all you have to do in the morning is grab one and put it in your bag. These are seriously amazing and you can also make them into little energy balls.
Fresh or dried. Organic apples and bananas are my favorite (this might sound funny, but I always have a banana in my bag). Fruit is nature’s fast food- you just grab it and go- doesn’t get easier than this. Sometimes, if I know I’ll have a really long day I’ll also grab a small container of natural peanut butter and dip my apple slices in it- heaven.
BREAKFAST BANANA BARS
This is not only one of my most popular recipes but it’s also one of my personal favorites (you can find the recipe here– I went plant-based since the recipe was posted and now substitute eggs with an extra banana). These bars, once again, can be made on a Sunday afternoon and will last you all week. They’re soft, slightly sweet and have that peanut buttery taste that I love. Also, these are amazing with a cup of almond milk or good coffee.
FRESH VEGGIES (MINUS THE DIP)
Yes, I’m telling you to skip the dip- and I’m a big dip person- whenever I make sweet potato fries, I have to have them with my vegan sriracha dip. My husband always asks, half-jokingly, if he should grab me a straw for the dip. That’s how much I love dip. Sadly, most of those dressings/dips that often come packaged with pre-cut veggies, are full of crappy ingredients- especially the “low fat” ones. If you feel like you must “dip” your veggies in something, try some hummus. I personally love my carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes just as they are- they make for a perfect snack.
I’ll be honest, first time I tried kale chips- I hated them. I was never a chip person, but to me, “chips” need to have a little flavor to them. After I tried making my own a few times, I became crazy about them. I think that the key is picking your spices- I love a bit of cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika and nutritional yeast- it’s what gives my chips that cheesy flavor. I love this recipe for homemade kale chips.
I’m talking about high cocoa content dark chocolate- like 70% and up. It’s a good source of iron, magnesium, fiber, and it also does a good job at curbing those mid-day cravings. I noticed that it also helps me feel energized a little- on those days when I need a little pick-me up, but can’t go for coffee because it’s too late in the day. You can also try making your own dark chocolate using carob, like I did here.
BERRIES & UNSALTED NUTS
This, right here is my favorite- I especially love raw, unsalted almonds and blueberries- it’s a perfect combo. I always, always have almonds in my bag (they sit next to my banana ;) ) – even on those days when I don’t work, but still have some errands to run. When you’re busy and out and about- taking care of things, or shopping, getting stuff done, having a long day- you eventually get hungry. You want to grab something to eat and what do you see? Oh, just a fast-food restaurant here, a vending machine right over there and even if you’re lucky enough to find a convenience store, there really aren’t too many healthy options you can go for. That’s where your almonds and blueberries come in hand.
When I was little, my grandpa would constantly ask me if I’m hungry. Being a picky eater, most of the time my answer would be “no” to which he’d reply “okay then, I’ll make you a sandwich.” We still joke about this from time to time. This is sort of how it feels working in an office environment sometimes. Someone brings cookies, donuts or cake, and when you politely say “no thank you” waving your banana at them, they tell you “oh, come on, just one piece, it’s not gonna hurt you!”
Having one donut or a piece of cake definitely wouldn’t hurt, but for now, I’m sticking to my banana.
If you work long hours, go to school or juggle both school and work, then I highly recommend that you carry some of these (or some other) healthy snacks with you. You’ll be less likely to feel hungry or binge out on junk food on your way home.
What are some of your favorite snacks that you reach for during busy days?