When your schedule gets hectic, it’s tempting to reach for the vending machine or whatever’s nearby to satisfy your hunger, but that’s often the worst thing you can do. My rule for snacks is combine protein with carbs to help manage blood sugar levels, and to avoid dairy.
Here is a round up of portable healthy snacks that feed your hunger, not your waistline:
1. Raw nuts mix. Whether store-bought or homemade, a nut mix that includes raw varieties is better than roasted ones, which lowers the nutrients. Make a batch on Sunday and store them in the refrigerator for the week. If you have a sweet tooth, add dried, unsweetened fruit. If your palate leans to savory, sprinkle with spices like rosemary or cayenne.
2. Mason jar dips. You know those glass containers you’re saving when you clean out your kitchen (see “9 Ways to Get Organized for Fall”)? Fill the bottom with two tablespoons of nut or seed butters or all-natural hummus, then add vegetable sticks, like carrots, celery, zucchini, jicama or peppers. Pop on the top and you’re ready to go.
3. Smoothies to go. On Sunday night, make twice your normal amount of breakfast smoothie. Pour the drink into 8-ounce glass jars and freeze. Store them in the fridge at the office and by the time you’re ready to drink, it’s thawed.
4. Seasoned kale chips. If you’re the domestic type, making these at home is a cinch, or if you haven’t used your oven in years, don’t worry, store-bought varieties can be just as healthy. To make, trim kale stems, make sure they’re completely dry and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. Personally, sea salt does the trick for our family. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crisp and dry.
5. Homemade granola bars. Often I’ll read snack bar recipes that sound a lot like candy bars, but when made with the right ingredients, you’ll have a energy powerhouse that will get you through an afternoon. Most granola bar recipes, especially the raw ones, take less than a half an hour to make and can last your family a week. Even better, they’re highly portable and don’t require refrigeration. I love this one from Food 52. The biggest challenge you’ll have making these is keeping up with the demand.
6. two-ingredient bites. I love pairing two ingredients — sweet and savory or sweet and salty — for an easy quick fix that satisfies hunger and sugar cravings. My favorite combinations:
- organic dates stuffed with almond butter
- sliced green apple with nut butter
- organic brown rice cakes drizzled with brown rice syrup.
7. Salty crunches. On afternoons when stress is high and time is short, the only thing that does the trick are snacks with crunch. I love:
- roasted chickpeas. Drizzle in olive oil and toss with your favorite ground spices, then bake 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees. If you buy them pre-made, read the nutrition label to know what you’re getting.
- a handful (5 to 8) of whole-grain or sprouted chips, such as Garden of Eatin’ brand, with freshly made salsa, pico de gallo or guacamole.
- hummus and baby carrots or celery sticks. Note: read the nutrition label on hummus to be sure the brand contains no preservatives or additives.
- nori chips. Cut these seaweed sheets into strips, drizzle with olive oil and top with seasonings. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. If you’ve got more time, create mini “sushi” bites with leftover brown rice or quinoa and vegetable sticks, no refrigeration required.
8. Healthy pudding. Chia seeds aren’t just for smoothies anymore. Make them into a creamy and sweet (or savory, depending on your add-ins) treat in minutes with this delicious and highly addictive pudding recipe:
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Liquid stevia to taste (optional)
- Add cocoa powder or pumpkin pie spice for flavor
Combine all ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.