The words “healthy” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.
But that might also bring thoughts of "tasteless," "cardboard," and "completely unsatisfying."
Let me give you my best whole food snacks that aren't just nutritious but also delicious!
What’s my criteria you ask?
They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein and/or fibre.
We are going to take these ordinary foods and give them a bit of a spin to make them almost sinful.
It’s true - nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening (with to exception of the “honey roasted” kinds, of course)!
Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier, leaner and 72% better looking…. Okay I may have made that last one up – but the rest is true!
By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.
Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!
But let’s break free from the obvious. Mix it up. Trade your almonds (although delicious) for some macadamias, pecans or walnuts to change up the flavor and your vitamin and mineral intake.
Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag. Roasting them definitely brings out their flavor. Eating them raw gives you extra health points!
Yes, fruit contains sugar but because of their incredible amount of fibre in fruit, sugar is “time released”. It’s a slow drip so it wont spike your blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps to fill you up (known as the "satiety factor").
Whole fruits (I'm not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.
Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.
Tip: Can't do fresh? Try frozen. One of my favorite snacks is some warmed up mixed berries, a scoop of coconut cream and a sprinkle of hemp seeds! Plus, they're already chopped for you.
3. CHIA SEEDS
This is one of my personal favourites…
Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.
They are a whole lot of awesome wrapped up into one tiny package.
They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).
Tip: You can definitely sprinkle these little nutrition pellets on anything, but to make chia seeds its own little snack, put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, a drizzle of maple syrup and/or cinnamon and enjoy!
4. BOILED OR POACHED EGGS
Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.
They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.
Yup, you read that right!
Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack! My kids LOVE eggs so when food prepping for the week I grab 2 dozen eggs. I boil a dozen and keep the other dozen for baking or frying. Eat them hard boiled for a quick and easy snack or mash one up with a couple slices of avocado, garlic and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt. Eat up this delish egg salad with some cucumber slices.
I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.
Veggies contain fibre and water to help fill you up, and you don't need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?
You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).
Tip: Dip is not the enemy. Find a dressing or dip that has REAL ingredients without added sugar and you’ve got some extra flavor and maybe even some more healthy fats. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my new hummus recipe below?
Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be "tasteless," like "cardboard," or "completely unsatisfying." Trust me.
WHOLE FOOD HUMMUS
Makes about 2 cups
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
⅓ cup tahini
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of water, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil.
Cooking beans is my #1 favorite thing to do with my instant pot! Not only does it cook beans in 20 minutes (without a whole day of soaking) but the pressure also breaks down the lectin’s making it easier to digest (aka – less fats more friends)!