It’s the time of year for Sunday football games filled with fries and wings. We just wrapped up the summer BBQs where processed meats were most likely prevalent. We are also heading into the holiday season where the biggest eating day of the year is right around the corner. Healthy snacking can really help us to feel satisfied without sabotaging our efforts to eat well.
When we think of “snacks”, we usually think junk food or packaged foods, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Think of all the trendy health claims on processed foods and the fact that they aren’t really food, but more like edible food-like substances. (I love Michael Pollan!)
Most packaged foods should be avoided on a daily basis, although there are some brands that are better than others if you are going to be eating them. Some examples are Back to Nature, Garden of Eatin, Thrive Market, 365 by Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Cascadia Farms and Brad’s Organics. We must check ingredients, even if it’s sold at a health food store! I have been disappointed more than once after reading a label in an aisle of my favorite store.
Most of the time when a package states a health claim, it’s not healthy. For example, an apple doesn’t have to shout out “High Fiber! Vitamin C!” Boxes that state they are fiber-filled or enriched with vitamins and minerals are just that - “foods” added with nutrients...which proves that they simply aren’t healthy foods.
A concept I love is “upgrading” snacks. Think of your favorite snack and a way to make it more nutritious. One of my favorites are chips and guacamole. So I make sure I get organic blue corn chips without too much salt and add fresh garlic, ground flaxseed, and pickled vegetables to my avocados, tomatoes, and peppers. That way I have a more nutrient-dense food that I truly enjoy!
Fruits and veggies make some of the best snacks, but it is important to buy them organic so we don’t ingest toxic herbicides and pesticides.
Here are some more healthy snack examples:
• apples and almond butter
• frozen grapes
• carrots: particularly the super sweet, organic baby carrots
• celery and natural peanut butter
• crunchy crudités of veggies and dips like hummus & tabouli
• hummus with whole grain toast, baby carrots, or rice crackers
• raw nuts with goji berries
• organic yogurt (try coconut milk yogurt) with fruit or granola
• sprouted date bread with jam
• dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butters
• organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips
• freshly squeezed fruit juices - make your own!
• pickles and pickled vegetables, such as carrots, daikons, beets
• seaweed salad with sesame seeds
• puddings made with silken tofu, avocado or mashed bananas
• Shaklee snack bars
• mashed sweet potatoes
• coconut milk
• sauerkraut: it will also knock your sweet craving right out!