One of the most common things I get asked about by my clients is SNACKING! You know, the salty, sugary, crinkly bottomless bag we reach for when we’re bored, lonely, stressed, happy, sad, annoyed, excited or basically any other emotion? When I was asked for some recommendations for snacks with the “convenience of almonds but the fun of chips” I decided I had to deliver! I think the convenience factor in healthy snacking comes from prepping, because if there’s one thing I know to be true, food is always healthier when you make it yourself, opposed to out of a bag or box. Being prepared for any snack attack is crucial.
The first thing I want to cover about snacking is the WHY. A lot of the time, food cravings have nothing to do with food at all, and everything to do with other areas of your life. Are you looking for more sweetness from a relationship? Do you feel extra stress at work? Maybe there’s something missing in your life and filling that void with food seems like a good temporary plug. It is possible that excessive snacking could have to do with the nutrients you’re getting, or not getting enough of, and it’s definitely important to make sure that you’re getting a good variety of vegetables, healthy fats and proteins. Going easy on simple carbs and sugars will help to quiet the snack cycle as well. When I’m eating in a more balanced way at meal times, I’m fuller longer and I crave less in between meals.
Anyway, on to the tasty stuff. Snacks can be great and healthy if we consume them mindfully, and even better, enjoy them with good company! I stand by the fact that everything is more digestible when we eat it in a relaxed, fun and loving environment. For example, when you eat a whole bag of Doritos while watching Law and Order SVU, you’re probably ingesting a lot of negativity and even undertones of violence, while you eat. BUT having a few tortilla chips and some salsa at a Mexican restaurant while laughing with your best friend is pretty OK in my book. While I prefer eating fuller meals and leaving the snacks for HANGER emergencies (they happen) or in a social environment, I do have my go to favorites, especially as “Apero” has been adopted in my household. Apero is the ever popular before dinner drink and salty snack in France - perks, or should I say challenges, of marrying a French dude). Intuitively listening to hunger cues is key as you dig into the following treats, because using “SNACK” as a verb can be a slippery, oily, salty slope, However, I do love a good bowl of popcorn as much as the next gal…
Speaking of popcorn…
OK OK, maybe not the most nutritionally sound snack, but I was asked for convenience and fun and there’s nothing more satisfying than digging into a bowl of hot, crispy popcorn when savory crunch is what you crave. Embarrassingly, a happy popcorn dance literally ensues every time I get to have popcorn, so I feel no one should miss out on that (the popcorn, not the dancing). I make my own on the stove, pop the kernels in a big pot, add melted coconut oil, nutritional yeast and a dash of salt and pepper. To make your popcorn indulgence a more balanced protein, add some roasted almonds!
#2 SEAWEED SNACKS
I’ve been obsessed with seaweed chips lately. You can buy them packaged, but even better - make your own! All you need are full sheets of Nori, you can get them at the health food store or sometimes even in the Asian grocery section of whatever store you like to shop at, sesame oil and salt. Brush the Nori with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 250 F in the oven for 35 minutes or until crispy. These are super convenient because they stay for up to 4 days in a sealed container. You can bring them to work easily or on the road!
#3 BRUSSEL SPROUT CHIPS
Totally get it. Chips are hard to part with. Food should not be about deprivation, I am really not about that, so let’s get the salty, crunchy, deliciousness we desire from a vegetable instead. I know, a potato is technically a vegetable, but I mean a green one ;) Not all that different from the seaweed snacks, you can season them any way you like. I love smoked paprika and chili powder! A little patience is necessary as you cut the stems separate the leaves, mix them up with olive oil and spices and spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 F for 8 - 10 minutes or so. Who knew that a brussel sprout could be a chip?
Wait.. aren’t tacos an actual meal? Yes AND we eat them for a snack all the time on the road, especially if we’re in between meals and actually need something more substantial to tide us over. I buy gluten free, organic corn tortillas, throw in some hummus or avocado (always have a ripe avocado on hand, totally a snack on it’s own) my favorite hot sauce, some sprouts, greens, tomatoes, mushrooms or pretty much ANYTHING I have around. If you’re not into the tortilla, I’m a big fan of collard greens as a wrap, too. Hummus, ground almonds, and sprouts area great combo in the collard greens.
ALL OF THE FERMENTED THINGS! Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled carrots, pickled cucumbers, asparagus, and radishes to name a few! Pickling veggies takes time, in between prepping and waiting for them to ferment, but they’re fun to make, cheap and if you prep a bunch to have on hand they last a long time once you transfer them to the fridge. Making your pickles at home versus store bought ensures that they’re actually fermented so you get the healthy boost for your gut microbiome. Yay probiotics. Check out a great sauerkraut recipe here:
Remember, if you’re eating salty foods, your body will need more water! Make sure to stay hydrated, which will also keep you fuller longer. Next time, I’ll have some refined sugar free sweetness for you. Share your favorite healthy snacks in the comments! Happy Snacking :)