As a health coach, I find that so many people are making an effort to be healthier, but still have a hard time achieving their weight goals. And when I look at their food journals, I see it...it’s very often in their snacks!
I KNOW it’s hard when you’re always on the go. You get hungry when you’re at work or on the road, and the only things you have quick access to are processed, packaged options. You may not realize it, but they're usually high in sodium, sugar, and/or artificial ingredients (even when labeled "natural" which usually means nothing!). And unfortunately, they add up, and make it difficult (if not impossible!) for you to stay healthy and slim.
Making the effort to be prepared and keep healthy snacks on hand will make a HUGE difference in your health (and waistline!).
What you should you look for?
Your snacks should be small (I usually suggest under 200 calories), high in fiber, healthy fats and protein, and low in sodium, sugar and carbs. This will give you a boost of sustained energy without packing on the pounds. Also, you want to avoid artificial ingredients and limit the preservatives. Your best bet? Use real foods prepared at home!
Here are 10 easy and healthy snacks, that are filled with BALANCED nutrition, to give you the energy you need while keeping you slim. And they’re easy to pack – for work or a plane ride!
1- AVOCADO. Enjoy ½ of a Hass avocado sprinkled with sea salt and lime, for a filling, nutritious snack. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, protein and fiber (and who doesn’t love their creamy, delicious texture?!). I love to eat the avocado on its own with a spoon, but if you’re in need of some healthy carbs, spread the avocado on a slice of sprouted grain toast. Here is my go-to easy recipe:
2- HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX. This is probably the easiest option (and cheaper than buying a pre-mixed option). Just buy some raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit in bulk, and make your own trail mix. Try my awesome, low sugar, nutrient-dense recipe (below) - and play around with it, adding any variety of raw nuts that you like.
3- BAKED KALE CHIPS. Instead of going for your usual potato chips, crackers or pretzels, try making these at home to satisfy your salty craving, and you’ll get much more protein, fiber, as well as vitamin A and C (especially when adding nutritional yeast). Making your own kale chips may require some trial and error, but with some practice, you’ll realize how easy it is! See below my favorite, super simple recipe:
4- ROASTED CHICKPEAS. Chickpeas (like many beans) are great for your health, mostly known for their cholesterol-lowering benefits, and are a great way to get some plant-based protein. Just pop them in the oven with some high-quality oil, sea salt, spices, and take with you in a ziplock for a yummy, crunchy snack. Here is my easy recipe:
5- HUMMUS WITH BABY CARROTS & CELERY STICKS. In a small mason jar or Tupperware, add 2-3 tablespoons of hummus, then place some baby carrots and/or celery sticks on top, and throw in your bag! If you’re buying your hummus, aim for organic hummus made with olive oil. Avoid versions with canola oil (usually GMO) and with unnecessary preservatives. Alternatively, make your own hummus (using a food processor) in a cinch! See my simple recipe below:
6- SEED CRACKERS WITH WILD TUNA/SALMON. Take ½ can of wild tuna or salmon, drizzle some olive oil and spices of choice, then place in a Tupperware with about 5 Mary’s Gone Crackers (or your choice of gluten-free, non-GMO seed crackers). This is a great way to get some much-needed vitamin D and Omega-3’s!
7- APPLE WITH FLAX, CINNAMON & NUT BUTTER. Slice 1 apple (or pear), then add 2 tablespoons of nut butter on your plate (for dipping), and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ground or milled flax seeds. The flax, nut butter and cinnamon slow down the absorption of the sugar from the fruit, and make it a balanced high-protein, high-fiber snack. For a lower sugar option, use celery sticks instead of apple. When you’re on-the-go, take these Justin’s almond butter packs and flax seed packs. They even sell pre-sliced apples in some places (ex. Trader Jo’s) if you don’t have a knife on hand.
8- HOMEMADE CHIA PUDDING. Chia seeds are one of my favorite superfoods - high in protein, omega 3’s, fiber, calcium, iron and magnesium. And Chia Pudding is so easy to make at home – just add chia seeds and any nut milk to a portable container, plus any toppings of your choice, mix well, refrigerate overnight, and take with you the next morning to work! Then try switching up your toppings for different delicious varieties. See below for my basic recipe.
9- BROWN RICE CAKES WITH NUT BUTTER. I like Lundberg organic salt-free ones. Aim for plain and organic, without added sugars. Just pack one in a ziplock and take a travel pack of almond butter (these are so handy!).
10- HOMEMADE GRANOLA BARS. The key is to make your granola using high-quality ingredients, and keep it high in protein and low in sugar. Try my delicious "no-bake" recipe, filled with superfoods. Make a large batch (I promise its easy and quick) and it will last you many days. Just pack one bar with you each day!
Just remember, snacking should be kept to times when you are truly hungry (not when you’re bored or stressed).
And portion size matters- eat just enough to hold you over until the next meal.
That being said, snacking can totally be healthy and even rev up your metabolism – as long as you’re eating the right snacks, and avoiding the unhealthy sodium, sugars and unnatural ingredients found in most processed foods!
So choose a few of these and try them this week, then let me know which ones you love!