Why we need healthy snack foods
I'm hungry, I want something now! I'm thinking there's got to be a Tic Tac in my pocket somewhere. Too often we reach for something, anything that’s available, without regard for the quality of food. As a result, we end up snacking on everything from candy and cupcakes to fruit and veggies.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a list of healthy snack foods? (hint, hint)
Purpose of a snack
What's the purpose of a snack? I think we can condese it into two reasons.
- Expected reason, meaning meaning that you know you'll have a busy day or be away from home an extended period of time. Therefore a snack becomes an easy to pack mini-meal that meets your food or dietary preferences.
- Non-Expected reason, meaning that someone dropped a big pile of paper on our work desk and now we'll have to skip lunch. It could also mean our car broke down, the kids got sick, we have to do something for a client. Basically anything that was unplanned.
So a snack fullfills a short term need. It's not a full meal, but we want to make sure a we have a nutritious snack available for any planned or unplanned situation.
When a snack isn't healthy
Not all snacks are not created equal. Something like donuts, cookies, and cake are obviously not the best choice. They aren't really even the snack we wanted…it just taste good and it's easily available.
Here's the not so obvious…what about eating a single piece of fruit, a bag of pretzels, or a serving of carrots? Sure it's a better choice than the first option but it still falls short. A snack needs to be a little more robust. In other words it needs to have some protein and lipids to help satisfy the hunger. It would also be an opportune time to include some fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the form of fruit or vegetables.
By combinining the two categories (protein/lipid) and (fruit/vegetable) we can create some really powerful and healthy snack foods.
Why this works?
The suggestions below do just that. We can create a satisfying 200-400 Calorie snack by mixing a Lipid/Protein Centric Food with a Fruit/Vegetable Centric Food. This will also give us some added fiber, vitamins, and minerals into the diet. The lipids, protein, and fiber in particular will really help satisfy our hunger till the next full meal.
How to use this list of healthy snack foods
Simply choose one item from each list and combine into a great snack. Tip: Be sure and measure the serving size until you know for example what 1/4 cup of almonds looks like in the hand.
Why are you giving me options?
Everyone says, “What could I eat for a snack?”, and when I say something, they respond with a half smile and wrinkled nose because it's not something they like. The fact is my favorite may not be everyone's favorite. We all have different preferences. Hopefully this list gives us enough ideas that we can all find something we like.
Also boredom, sometimes we have to change things up a bit. Almonds + Blueberries one day and Cashews + Pineapples the next, see how that works. Crazy, right? With this list we can create a lot of different combinations.
THE LIST OF HEALTHY SNACK FOODS
List #1 Lipid and Protein Centric Foods (choose one)
1 cup of natural greek yogurt
¼ cup of almonds
¼ cup of cashews
¼ cup of peanuts
¼ cup of walnuts
¼ cup of pistachios
1 hard boiled egg
a slice of string cheese
2 Tbsp. of peanut butter
2 Tbsp. of almond butter
½ cup of Bare Naked Granola
1 Mini Babybel cheese wheel
½ cup olives
1 Lara Bar
1 Kind Bar
1 cup popcorn (air popped)
2-3 Tbsp. hummus
1 stick grass-fed beef jerkey (ex. Chomps Brand)
½ cup cottage cheese
2 slices turkey (nitrate free)
List #2 Fruit and Vegetables (choose one)
1 medium apple
1 medium banana
15-20 grapes grapes
1 medium orange
½ cup of cherry tomato
½ cup of blueberries
1 cup pineapple
1 cup carrot sticks
1 cup celery
1 cup broccoli
1 cup cauliflower
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup jicama
1 cup radishes
1 cup cucumber
3-4 slices dried mango
4 dried apricots
4 dried prunes
½ cup raisins
1 cup snap pea
Some of my favorite healthy snack combinations
A couple of combination that I'm diggin' right now include:
- Lara Bar + Apple
- Pistachio Nuts + Dried Mango.
Enjoy, and in the comments please share any foods that we can add to our ever growing list!