Feature of the Month by Tina of BananaBloom.com
Snacking is often dubbed a big no-no in health articles pertaining to weight loss. But the bad rep snacking has got can be a little bit misleading. Having snacks between your main meals of the day can actually be beneficial to your health, keeping your metabolism going and energy levels steady. So the problem really isn’t the snack, it’s what you are eating for that snack.
Those commercial bars you grab at the grocery store when hunger strikes are likely about as satiating to your hunger as chewing on a piece of paper. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the labels promising high levels of nutrients; most packaged snacks will have very little nutritional value. The more processed the product, the less nutritional value it’ll have – and if it’s packaged and has more than 5 ingredients (many of which you cannot pronounce), you can bet it’s processed.
If you want to be healthy, you should be eating something full of nutrients that’ll keep your metabolism pumping, and keep you full until your next meal. So how do we snack like a boss?
Here’s 10 healthy (and vegan) on the go snacks that are just what you need:
- Home made trail mix
Most trail mixes you buy in store are packed full of refined sugar and other chemicals that you don’t want to put in your body. A home made batch of trail mix is whipped up in minutes. Portioned out in little containers, it’s easy to bring with you on the go.
How to: Mix together unsweetened dried fruit (such as apricots, raisins, or dates) with unsalted nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, or macadamia nuts) and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds) and portion them out into containers.
- Chia pudding
Chia seeds are small black seeds absolutely packed full of nutrition. They contain lots of fiber, protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind of fat). They also happen to create a gel-like consistency when they are mixed with liquid, making them ideal for creating on-the-go puddings!
Chia seed pudding is extremely easy to make and can be endlessly flavoured to suit your preferences. For four servings, simply mix 1 1/2 cup of dairy free milk (such as almond milk), 1/3 cup chia seeds, and 2-4 tablespoons of sweetener (such as maple syrup). Add whatever other flavourings you’d like (cocoa, fresh berries, pure vanilla extract, raw liquorice powder, or cinnamon, for example). Mix all the ingredients together and pour into little jars. Set in the fridge for 3-5 hours, or overnight. If you prefer, add additional toppings before eating, such as fresh berries, nuts, granola, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs.
There’s few things we can eat that are as natural and easily digestible as fruit and vegetables. And a piece of fruit or some carrot sticks are so easy to bring with you that there’s really no excuse not to.
Bananas are a personal favourite of mine that are packed full of nutrition with a good amount of potassium, vitamin B and C, as well as magnesium.
Smoothies are easy to bring along in a bottle, and you can stuff them full of all kinds of nutritious good-for-you ingredients. If you’re not big on vegetables, adding them to your smoothies is a great way to get them into your diet, without even noticing it.
Try adding some raw spinach, romaine lettuce, or kale to a smoothie also containing fruit (such as bananas or apples). Since most fruit is very sweet and green leafy vegetables tend to be rather flavourless, mixing the two will mask the flavour of the vegetables. So even though it might look green, you won’t taste it!
- Organic raw food bars
I mentioned the issue with grabbing one of those packaged bars at the grocery store checkout isle for a snack, but there are actually some better versions of them. Look for raw, organic, and vegan bars that have 5 or less ingredients, all of which you recognise. This type of snack bar is a good option when all else fails (i.e. when you’ve forgot to stash one of your healthy snacks in your bag or office drawer).
Typically you want to find bars that are made of organic dried fruits and nuts. Raw fruit and nut bars are filling (thanks to the protein and good fats in the nuts) and sweet (thanks to the dried fruit) without packing in processed sugar or artificial sweeteners. You’ll find them in larger grocery stores or health food stores.
- Home made raw food bars
Finding those better organic raw food bars can be difficult, so put some time aside on the weekend to make your own raw bars! They’re surprisingly easy to make. Just mix together dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in a food processor and form into balls or bars.
- Protein shake
Protein satisfies our hunger and keeps us full for a long time. That makes a protein rich snack great for combatting that 3pm hunger – and it’ll hold you over until dinner.
Look for a good quality, unsweetened, and unflavoured plant based protein (such as hemp, pea, pumpkin seed, or brown rice protein). Try to avoid protein powders that have too many ingredients and fake sweeteners. You can sweeten the natural flavoured protein with fruit, dates, or a little bit of maple or coconut syrup. That way, your shake is a lot more natural and your body will have an easier time digesting the nutrients than it would from those artificially sweetened protein powders.
- Raw bliss balls
Raw bliss balls are so easy to make and they’ll give you a good punch of nutrition – and a delicious treat! Bliss balls are made by mixing together dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in a food processor until you get a dough-like consistency that you can roll into balls.
Play around with different ingredients and flavourings (cinnamon, natural vanilla powder, nutmeg, liquorice powder, mesquite powder etc.) and roll them in cacao nibs, roasted sesame seeds, or unsweetened shredded coconut.
I make big batches of raw bliss balls all the time – try one of my recipes to get you started, like these Nut Free Raw Balls, Raw Liquorice & Lemon Bliss Balls, or these delicious Brownie Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bliss Balls.
- Dark chocolate
Good quality organic dark chocolate can actually be a good and healthy (occasional) snack. Dark chocolate packs a good amount of antioxidants, fiber, iron, and magnesium. The key is to get as dark chocolate as possible that hasn’t been mixed with additional ingredients such as sugar or milk. Again, the fewer ingredients, the better. Look for organic, 70-90% cocoa, and vegan.
- Organic popcorn
I’m not talking about the type of popcorn you get at the movies, kids. Popcorn can be a completely fine snack now and then if it’s the right kind. The right kind being organic and natural popcorn that’s not buttered or oiled. You can find plain organic popcorn in health food stores.
Try this: pop the kernels in a big pot with some coconut oil. Once popped, sprinkle a little bit of himalaya salt or cinnamon on it. Yum!
About the Author:
Tina is the creator of BananaBloom.com, the one stop spot for healthy recipes, yoga, and nourishment for both body and soul. With a big passion for the plant based lifestyle, as well as healthy food and living, she shares her recipes, tips, ideas, and inspiration through her blogging and social media channels.
Check out BananaBloom.com and be sure to follow along on social media!
Thanks to Tina for an awesome post providing us all with amazing healthy snack ideas for busy days!
What’s your favorite healthy on-the-go snack? Which one of these are you most excited to try?
Stay tuned – Next month, in honor of National Nutrition Month, I’ll be challenging you all to Snack Well! More details to come!