Snacks can be an important part of the day by helping to control blood sugar levels and to help control portions (and good decisions!) at meal time. You know what I’m talking about…you get home from work and you are starving and know that it may be another hour (or more depending on the kids’ schedules!) before eating dinner. So what do you do?
Come on, be honest…………
I promise, no judgement here. I know that it is very easy to grab for something fast and most likely processed (and full of empty calories!) Sure, pre-planning for meals is a big help to allow for faster meal prep, and we’ll talk about that another time. This discussion however will focus on having some healthy snacks around to tie you over until that next meal that won’t make you feel guilty after eating them and will help to control your portions at meal time so that you don’t gorge like your Labrador retriever!
Here are a few of my favorite snacks that you and your kids can enjoy anytime throughout the day that can tie you over until meal-time and satisfy a variety of cravings from sweet, salty, creamy & crunchy! Be sure to make extra to share!
Apple Pie Bites
These little treats are quick to make, easy to eat, nutritious and filling. Not only are they great snacks, but make a nice dessert treat too!
- 1 cup dates – pitted
- 1 green apple
- 1 pear
- 1 cup dried apple (or pineapple or whatever dried fruit you have; try to get the dried fruit without extra sugar)
- 1 ½ cups pecans (or hazelnuts, almonds or cashews) – leave these out and add more fruit if you have a nut allergy
- 1 ½ cups shredded dried unsweetened coconut
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 TBSP orange zest
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp sea salt
1. In a food processor, process the dates to be finely chopped
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.
3. Roll into balls and roll in extra dried coconut (if desired)
4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tamari Maple Roasted Chickpeas
There are SO many ways to prepare roasted chickpeas but I’ll share one of my favorites. A lot of people don’t think of chickpeas as a snack but they can make a deliciously satisfying mid-day treat. CAUTION – these can be mildly (ok, let me be honest – highly) addictive so you will want to portion them out into small containers or bags to avoid eating the whole can at one sitting; which I’ll admit I HAVE indeed done!
- 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed & carefully dried (with a paper towel to remove excess water)
- 1 TBSP 100% extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBSP tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 2 tsp 100% pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
- Mix all ingredients and spread out on parchment lined baking pans.
- Bake for about 25 – 35 minutes (depending on desired texture), stirring about halfway through.
Like the roasted chickpeas, there are so many different recipes for salsa and it is really a personal thing! Salsa and organic corn chips can make a quick snack. Don’t be afraid to use the leftover salsa for a condiment too – it can complement a variety of dishes ranging from veggies, potatoes, rice and even salads (I love making taco salads!) Oh, and don’t forget that it mixes beautifully with Notcho Nocheez for a queso-like snack!
- 3 cups tomatoes
- ½ cup green bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup green onions (can also add a tablespoon or two of chopped red onion)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 – 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno peppers (according to taste)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- Pulse a few times in a blender or food processor; or chop by hand!
While you may think of this as a dessert (it is!) it can also make a nice snack. If you crave a creamy & sweet healthy snack, this is a must have to keep in the fridge. Don’t tell the kids (or yourself, for that matter!) that it is made with avocados! This snack is very rich and full of fiber to give you quick satisfaction. I will keep a batch of this in my refrigerator often and have a tablespoon when I feel the need for a sweet snack or to finish off a meal that I feel needs a sweet ending. I find this snack to be very sweet & satisfying so a little goes a long way, but if you are concerned of over-indulging in this delicious chocolate treat, then definitely pre-portion into small containers.
- ¾ – 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
- 2 ripe organic avocados, peeled and pitted
- 2/3 cup raw organic cacao powder
- 1 TBSP. pure organic maple syrup
- ½ – ¾ tsp. ground organic cinnamon (or more according to taste)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise & seeds scraped
- Raspberries, to serve (or any berry)
- Toasted hazelnuts, to serve (if desired)
- Place the dates, avocado, cacao, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla seeds in a food processor and process until very smooth and fluffy. Stop to scrape the bowl a few times. (This will take a total of about 2 minutes)
- Serve the mousse in small glasses topped with raspberries and hazelnuts, if having dessert; otherwise, just a small scoop of the mousse makes a delicious & satisfying snack!
Of course, the traditional piece of fruit or carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes or other veggies, or a few almonds or olives are healthy go-to snacks that I continue to enjoy. These are staples in my fridge, but sometimes I like a little change and have enjoyed these other snacks to keep snack-time more exciting. Oh, and last comment, just in case you may have forgotten…sometimes we think we need a snack when in reality we need a big drink of water! Know your body and its signals – are you really hungry or just not drinking enough water? Remember, the basic guideline for drinking water is to drink half your weight in ounces (for a 150 pound person, that would mean drinking about 75 ounces of water/day).