Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snack on real food

One area of the diet people tend to compromise on often is snack foods. A lot of us plan three meals per day, but what about when that mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon hunger strikes? It can be tempting to grab cookies or chips or even (gasp!) a candy bar if you haven't planned ahead or you're out and about.

Some folks don't snack much but I've been pregnant, nursing, or both for three and a half years. That means I'm hungry all day long--I'm sure some of you can relate! In order to provide nourishing foods throughout the day for myself and my babies I have to plan ahead.  The good news is, eating healthier snacks does not have to add any extra time to your busy schedule!

Vegetable tray DSC00883

Some of our favorite healthy snacks :
::Homemade ranch dip and veggies. I like to keep a bunch of this ranch dressing mix on hand. It is so good, and my husband even agrees that it tastes better than pre-made dips. Just stir two tablespoons into two cups of sour cream and you're good to go! I usually buy veggies and cut them up myself but if you buy baby carrots and other pre-cut veggies, the prep. time is even less.
::Fresh, canned, or dried fruit. I always keep organic apples and bananas on hand, as well as other seasonal fruit. If you need a protein boost, dip your apples or bananas in nut butter. While fresh fruit is always healthier, fruit canned in its own juice and unsweetened applesauce can be healthy options. So can dried fruit, as long as you avoid selections with added sugar and preservatives.
::Leftover breakfast foods. I often hand out cold (or toasted) leftover pancakes or muffins for a snack--especially if we don't have enough left to make it a full breakfast meal the next day. 
::Yogurt. We all really enjoy yogurt. And, I'm so glad the children love it because it the good bacteria in it is so healthy! I like to make my own, but if I run out or don't have time, I buy a big container or organic, plain, whole milk yogurt. It's more cost effective than buying small cups of it and I prefer to flavor it myself to avoid excessive amounts of sugar. Normally, we just drizzle in some raw honey and, if we have them, berries.
::Cheese and/or nuts. A slice of cheese (preferably organic, raw cheese--but any cheese will do!) or a small handful of nuts is easy to grab and either one can provide some good nutrition and a filling energy boost. 
If you are in a pinch and need to get something pre-packaged, it is still possible to make healthier choices. Our grocery store has a natural foods aisle where I am able to find a few healthy snack options. Look for foods made with whole grains and natural sweeteners (evaporated cane juice, honey, etc.) and definitely check the label to make sure it does not list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.

When I find them for a good price, I get Clif Crunch granola bars (the Oats & Honey variety). Not only do they not contain white sugar, but they also don't have any soy--an ingredient we try to avoid that is found in almost all prepackaged foods. We also enjoy Kettle brand potato chips (the "sea salt" and "sea salt and vinegar" varieties, as the others appear to have MSG) and tortilla chips made from organic corn.

So there you have it--several of our favorite healthy snacks that take little to no time to prepare and most of them will even please picky eaters.

What does your family like to snack on?


  1. Thank you for the post I trying to eat healthier and need all the ideas I can get.

  2. Great list! It's hard to snack healthy but all of these things are yummy and my family loves them!! :)

  3. I am a vegetarian and eat a lot of soy. I am wondering why you try to avoid it? Thanks!

  4. Here is a link to an article that pretty much sums up our concerns about soy:

  5. I'm with you on the breakfast food, especially if it's smaller pancakes or french toast that you can eat with your fingers!

    I was wondering where you manage to get fruits and veggies in the winter? I noticed that your photo has a lot of fresh produce. Do you just pay more for imported? We have mostly potatoes/cabbage/carrots around here, and those aren't the best eaten raw, with the exception of carrots. Cucumbers/tomatoes are crazy expensive in the winter, and not very fresh!

    Soups and pickled veggies are more common here in winter, but those don't really fall into the snacking/finger food category.

  6. @Elizabeth, that picture is actually one I got off Flickr Creative Commons (if you click it, it takes you to the photographer's page).

    But, unfortunately, I'm not super great about eat local/seasonal. I buy of our product organic at the grocery store. The closest farmers' market is almost an hour away, so I don't make it out there very often.

  7. Oh, okay. I have been making mini-pancakes lately to snack on (I added banana last time), so thanks for the tip!