A Guide for Healthy Snacking
Sit back, relax and grab your favorite healthy snack. This comprehensive guide to healthy snacks will help prepare you to make nourishing choices to fuel your body in between meals.
Are you a chocolate lover but you’re concerned that it doesn’t love your waistline? Or perhaps you simply want some inspiration to avoid grabbing snacks that don’t support your wellness goals? If this sounds like you then read on!
Is it better to snack or not to snack?
If optimal health and wellbeing is your goal, you may be wondering whether regular snacking will support that. There are seemingly endless diets and nutrition theories. Many of these have conflicting information about what is healthy.
Some might suggest that snacking will very quickly put your caloric intake above what it needs to be. Or they might tell you that your digestive system needs time to rest, so eating in between meals is not ideal.
Conversely, other schools of thought will promote snacking as a great idea. They’ll explain that it stops you from getting too hungry and wanting to binge during meal times.
Or they might say that it helps give your metabolism a little boost each time you eat. That could be especially true, nowadays, in the world of nutrient dense superfoods- what if your healthy snack became your meal?
So which philosophies are correct? The answer is that there isn’t only one way to approach nutrition. Everybody is different. You are a unique and complex individual and what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you.
Instead, try to learn how to listen to your body. Provide it with the necessary fuel and nourishment that it needs to give you the energy and vitality to live your best life.
Does snacking serve you and nourish you?
Some people do very well by simply eating three (or less) meals per day. Other more rare folk take it further and eat once per day.
These people don’t get hungry between meals and can quite happily wait until the next meal comes around. They don’t get ‘hangry’ or feel like they need to eat a substantial amount during a meal to make up for it.
Generally, if a person functions and performs well without the need for healthy snacks, it is likely that they eat foods sufficiently high in protein and fat. This helps to satiate them through to the next meal.
Others will feel hungry in between meals, despite consuming sufficient protein and healthy fats. The simple truth is that we are all different.
You mustn’t conform to a philosophy that works for someone else’s body but might leave you feeling drained of energy, bloated or starving for your next meal.
If you like to eat slightly smaller meals supplemented with snacks through the day, this article is for you!
- We’ll help you determine what constitutes a healthy snack.
- Then we’ll tell you how to organize yourself for healthy snacking.
- Finally, we’ll share a comprehensive list of snack ideas for you.
How to prepare to eat healthy snacks
Forethought and preparation are important factors for creating a new healthy snack habit. Grabbing for an unhealthy snack from the vending machine during a three o’clock slump might be a habit you can relate to.
You may be aware that these types of snacks are loaded with sugar, refined carbohydrates and chemical additives. Most of all, Pesticides.
You can guarantee if it’s not organic, it most definitely contains an (un)healthy amount of good ‘ole pesticides.
You probably also know that these types of foods won’t support your goals of health and wellbeing.
First you’ll go through an almost inevitable post consumption energy crash.
Your afternoon snack choice could even lead to a cascade of poor food choices for the remainder of the day.
Here are some simple tips to help you get organized to eat healthy snacks:
- Don’t rely on quick fix options from vending machines when you feel a hunger pang.
- Anticipate that you will get hungry in between meals.
- Plan to have your own healthy snacks on hand. This involves re-planning your shopping list to include healthy snack items.
- Remember to pack them the night before you head out for the day, or in the morning before you leave.
- Get your freezer prepared with healthy snack items. On the days when you’re short on time or your fresh food stocks are getting low, you’ll be excited when you can pull your snack straight out of the freezer.
- Delicious desserts such as this raw chocolate espresso pie are well worth the initial effort. They’re ready to eat soon after you remove them from the freezer. As well as providing plenty of nourishment for your body, they’re super tasty.
- (Hold tight; we’re going to explain why chocolate is healthy shortly!).
- You can also stock your freezer with berries and pre-cut fruit. This is a great option for in-between seasons.
- When you’re transitioning towards healthier snack choices, make only one small change at a time. This will help ensure your changes are easier to stick to and that you’re more likely to turn them into a habit.
- Additionally, your body could respond adversely if you change from giving it a soft drink and a muffin every day to drastically cutting these things all together.
- Set yourself a new small target each week. That way your taste buds can evolve gradually and you can move more seamlessly into making healthier snack choices.
What constitutes a healthy snack?
The good news is that you have a huge range of healthy snacks to choose from. To keep things simple, aim to move away from highly processed snacks and toward less processed ‘real food’ items.
What constitutes real food?
Start by becoming more conscious about what you are eating.
Does your food item come from something that was once living (i.e. a plant, tree or animal) and is still close enough to its original form?
If so, then you can classify it as ‘real’ food. All food items are processed to some extent, but if you can gradually move away from those that have synthetic additives (colorings, flavorings, preservatives, etc.), this is a great start.
Remember: Preservatives are here to preserve the food, NOT you!
Additionally, you’ll want to consider how your snack item was processed. If you’re looking at a packet full of puffed up snacks made from ‘whole grains’, you can hazard a guess that any of the whole grain goodness was extracted long ago.
The result is a product that gives you a very brief ‘quick fix’ through any combination of sugar, chemicals, ‘bad’ fats and salt.
However, it doesn’t provide your body with the nutrients it is craving.
Instead of focusing on the foods you ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, try to ask yourself what will provide you with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that you need to thrive.
Before we move on to some specific ideas for healthy snacks, we know that you’re dying to know whether you can include chocolate in your healthy snack regime!
Is raw chocolate a healthy snack?
Not all chocolate is created equal. Let’s think about a typical processed chocolate bar that you will find in abundant supply at supermarkets, in vending machines and at gas stations.
The essential and original nutrient dense ingredient that makes chocolate is cacao. This is a wonderfully nutritious plant based food that is good for many ailments. It has been used as both a medicine and carrier of medicine for thousands of years.
However, what you find in highly processed chocolate bars is far from anything that could be called nutritious:
The cacao is roasted at a high temperature before being added to the chocolate bar, which decreases the nutrient quality in the process. This turns it into ‘cocoa’, which you’ll notice as a more common chocolate bar ingredient than pure, raw cacao.
If roasting the nutrients away to turn cacao into cocoa isn’t enough, many highly processed chocolate bars contain very little cocoa. Some may be called ‘chocolate’ but contain no cacao or even cocoa – so should white chocolate even be called chocolate?
The next step in destroying the nutrition quality of cacao in these highly processed chocolate bars is to add ultra-processed sugar, antibiotic-rich milk and artificial ingredients.
If this is the type of chocolate you feed your body then yes, she can become your enemy, and your body will suﬀer.
These adulteries of cacao are the dark seeds planted long ago that have grown into the modern-day urban myth of chocolate being bad for your health. When we’re talking about high quality raw chocolate, it’s quite the opposite – the benefits can be incredible.
High quality chocolate is giving big Pharma a run for their money on the $26 Billion Statin Drug industry.
Cacao contains theobromine, a mildly psychoactive stimulant. It has the power to both stimulate and relax without affecting the central nervous system.
It can also lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL cholesterol!
So can chocolate be included as a healthy snack?
The short answer is that if it is abused, through lack of awareness like overconsumption, poor food combining or by choosing low quality options, then it can be considered as unhealthy on anything more than an occasional basis.
However, the real ‘food of the Gods’ is so mineral rich, and just a few bites can be completely satiating. With so many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients Raw Chocolate can simply shut down appetite.
Raw Chocolate can certainly be considered a nourishing choice as part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Healthy snacks for when you’re in a rush
The first category of healthy snacks that we’ll discuss includes the foods that you can quickly throw into your bag for the day without too much preparation.
You’ll still need to be organized by having healthy snacks on hand, but you don’t need to put together a recipe.
It should be noted that snacking in a rush is not often a friendly approach for your digestive system. Make sure that on busy days you can still take the time to sit down and enjoy your snacks slowly!
Here is your list of healthy snack ideas:
1. Everyone loves chocolate!
Take nutrient rich, raw cacao to the next level with a raw chocolate bar that has added superfood goodness.
If you already know you’re going to love the health benefits of this one, then stock up with a six bar pack. Or try a lover’s raw chocolate bar packed full of Super-herbs, Aphrodisiacs, Medicinal Mushrooms, Hemp Protein and Mood Enhancers.
Alternatively, if you’ve got five minutes you could grab some raw, organic, vegan superfood cacao mix powder mix and whip up your own raw chocolate with this recipe..
2. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits and berries
Fresh seasonal fruit and berries, or those that you have frozen and then defrosted, make excellent choices for healthy snacks. With nutritional profiles to rival most other foods they can make a sweet, nourishing snack that is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
If you suffer from any digestive issues, eat fruits and melons by themselves. Berries may be ok to combine with other snack foods, just see what works for you.
Keep a jar of tasty olives on hand
These are high in ‘good’ fats to help with satiation. The saltiness should take away any cravings for highly processed packets of crisps.
3. Go nuts for nuts
These are another example of a healthy snack food. Proteins and fats will help keep you fuller for longer, and these tasty little morsels are full of nutrition.
Try a variety of different nuts according to your preferences, such as brazil nuts, almonds (or even better, raw chocolate covered and sprouted almonds!), chocolate covered macadamia nuts, cashews and walnuts.
For improved digestion, it is ideal if you can soak, or even better sprout your nuts before eating them.
4. Eat like your hunter-gatherer ancestors
Did you know that there are many benefits of macadamia nuts? One is that they contain the perfect 1:1 ratio of Omega 3’s and 6’s. And they contain the highest levels of Monounsaturated fat (Oleic Acid) of any nut. This is the ratio our ancient ancestors ate.
Today’s consumption of processed foods and grain-fed animals, including farmed ﬁsh, has led to an imbalanced ration of up to 20:1. Therefore, macadamia nuts are a nourishing choice to add to your list of healthy snacks.
Even better, you can take the benefits of this nut even further by choosing raw chocolate covered macadamia nuts to satisfy even the strongest cravings!
5. Super seed nutrition
Like nuts, seeds pack a powerful punch of protein, good fats and nutrients. Try snacking on pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, or for a big nutrition boost, chia seeds.
You can prepare them in advance simply by soaking them in water so they’re ready to go when you want them.
A member of the Sage family, Chia is the Mayan word for strength. Chia has easily digestible protein, vitamins, minerals antioxidants, soluble fiber and is high in Omega 3’s.
Referred to as Indian Running Food and used by the Inca’s and Aztecs, chia is really a superfood of superfoods!
Chia can build strength, endurance, energy, balance blood sugar and be a great colon cleanser.
6. Boiled eggs to fill you up
Prepare these in advance so they’re ready to go for busy days. The yolk consists mostly of good fats and the white part mainly of protein, so together they provide a satiating and nutrient dense healthy snack.
7. Other quick, healthy snack ideas
There are plenty of other healthy snack ideas that require little preparation. Basically you are good-to-go if it’s a whole food.
Some of these include leftover cuts of high quality meat, high quality full fat yoghurt, vegetable sticks (try things you can easily cut into sticks like carrots, cucumber, peppers and celery) and naturally fermented dill pickles or sauerkraut.
Easy recipes for healthy snacks
If you’ve got a little more time to prepare your fresh healthy snacks, you can go beyond your simple chia seed energy shot and put together a chia seed superfood bowl, a chia seed protein bar, or a raw chocolate chia seed energy pudding.
These can be prepared in advance and consumed later on. Chia seed puddings travel well if you put them into glass jars with a good screw top lid. That way you can tuck into them for a work time lunch or snack without any fuss.
Fruit lovers can go beyond a basic fruit snack and create a delicious fruit salad. Or silence more intense cravings with some raw chocolate candy apple wedges.
Finally, if all you really want to snack on is a cookie, then make your own delicious raw chocolate cookies.