Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas

After a workout or just because it’s 3 o’clock, I find myself looking in the kitchen for a quick snack. If I let myself get too hungry this doesn’t usually go well for me and I’m quickly regretting a handful of chips or sweet treats. My husband and kids are even worse at this because while I at least intend on looking for a healthy snack, they would really be happy with a bowl full of sugar. So to help direct all of us to the better food choices, I posted a list on the fridge of snack ideas. This list of food is generally in our fridge or cupboards at all times, hence easy to grab while balancing our busy days! For those who are commuting beyond their home office, this will lend a hand with ideas of easy snacks to pack for the workday too!

The downloadable PDF is at the bottom…keep reading!

Keep in mind that a lot of factors go into these items that make them what I would consider healthy.

For one, quality. I love a Ritz cracker as much as the next 80’s kid, but nutritionally, they are worthless. Our crackers are 100% whole wheat or gluten-free for me. This gluten-free thing is a slippery slope too. Gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy! My crackers are grain based, like with rice or quinoa — not potato starch which in my opinion, is the equivalent of eating white bread. I follow the Environmental Working Group’s list of the “dirty dozen” — 12 fruits and vegetables that usually contain the most pesticides and should be bought organically. Also regarding quality, pay attention to the ingredients in anything processed. Read the labels of the ranch or hummus you buy (or make your own — here is my traditional recipe and black bean hummus!) to be sure you are getting the most pure, whole food possible. And watch that sugar intake with things like the yogurt, smoothie or muffins. I don’t mean Costco size muffins — I’m referring to a homemade, you control the ingredients kind of muffin.

The other big factor is what you like to eat! My list may not be your list. We can’t eat healthy if the options provided to us don’t taste good, I get that. However, for those who have trained their taste buds to love diet coke and donuts, it isn’t fair to turn up your nose to a vegetable at the first try. An open mind in the kitchen can put you on a path to healthier eating — stubbornness will keep your jeans fitting tight. Your choice.

I am a huge proponent of eating foods that complement each other and teaching my kids about why we need different nutrients in our diet. Did you know that you will actually absorb more beta carotene from a carrot when eating with eating it with (a healthy) fat? So don’t feel bad about that ranch you dip it in! The Bolthouse ranch dressing is our favorite! This is the case for other nutrients as well. Combining carbs and proteins — say grapes and a hard-boiled egg or cheese and crackers — are the perfect combo. Complex carbs like fruit, whole grains and beans help keep us energized while protein helps keep us feeling full, longer. Eating them together helps regulate the sugar spike you may get from just grabbing a piece of fruit on it’s own. These snack combos are not created with an exact science, but it’s a great start to smarter snacking.

Lastly, this list is for a household of relatively healthy and active people. If you take medication or have any conditions that affect your food intake or overall health, consider those factors when referring to the list.

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