Nosh Know-It-All – How to Choose Healthy Snacks
Anyone who watches their weight or exercises regularly knows it is crucial to give their body the right fuel. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, choosing the right snacks is very important.
I am often asked at the store for healthy snack options and recommendations. Having healthy and filling snacks available to us at all times is very important when sticking to a healthy diet. Snacks help to get through the tough part of the afternoon; that time between lunch and dinner, when we often feel we are “crashing” and need a fix to get us through the rest of the day. Having healthy snacks on hand are also great because without quick and easy food available we might feel tempted to grab a muffin or a donut to satisfy that urge.
So what are the better options? While lean protein and eggs are great, a portable alternative would be protein bars. Not the sugar-rich granola and chocolate “snack” bars lining the shelves at the grocery store, but good quality bars made from plant protein or whey protein, which have good amounts of protein, fibre, heart-healthy essential fatty acids, and even added minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes.
Whole foods like nuts and seeds, veggies and fruits, are snacks that are even simpler than bars. Top choices to address cravings and do a world of good for your body are:
1. Fresh fruit or dry fruits/berries. Always great snack. I prefer fruits in the morning or before lunch. Choose organic fruits. I like to make mixes with dried mangos, goji berries, golden berries and mulberries. Highly nutrition and delicious.
2. My second favourite snack is an apple with some nut butter and a dash of cinnamon. Nut butters have lots of protein and healthy fats. They balance the sugar in the apple and give you a satiated feeling. Cinnamon adds a very nice flavour, as well as balances blood sugar.
3. More savoury snack is: Celery or carrots or gluten-free crackers with hummus. I love brown rice crackers or quinoa crackers (Enerjive Quinoa Skinny Crackers) with Sunflower Kitchen hummus.
4. Trail mix. Make yourself a trail mix with your favourite mix of nuts, seeds and dry fruits. I carry a zip lock with my own trail mix everywhere. If I am out and about and get hungry, it’s my go-to snack.
My signature trail mix: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dry apricots, dry cranberries, goji berries, sacha inchi seeds, cacao nibs.
5. Snack or protein bars. Snack bars are easy and nutritious. There are lots of them on the market. Here are a few of my favourite brands that I always recommend to my clients and customers as the store. Vega One (All-in-One meal bar, packed with protein, fibre, Omega-3s, plus vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics and greens), Vega Snack Bars (gluten-free, whole food bar you can feel good about), Vega Sport protein bar (provides you with 15 grams of complete, plant-based protein). Also: Pro-Bar, Go-Macro Bar, Lara Bar, Elevate-me bar, Art of Raw bar and Kewaza Energy balls.
Natalie Petyashina, RHN Holistic Nutritionist, is the owner of Vibrant Lifestyle Health Store, Wellness and Nutrition Centre in Liberty Village. vibrantlifestyle.ca