During some client sessions, we spend a lot of time coming up with meal and snack ideas. I find many people don't eat well not because they don't want to, but because they're not in the habit of it. It takes learning new habits—and also experimenting with new foods—to really change the overall pattern of a diet. After the last such session, where we spent at least 20 minutes brainstorming how to get fruits and vegetables into this family's diet, I thought "I really need to come up with some handouts!" And so this list of healthy snacks was born. You can also download it as a PDF if you want to print it out for a handy reference. What other healthy snacks do you love to have on hand?
Air-popped popcorn: Try this easy at-home techinique: Put 2 T. corn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top over a few times and cook in the microwave about 2 minutes. Topping ideas: a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmesan; nutritional yeast; chili seasoning mix
Whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter and banana, apple or pear slices
A whole-grain toaster waffle topped with nonfat ricotta and berries
Frozen berries, defrosted in the microwave, served with plain yogurtand a bit of granola for added sweetness and crunch
Fruit smoothie: Combine ½ banana, ½ c. frozen fruit (any combination of berries, peaches, mangos, pineapple), ½ c. plain yogurt and ½ c. of 100% fruit juice, milk or water. If it’s too tart, add a little honey. Could also add a few drops of vanilla extract, or a dash of cinnamon or ginger.
Raw veggies and dip (Veggies: carrot sticks, pepper slices, cucumber spears, cauliflower florets, celery sticks, radishes; Dip: hummus, ranch dressing, plain nonfat Greek yogurt gussied up with onion flakes, dried dill or mint and a little garlic—or mix the yogurt with ranch to get the flavor of ranch with more protein from the yogurt)
Raw fruit and dip (apples, pears, grapes, banana coins…if you’re feeling ambitious you can skewer them and make fruit kebabs). For a fun dip, try mixing plain or vanilla yogurt with peanut butter or cinnamon or some chocolate syrup.
Cinnamon apples: Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon
Mexican mango: Sprinkle mango chunks with lime juice, a little salt, and a little hot pepper. (This topping also works well on crunchy jicama).
Homemade whole-grain muffins or scones: I like to make morning glory muffins, or other muffins with fruit and nuts, using whole-wheat pastry flour instead of white flour.
Kale chips: Buy a bag of chopped, cleaned kale, spread it on a baking sheet in a single layer, toss with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) until crispy and a little brown (around 10 minutes).
Cheddar cheese, apple slices, carrot sticks, olives, roasted nuts: I love assembling platters of differently-textured foods to snack on. This combo has salty, sweet, crunchy and soft…perfect.