What's the first thumb-rule when it comes to sticking to a healthy-eating plan? Don't get bored. Learn how to mix-and-match food elements to quickly whip up some delicious healthy snacks that promise to keep your energy levels high and your calorie count low!
Some people use “energy drinks” or “energy bars” or “energy pills”. This article however, is not about caffeine or other stimulants. It’s about helping you eat and be healthier so you will have more energy, naturally!
- Snacks that are packed by nature with real nutrients will make a difference in the way you feel.
- Healthy snacks will keep you from riding the roller coaster of ups and downs during the day.
- They will satisfy you so you don’t feel tempted by unhealthy “goodies” in the vending machine.
Good nutrition is balanced nutrition. It includes protein, complex carbohydrates like grains and fruit or vegetables, and good fat. Some fats are healthy, taste good, and best of all, they are very satisfying. If you eat an apple, that’s a pretty nice snack but in a couple of hours (or maybe sooner), you will feel hungry again. But if you serve that apple with some nuts, real peanut butter, sunflower seeds or real cheese, the good fat that they provide will keep you from feeling hungry so quickly.
Additional benefits of nuts and seeds are that they are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and protein. Combine them with fruit or vegetables and now you have a powerhouse snack that tastes delicious too!
Here are ten quick and healthy mix-and-match food combinations that are easy to prepare and pack and don’t rely on crackers or bread. Eat a smaller portion as a snack, or double up to create a meal. These snacks contain healthy fats, non-soy protein, fruits, grains, or vegetables. Yum!
1. Real Fake Pecan Pie
Eat one date with one pecan and you will have something that tastes much like pecan pie, but without any of the added sugar. You can eat 5 or 10 of these mini-real-fake-pies to satisfy your sweet tooth. I’d eat a few more pecans just for the heck of it, and to balance out the natural sugar in the dates.
2. Apple Or Pear With Peanut Butter Or Nut Butter
If you read the label on most jars of peanut butter, you will discover that if you just add flour, you could almost make cookies! Look for creamy or crunchy peanut butter or nut butter that is made with nuts only. It’s thicker and packed with more nutrition than butters that are made with shortening and sugar, or corn syrup. Pack the nut butter along with a sliced apple in a small container with a lid, for easy scooping.
3. Grapes With Cheese
Grapes can be fresh or frozen and served with small squares of real cheese. You could also serve the grapes with nuts. Grapes are one of the fruits that are heavily sprayed with pesticides – so if you can find the organic variety, that’s the best choice. Sometimes they cost only a few cents more than non-organic.
4. Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas (Green Pumpkin Seeds), And Raisins
Toss them into a small container or food bag for easy snacking. You can throw in anything else that you like too. Dried blueberries or cranberries, peanuts, chopped dates or even chopped preserved ginger are good options.
5. Hard Boiled Eggs And Tangerines
Eggs and tangerines come in their own biodegradable container and are fine without refrigeration for several hours. Loaded with protein, good fat, vitamins, and minerals – they are like eating little “sunshines”. Don’t be shy about eating the yolks. The yolks are the healthiest part of the egg! One egg is a snack, two eggs are a meal. You could replace the tangerine with an orange, a banana, grapes, a peach, a pear, an apple, a cucumber, or even a chunk of raw cabbage or several lettuce leaves.
6. Tomatoes, Celery, And Cheese
Small tomatoes and a stalk of celery with a few squares of real cheese make a dandy snack! You could substitute cheese with real peanut butter or nut butter.
7. Cucumber And Cauliflower With Tuna
You may be able to find small cucumbers that are just the right size for snacking. Break off one or two cauliflower or broccoli florets. Now you’ve got a nice crunchy snack and you can add a couple of ounces of tuna or canned chicken for protein. Mustard can be added to the tuna instead of mayo if you like. You can chop celery and onions into the tuna for a healthy change.
8. Avocado With Grapes
Pack half an avocado snugly in a food bag (so it won’t turn brown). When it’s snack time, just scoop it out of the shell with a spoon. Scoop as close as possible to the skin to get all the nutrients. Avocados are loaded with good fat and protein. Substitute grapes with any fruit or vegetable.
9. Oatmeal With Seeds, Nuts, And Berries
Whole grain oats or any other whole grains will give you a chewy, nutty cereal snack. You can bring it to a boil the night before and let it sit in the pot. In the morning, the consistency will be just right. Add a tablespoon of nuts and/or seeds, fresh, dried or frozen berries, and a dollop of coconut oil if you like. Add sea salt and cinnamon for a wonderful snack that can be served either cold or warm!
10. Beans With Salsa
Smash cooked or canned red, white or black beans and top it off with salsa. Eat cold or warm. A piece of fruit on the side completes this healthy snack.
You can boost your health and energy by eating snacks like these on a regular basis. Mix and match or make your own creations. None of these mini-meals take much effort to prepare and they are all nutrition powerhouses!