So often when we think snack food, we think of eating something that is quick and easy. This can result in eating processed foods (think food that is either packaged or boxed) with potentially little to no nutritional value. Snack food is not equivalent to junk food. Here you will learn why making your own snacks is important and how to make snacks with quality, wholesome ingredients.
What are benefits of making your own snacks?
The answer is simple. You decide the ingredients you use, and you determine the portion size. Making your own snacks ensures you have control over what and how much you are consuming. Plus, having healthy snacks on hand, especially on busy days, can help curb hunger and prevent overeating later.
What constitutes a healthy snack?
Protein and fiber are two nutrients key to successful snacking. Both are satiating and will help you feel fuller longer.
Food quality is important when discerning what constitutes a healthy snack. Quality foods are nutrient-dense and rich in vitamins and minerals. When assessing food quality, simply choose ingredients or food items that are as close to their natural state as possible. An easy example would be choosing to consume a whole apple over apple juice or apple sauce.
It’s inevitable that processed food (i.e. any food item in a bag, box or plastic wrap), will be a part of our diet to some degree. If you are eager to reduce your processed food intake or embrace a whole-foods philosophy, a general rule of thumb is to purchase products that contain only ten ingredients or less. Additionally, make sure that you can pronounce every ingredient listed. This ensures that you are supplementing your diet with quality, nutritious snack foods. For reference, the ingredients list is usually found under or next to the nutrition facts section on food labels.
Healthy Snacking Recipes
Make-Your-Own Trail Mix
- Granola pieces
- Coconut Flakes
- Berry of choice (dried or freeze dried)
- Dried apricot pieces
- Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
- Almonds (option to use rosemary herb marcona almonds)
- Optional: Add sea salt or another savory herb (basil, thyme, marjoram)
Directions: To make your own trail mix, you decide the portion amount for each ingredient. Mix all ingredients together and bag. Consider portioning into smaller zip lock bags that can be used throughout the week for on-the-go, healthy snacks.
Nuts are low in carbs but rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Dried fruit is high in fiber but can also be high in sugar. Consider reducing the serving of dried fruit is you are conscious of sugar intake.
Greek Yogurt-Dill Dip
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- ½ tsp. to 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh dill chopped or ½ tsp. dried dill
- squeeze of lemon juice (more or less if you prefer)
Optional: Spice it up by substituting 1 tbsp. of curry powder for the dill and lemon juice. Add sea salt to taste.
Directions: Mix all ingredients together either in the yogurt cup (for a single serving) or in another bowl (to share). For a dairy free or vegan version, consider using an avocado as the base. White beans or soaked cashews pureed in a blender can also be substituted for the Greek yogurt base.
Dip veggies like sliced cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers, whole grain crackers, or sweet potato chips and enjoy.
Plain Greek Yogurt is rich in protein and contains no refined sugars. The vegetables and whole grain crackers are fiber rich. Incorporating herbs and spices into your diet is a health-conscious way to flavor food. Standard condiments and dressings can be notoriously high in refined sugars and other additives.
Originally posted on ourhealthconcierge.com on April 4, 2017