The following five energy-boosting snacks are unlikely to be completely new to you. In fact, I’m pretty sure these combinations are some of the most oft-cited foods for people looking for healthy pick-me-ups.
But what makes them so wonderful is the many, many ways you can vary each one. These are the five basic snacks I have on rotation—but I never get bored because I switch up the ingredients all the time.
These are great as pre- or post-workout snacks, to eat on the road, to take to work with you, or munch on as you study. Because they are composed of fruit/vegetables, protein and healthy fats, they will keep you full as well as providing necessary nutrients.
Hummus & Veggies
Who doesn’t like hummus? Is there anybody out there?
For those who have yet to become addicted, hummus (also spelled houmous, hommus and houmos) is a chickpea spread full of protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
There are so many kinds of hummus out there, and so many ways to use it. What’s your favorite flavor? Kalamata Olive, Pumpkin, Red Pepper, Cilantro Lime, Avocado… Hummusapien even has a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Hummus! Hummus is widely available in grocery stores, but it’s also super easy to make at home with a food processor, so get creative, Chef!
Then there are so many, shall we say, hummus vehicles. You can dip all kinds of things like pita bread, crackers, pretzels, celery, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes, asparagus, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, deli meat, etc. Spoons and fingers are good too.
Fruit & Nut Butter
One of my favorite snacks in the world is apple slices topped with peanut butter and raisins. As long as you choose natural peanut butter, it’s a perfectly healthy snack, especially when paired with fruit. Peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated fat, 7-9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per 2 tablespoons.
But there are other fruit/nut pairings to be made, too! Check out the Chilled Strawberry Almond Butter Soup, Cashew Cream Stuffed Strawberries, Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream and Almond Butter Apricot Bites.
Here’s the golden rule of lettuce wraps: Anything you can put in a sandwich can be put in a lettuce wrap. I invite you to take a moment to imagine the possibilities.
You can vary the wrap with different kinds of lettuce such as Romaine, Boston Bibb, Escarole, Butter, and Red Leaf, or even other greens like Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Cabbage, and Beet Greens.
For fillings, the world is your oyster. (Oyster Lettuce Wraps? Yes please.) Keep it vegetarian with tofu, hummus or beans. Try some fish/seafood, like tuna, shrimp, salmon, or trout. Or make life simple with chicken, turkey, pork or beef. Personally, I like to do a tuna, mayo & corn wrap or a combo of hummus and deli meat.
Edamame—soy beans in the pod—offers plenty of fiber, protein, iron and antioxidants. It’s also just plain fun to eat! If you like sushi as much as I do, you are probably familiar with edamame as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants. It can be found in many frozen aisles of grocery stores, available in the pod or as just beans.
There are lots of exciting ways to eat edamame besides just enjoying them with salt. There’s Crispy Parmesan Edamame, Edamame Succotash, or you could add them to this Honey Balsamic Bean Salad. My favorite way to eat them is with feta cheese, chicken and dried cranberries.
Trail mix is any combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other small foods like cereal, popcorn and M&Ms. It’s super convenient to take out with you, or to eat slowly at your desk. Nuts offer healthy fats, quickly metabolized carbohydrates and protein.
With that said, please be aware that nuts are high in calories, and dried fruit is high in sugar. This isn’t a reason to avoid them altogether, but you should take care not to overindulge if you’re not active and/or you’re trying to lose weight. Also, don’t buy pre-packaged trail mix unless you recognize everything on the label, and the sugar content is not too high.
Anyway, it’s more fun to put together your own trail mix! For ideas, check out The Greatist’s 21 Healthier Trail Mix Recipes To Make Yourself. My favorite is pistachios, cherries and pumpkin seeds with a small sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg.
What are your favorite energy boosting snacks? Comment below or tweet us @LitDarling!
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