Whether on the run or part of the daily routine, snacking can be nutritious and beneficial if you a little planning is involved. It’s all about grabbing the right snacks that keep you satisfied and energized.
If you like those crunchy, salty and crisp chips, there are better options out there. The worst thing about chips isn’t necessarily the potato but the oils they’re fried in! There are healthier options on the market now that use sweet potatoes kettle cooked in coconut oil—look for Jackson’s Honest Chips (We recommend sea salt flavor with just 3 ingredients so be sure to always check labels). And if you’re willing to go beyond potato, try some salted kale chips. They are easy to make yourself and also widely available in stores these days.
Wheat Crackers > Seed Crackers
Whether you eat your crackers straight out of the box or alongside some cheese and wine, it’s certainly a go-to staple in many people’s pantry. Unfortunately, wheat crackers are highly processed and full of white flours, often contain sugar and a whole bunch of other ingredients, making it far from a whole food! Make a switch to a gluten free seed cracker like Mary’s Gone Crackers or try a raw cracker made with seeds and vegetables such as Brad’s Raw Chips.
Pretzels > Raw Nuts and Crudité
A lot of people turn to pretzels thinking they are a good choice that’s low in fat and calories. However, low fat is not a good measure for eating healthy, and pretzels are again made with refined white flour that will raise your blood sugar quickly and actually make you hungry for more snacks later. Instead, try crunchy raw vegetables like celery and cucumber or raw nuts.
Gummy Bears and Jelly Beans > Berries or Freeze Dried Fruit
These cute sugary little darlings are loaded with, yes, sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. They offer absolutely no nutritional benefits and al the sugar will just make you want even more sugar! Instead reach for some colorful fresh berries or try some frozen cherries or grapes. Freeze-dried fruit is another fun option—and kids love it too!
Chips & Salsa > Plantains & Homemade Salsa
Corn is one of the most commonly genetically modified foods, so if you’re eating it, make sure it’s organic. Another issue is the type of oils that the corn is fried in; making chips a pro-inflammatory food. Instead, try making plantain chips and serve them with guacamole or homemade salsa loaded with antioxidant rich tomatoes, fresh herbs and metabolism boosting chili. Or try the chips with Amanda’s cashew cream cheese. If you’re not up for the cooking, chopped raw vegetables or those Brad’s Raw Chips work great too.
Microwaved Popcorn > Organic Homemade Popcorn
Mmmm…that intoxicating smell of freshly popped popcorn is so comforting to many of us. Unfortunately, the combination of the bags they’re packed in, the microwave, the oils and flavorings and the salt make those popcorn movie nights far from healthy. Instead, make it a point to make your own! Buy organic corn kernels and pop them the old school way using either coconut oil or ghee. Use real sea salt (like Celtic salt or Himalayan sea salt)—and if you like it buttery, use real, grass fed butter! Try adding some heat with cayenne or try nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor without the dairy!
Granola Bars > Nuts and Seed Bars
Sure, in a pinch a bar is an easy option and often the best among many less healthy ones! However, so many granola bars are very high in sugar, containing several different sweeteners in addition to dried fruit and grains, which make them sound more like candy than food. Instead, you can try making your own bars using nuts, seeds and a little honey—or simply pack a little bag of your favorite nuts and seeds with a few pieces of dried fruit and call it a day. If you have to reach for a snack bar, pick one with 5g of sugar or less and with pronounceable real ingredients. Thankfully there are more and more options like that out there and the Kind bar is basically taking over the deli and airports. Not an everyday food but a fine option on the go.
Roasted Nuts > Raw or Sprouted Nuts
Nuts are great for snacking filled with satisfying healthy fats, fiber and minerals. However, roasted nuts have been cooked in pro-inflammatory oils like soybean oil, corn oil or canola oil. These oils go rancid quickly and when heated during roasting they oxidize. Instead choose raw nuts, or even better, sprouted nuts. These are easier to digest and the sprouting makes the nutrient more bio-available.
Gum > Real Food
Lastly, a few words about gum. Although it’s technically not a snack, I see a lot of people who chew gum either as a way to ‘trick’ themselves to NOT eat or to freshen their breath. Most gum contains artificial sweeteners, which actually increase your appetite and the chewing stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and signals the brain that it’s time to eat—so basically, it works against you if your goal was to suppress hunger. The sugar alcohols can also cause bloating and digestive discomfort. So, if you’re hungry, have some real food and quit the gum habit once and for all.