· By Najwa Khan
10 Healthy Snacks to Reach for When Midday Cravings Hit
Author: Noelle Khan
When sugar cravings or a bad case of the munchies hit you late in the afternoon or right before bed, it’s easy to opt for a “convenient” packaged treat. Unfortunately, a number of these so-called “convenient” snacks stocked up at your local grocer – think refined sugar filled cereal bars or potato chips crisped up in soybean oil, are not the smartest options for when you’re feeling a bit peckish. At Dalci, we recognized this gap in the market for a dessert and snack alternative with all natural, feel-good ingredients. On days when we’re not munching on our brownies and blondies, you can catch us opting for another healthy and quick alternative. Ditch the junk food and ease your cravings with 10 of our go-to brain and mood boosting snacks.
- Almond Butter Stuffed Dates: We LOVE this simple recipe from Choosing Chia. For one, it uses just 4 all-natural ingredients and takes fewer than 10 minutes to whip up. Dates are a great afternoon pick-me-up for when you need a quick sugar fix, but don’t want to risk an energy crash. This recipe calls for Medjool dates – an ooey gooey stone fruit that’s soft in texture with a rich caramel taste. Not only are dates sinfully sweet, they’re also memory boosting and rich in fiber. If your diet is lacking in healthy fats, you’ll feel great about stuffing your dates with almond butter. According to the Mayo Clinic, foods rich in monounsaturated fats, like almonds, are great for lowering high cholesterol levels, and your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
- Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Mix: Since we’re big dark chocolate fans, we decided to sneak this antioxidant rich ingredient into our classic brownie and almond butter blondie. When we’re not enjoying our cocoa rich brownie or dark chocolate chip blondie, you can find us munching on Whole Food Bellies’ fruit and nut mix with dark chocolate chunks. This homemade trail mix takes no time to prep and is loaded with all-natural, sweet and savory nuts, seeds, dried berries and nibs. You can feel good about this crunchy snack given the mix of nutrient-dense nuts and disease defending chocolate. The results of one comparative study suggests that cocoa powder and dark chocolate have more antioxidants than common superfoods like blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates. Antioxidants protect the body against inflammatory diseases triggered by oxidative stress.
- Banana Nice Cream: Nothing beats the taste of a lush and creamy frozen treat on a hot day. Instead of opting for a traditional pint of ice cream loaded with cholesterol increasing saturated fat, do your heart a favor with a fruity alternative. Rich in potassium, a banana-based nice cream may just keep your heart health in-check. An earlier study found the intake of potassium supplements among participants to be effective in preventing and treating hypertension. Go ahead and give one of the Minimalist Baker’s 10 flavor options a try for days when you’re craving earthy matcha, classic cookie dough or salted caramel.
- Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas: If your taste buds crave the crunch of classic salty snacks like pretzels, you’re going to obsess over these oven-roasted chickpeas from Love & Lemons. A better-for-you crunchy alternative, these snackable legumes are coated in olive oil and flavorful spices like smokey paprika and fragrant curry powder. Not only does this savory alternative pack some serious flavor, it’s also high in protein and fiber which is perfect for curbing your appetite until dinner rolls around. An Australian study that looked at the effects of a chickpea supplemented diet over the course of twelve weeks, found the diet successful in increasing feelings of fullness and lowering the consumption of processed foods.
- Kale Chips: You won’t regret tossing aside an empty calorie bag of potato chips for a vitamin rich bowl of crispy kale chips. If you’re feeling fancy and have a few extra minutes to spare in the kitchen, we recommend giving Oh She Glows’ spin on this easy snack a go. Tossed in coconut oil and coated in cheesy nutritional yeast, onion powder, and smoky paprika, there’s no doubt these vegan and gluten-free kale chips are finger licking good. Best of all, like all cruciferous veggies, they’re rich in vitamin K – an essential nutrient that supports strong bones.
- Muesli Bowl: If you find yourself craving a cold bowl of cereal, why not opt for a fiber packed bowl of muesli instead? If you’re not familiar with Bircher muesli, it was invented by a Swiss physician in the early 1900s after he used raw foods to cure a bout of jaundice. The original recipe called for a mix of raw apples, nuts, oats, tart lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. For a modern twist on this old-time classic, we recommend giving Cookie and Kate’s recipe a try. This revamped recipe uses almond milk instead of condensed milk and includes a healthy dash of cinnamon for a flavor kick and a tablespoon of nut butter for added creaminess. As part of a healthy diet, the fiber-rich raw oats in muesli make a great whole grain option for keeping hunger and glucose levels at bay.
- Homemade Hummus: We love chickpeas so much that we decided to sneak this protein packed legume into our list of go-to snacks twice. Not only are they perfect for roasting, chickpeas are also ideal for whipping up into a classic savory or sweet hummus. For a savory option to dunk carrot sticks into or smear onto a slice of toasted sourdough, we recommend blending up Gimme Some Oven’s garlicky hummus. Not only does raw garlic add a spicy kick to this recipe, it also releases a powerful compound ideal for alleviating sore muscles. For a dessert alternative that tastes like creamy frosting, go ahead and give Don’t Waste the Crumbs’ easy to whip up chocolate hummus a try.
- Chocolate Avocado Pudding: There’s nothing better than the mighty avocado. This trendy fruit can be smashed onto toast, diced into a salad, or blended up into a dairy-free pudding. Like almonds, avocados are rich in the “good” kind of dietary fats that keep you satisfied for longer all while supporting a healthy heart. One recent study even found the daily consumption of one whole avocado over the course of 5 weeks to be effective in decreasing “bad” cholesterol levels in overweight adults. Based on the latest research, do your heart a favor and give How Sweet Eats’ chocolaty avo pudding a try.
- Baked Apple Chips: If you can’t get enough of fall inspired treats, you’ll love Well Plated’s refined sugar free, two-ingredient (yes two!) apple chips. This easy recipe is a delicious cinnamon coated snack you can seriously feel good about (they weren’t kidding when they said an apple a day keeps the doctor away). We loaded tart granny smith apples into our Apple Spice Blondie after reading up on ALL the awesome benefits this super fruit has to offer. According to an article published in the Nutrition Journal, apples contain phytochemicals or antioxidants which according to early research, can lower risks of cancer when consumed in high amounts.
- Green Smoothie: What better way to sneak extra greens into your diet then with an easy to prep and blend green smoothie. Ideal for snack time, Joy Food Sunshine’s green smoothie is packed with vitamin rich spinach, chunks of frozen tropical fruit and unsweetened nut milk for extra creaminess. You can feel good chugging on this smoothie, knowing that the powerful antioxidants in spinach like vitamin A are protecting your body against unwanted conditions and diseases, like breast cancer for example, caused by oxidation.