You’ve heard the news… unprocessed food is IN. Processed junk is OUT! As a follow-up to my tips for not eating processed food, here are some snack ideas to make your life easier.
SNACK WARM-UP: The number one easy, quick, filling, nutrient-rich, tasty snack is…
FRUITS AND VEGGIES WITH NUTS AND SEEDS – With endless variations and different consumption mechanisms, this is what you can fall back on when everything is moving too fast. A pear with a handful of cashews… nothing could be easier. My gym owner carries around carrots. Like whole carrots. And then eats them when she’s hungry in the car. In her words, “every meal doesn’t have to be a party in her mouth.” My kids eat apple slices dipped in peanut butter most days of the week. I always have what I need to make myself ants-on-a-log (celery with almond butter and raisins). Sunflower seed butter is a great option when nut allergies are a concern. I attempt to be as seasonal as I can with my fruit and veggie purchasing. So right now we are all enjoying apples, pears and persimmons with almonds and pumpkin seeds.
POPCORN - Dress it up or dress it down, popcorn is a cheap crowd pleaser. It is pretty much a given that if I’m entertaining kids at my house there are empty bowls of popcorn strewn throughout the house. I use lots of coconut oil in my stove top popcorn popper and am generous with the seasonings at the end. This is my favorite popper that I’ve used and abused for YEARS: Wabash Valley Farms 25008 Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper (Affiliate link).
TOMATO, FETA, BEAN, BASIL SALAD – Who knew this salad could be so easy and so portable? It may look more like lunch (because it could be), but it also is my most recent FAVORITE afternoon bite to get me through the afternoon slump and on to the evening. You simply chop up a tomato (I find Roma tomatoes to be the most portable), cube an ounce of feta cheese, chop up a few leaves of basil, then layer it all with a quarter cup of drained and rinsed beans. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the top and add a pinch of salt and pepper if that sounds good.
And check it out, you can manipulate this salad into hundreds of versions: swap the tomato for cucumber, swap the feta for goat cheese, cottage cheese, parm shavings (or omit the cheese altogether), swap the beans for whatever bean you have that you like (or omit altogether), swap out the basil for any other fresh herb like cilantro, parsley, oregano, change the balsamic to another kind of vinegar or to olive oil, or to hot sauce.
ENERGY BITES - These are a kid favorite, and though the recipe calls for peanut butter, I’ve made all mine with almond butter. I also skimp on the honey a little and use the mini chocolate chips or raisins. Go to the recipe by Gimmesomeoven, you’ll be glad you did.
HUMMUS BOATS – I’ve made a lot of hummus in my day, but the moment it showed up in a “boat” my kids went crazy. It may look fancy, but it is really not. I simply use a melon baller for the cucumber and take the smallest amount out. I simply remove the stem from the mushroom. I simply cut the bell peppers a little wider than usual. Plop on the hummus (my go to recipe can be found here) and serve.
APPLE CIDER JELLIES - My son made these the other day without much help from me after I hollered the ratio of one cup liquid to one tablespoon Great Lakes gelatin. We had apple cider from our recent trip to the apple orchards near us, and just like that these snacks were invented. Bring one cup of a sweet juice to almost a boil, stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Take off the heat, pour into a mold (the more flexible the better to get them out), and place in the fridge for an hour or so until hardened. Pop out of the molds and enjoy!
FERMENTED SNACKS - Probably the number one thing I’d recommend to most people working on ditching processed foods would be to make choices that improve gut health. A great place to start is to incorporate probiotic, fermented foods into your snack routine. My choices include, kefir smoothies, kombucha drinks, fermented pickles, fermented sauerkraut, and yogurt parfait. Quality matters with these snacks. You need to do the research to make sure you are making or purchasing items that truly improve gut health. Pickles with added corn syrup or vinegar are not working for you. Store bought kefir and yogurt with added sugar and “natural flavors” aren’t great options either – you must read the labels. There are great brands out there for these items, but there are MANY brands that are not so great.
So tell me, what real food snacks are big in your life? I’d love to hear them!
Looking for more info on going “unprocessed?” Check out this link to the post with my tips for getting started!