Healthy Snacking

Many of the worst processed foods are snacks. People often snack during the day if they don’t have the time or knowledge to make satisfying meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes people snack because they’re trying to lose weight, and so they starve themselves during the times when they really should be eating. Then they get hungry and have to eat something right away. Unfortunately, snack foods are usually the highest in calories. So normally I do not recommend snacking. I think it’s best to eat filling, satisfying meals, even if that means including a good deal of fat. But nevertheless, snacking is often fun and satisfying, and there are plenty of foods that can serve as healthy snacks if you need them. Circumstances such as work, travel, or movie–watching often dictate the necessity for snacks, so here are some ideas that are both satisfying and healthy. I’m really enamored of tables this issue (much to the lament of my webmaster, aka my wife): here’s another one for you. Some of the suggestions here are adapted from a handout I give to my clients, which was written up by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Notice the fact that snacks are broken down according to whether they are sweet, salty, or crunchy, because when we snack it’s often one of those three things we’re looking for. You can combine suggestions from the different categories to satisfy multiple cravings.

Category Food Comment
Crunchy Snacks Apples (alone or w/ nut butters) Healthy and filling at the same time.
Rice cakes Not as healthy as real cooked brown rice, but better than constantly eating stuff made from whole wheat.
Popcorn One of the best snacks! Pop it in a pot with some olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and melted butter.
Carrots (with hummus) Satisfying crunchy/smooth combinations.
Celery (with peanut butter)
Nuts and seeds Also a nutritious snack.
Granola Much better than commercial cereals, though I still recommend cooked whole grains.
Sweet Snacks Fresh fruit Mangoes, berries, oranges, bananas, pears, etc.
Dried fruit Raisins, goji berries, papaya, whatever you like.
Frozen yogurt Be sure to use high–quality, organic ingredients when making snacks with dairy products, especially in the spring.
Homemade ice cream
Fruit juices Not to be used in place of water, but can satisfy a sweet craving.
Raw honey Good by itself or spread on something else. Excellent for pollen allergies.
Lemonade Best for the spring. See the “Master Cleanser” above.
Dark chocolate Perfectly all right in moderation.
Salty/Sour Snacks Olives A good source of both salt and fat.
Pickles or Sauerkraut The sour, refreshing kick from these foods will put an instant end to any sweet craving.
Cheese Good for staving off hunger; not a meal replacement though.
Hummus See recipe below.
Sardines or oysters Excellent source of protein if you’re going on a long trip.
Corn chips with guacamole See recipe in last year’s June issue.
Noodles with soy sauce If you’re hungry late at night but don’t want to eat something that will not digest well, quickly boil some soba or udon noodles (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores) and have them in a broth with some soy sauce. It should satisfy your hunger for the evening.