As promised I will share with you my secrets on healthy snacking today. As a student in her second last semester I went through quite a few exam-prep and thesis-writing periods, when all I could do the whole day was sitting at a table and study. And I have to admit: studying makes me ravenous and snacky and doesn’t leave a lot of time to cook up decent meals. So often between breakfast and dinner all I do is munch on whatever my hands can grab. The only way to avoid gaining unnecessary pounds in periods like this is making sure that I have the right snacks around.Be assured: the snacks below will not take a lot of time to be prepared and they are also easy to bring to university, school, work, Starbucks or wherever you plan to spend some hours of sitting and munching.
Let’s start with the obvious:
Fruit. Of course, who doesn’t know that snacking on fruit is healthy and good for you. It’s just usually not what you crave? Still, make sure that you have a pile of delicious, seasonal fruit at home and bring an apple or a banana wherever you go. You would wonder how often I craved an apple at the office and all I could go for was the vending machine – never a good choice.
But fruit can also easily be upgraded to something you start to crave:
Bananas for example are one of my go to snack foods. I love to wrap them in fresh crunchy lettuce and drizzle some nut butter on top or serve frozen chunks of banana with nut butter and cacao powder. Messy, but when they melt in your mouth you forget that you have to clean the kitchen counter later.
Another fruit that tastes a lot better frozen are grapes. I prefer the dark red kind, the bigger the better. To make cool little candies out of them, I grab a zip lock bag, place them individually inside and freeze them for 2 hours. Afterwards you are good to go. Especially nice during summer time and way easier to eat along studying than my other summer love: watermelon.Something you might not associate with snacking are vegetables, but actually they are the best thing to nibble on when you are not really hungry. Make yourself a colorful plate of crudités. Add a dip (I love to dip my veggies in ayvar, a hot bell pepper dip) or drizzle some olive oil and sea salt on top. One of my secret addictions is preserved cabbage (no I am not pregnant, it’s my Russian heritage), I drizzle it with cold-pressed sunflower oil (another Russian thing) and sea salt and could eat it until bursting.
A good way to combine fruit, vegetables and protein for a filling snack is to make a green smoothie. Use banana (preferably frozen) and spinach/kale for a base and add from here on whatever you like. A few of my favorite green smoothie ingredients are:
- protein powder (hemp or whey)
- flax or chia seeds
- almond milk
- frozen berries
- nut butter
One thing I made for Jay and me when we were studying this week is a batch of trail mix. I never buy trail mix in a store, since they usually put lots of sugar and preservatives in and it’s way to easy to make it at home. For the trail mix pictured above I simply combined whole wheat cereal, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds with sea salt and dried cranberries. It was gone in no time.
Also a good snack to grab and go are protein bars. I always get the creeps when I read through the ingredient list of protein bars in stores. Half of the ingredients are stuff I’ve never heard of before – and I am a foodie, my favorite fruit is the rambutan, just saying. So a few weeks ago I came up with my own recipe for an All Natural Protein Bar – no protein powder needed. Try this one or use google search for other healthy homemade snack bars.
And if the chocolate craving is hitting you. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to go and eat an apple. I even developed a solution for that at some point. Easy homemade dark chocolate buttons which are actually little healthy-fat bombs.
Another thing I recommend to keep your stress levels and your pant size down is to get outside for some fresh air at least once a day. It doesn’t matter if you make the time for a thirty minute walk or a short run, the few sun rays you might catch and the oxygen will raise your spirits.
What are your tips and tricks for healthy snacking and stress reduction?