I live for snacks. I know I should be saying I eat balanced meals and am satiated until my next meal, but that’s just not how I operate. I’m like a baby- I need to eat every three hours or so or I get real, real hangry. Ask my husband, he’s seen it. My aspirational self can ignore hunger pangs for what they really are (temporary drops in blood sugar, not a reason to panic) but I’ve learned I need to just work with myself. You can’t force a square peg into a round hole, and you (I) can only ignore hunger pangs for so many days before I crater and eat whatever is nearby.
So snacks it is. But with snacks, comes a conundrum. I know I need to be eating more vegetables. Everything I’ve read, all the credible resources that are out there, whether its paleo or vegan or gluten free or whathaveyou, say that eating more vegetables is better for your health. And that’s real tough in the snack world! I feel like all the easy, go-to snacks are grains, dairy, or nuts. Think about it- granola bars, oatmeal, yogurt, almonds, crackers, popcorn, chips- while very portable, there’s not a green thing in sight! I try to start off most mornings with a green smoothie so I get a good dose of greens first thing in the morning, but the rest of the day I’m eating basically a bunch of brown stuff.
Recently I’ve been trying to get creative with snacks in incorporate more vegetables. And while my suggestions may be obvious to you, it’s just not imprinted into my brain yet, and it may not be imprinted in yours either.
Non-grain, non-dairy, non-nut snacks:
- Good old fashioned baby carrots. The OG of portable veggie snacks, the baby carrot has been a staple since grade school. A nice crunch, a great source of vitamins and fiber, and low caloric volume. But I gotta be honest. I’ve been eating carrots for so long that I am definitely needing a change. Which leads me to my next snack…
- Cucumber slices. Love love love me some cucumber. I don’t know about you, but the smell, the taste, the crunch, everything about a cucumber is satisfying to me. Sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, it has enough flavor to feel satisfying and less like eating air. For snack purposes (or crudité trays) I like English cucumbers, which have a thinner skin and less seeds.
- Bell Pepper Slices. Green for a good crunch, red for a touch of sweetness. I love bell pepper slices, especially a combo of red, orange, and yellow, which is so pretty and have more delicate flavors than green. Bell peppers have high Vitamin A and Vitamin C content, and only 35 calories in a cup. They are tasty enough to eat on their own, which is exactly what I look for in a veggie snack.
- Edamame. This is a new thing for me! I like getting frozen edamame and bringing it to the office and keeping the whole bag in the freezer. Then, when I need a more filling snack, I can pop as much as I want in the microwave. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and you have a great treat. Edamame is a great source of iron and magnesium, and has 17g of protein in one serving!
- Grape tomatoes. This one I haven’t tried yet, but I’ve heard good things. I’m hit or miss on raw tomatoes- nothing is better than a ripe tomato straight from the garden with some salt and pepper, but ice cold tomatoes on a weak winter salad gives me the heebie jeebies.
All of these veggies are tasty enough on their own, without the need for half a cup of ranch. They play well with hummus and other spreads, but to get the most nutritional bang for your buck, stay away from salad dressings. If you are like me, you get plenty of fat in your diet from other sources (ie anything cooked with oil, nuts, etc).
Next time you are at the grocery store, instead of reaching for the granola bars, reach for something green. Here’s to happy snacking!