We reached out to you guys to see if there were any other pressing Kitchen Questions, and MAN, did you deliver!
One of the most repeated questions was “how can I snack healthier, but with something easy and portable?” That’s an awesome questions, and a tough one.
We all know that perishable, whole foods are the best way to snack, but sometimes you can’t lug around a chicken breast and half a cooked sweet potato.
[Image from www.thehealthymaven.com]
So, how do you snack better, but keep things (more) shelf-stable?
Snacks are just like little meals, so we want to keep all of our good, balanced planning in mind even when we snack. That means trying to include veggies, lean protein and healthy fats in each snack.
First of all, some perishable snacks are hardier than others. An apple, pear, orange, peach, plum or nectarine can last for a couple of days on your desk. Pair it with some nut butter and you’ve got a pretty decent, easy snack with protein and whole foods. The same goes for veggies – carrots and celery last better for longer than most other cut up veggies (broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes are also pretty decent). Keeping carrot sticks (or whole carrots) in a cold water bath in your fridge, or the work fridge, will keep them crispy for ages. Same-ish goes for celery.
Another good sort-of perishable snack is string cheese. It lasts longer and is more portable than a brick of cheddar, and comes pre-portioned for you. Look for brands where the only ingredient is cheese. Pair it with some nuts and those crispy carrots and you’ve got yourself a healthy snack.
On the subject of nuts, your own trail mix is a great, portable snack that lasts. Basically, pick your fave nuts, seeds, dried fruits and add in some spice. Bam! Snack (containing protein and healthy fat) in a bag! Here’s a recipe that might just even include some dark chocolate:
Trail Mix (from The Healthy Maven)
Ingredients: 3/4 cup raw pecans (oven-toasted for 10 mins at 350 degrees F), 3/4 cup raw cashews (oven-toasted for 10 mins at 350 degrees F), 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds, 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds, 1/2 C unsweetened, unsulfured cherries, 1/2 C unsweetened, unsulfured raisins, 1/2 C chopped 82% dark chocolate, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg
Instructions: Mix it in a bowl, put in in a bag. Enjoy!
Often protein can be the toughest part of a snack to incorporate, so here are some of my go-to options:
- Can of tuna – you can eat it on its own, in between cucmber slices, or toss it into some cottage cheese
- Speaking of which; cottage cheese (or Greek yogurt)! Yummy on its own or with berries and cinnamon, or with veggies dipped into it
- Hummus – you can make it yourself or buy it prepared, easy and tasty
If you’ve got some time, you can also make your own meat jerky. Super easy if you have a dehydrator (slice the meat and turn on the machine), and easy even if you don’t. Here’s an amazing recipe that uses ground meat instead of strips.
Ground Beef Jerky (from Wellness Mama)
Ingredients: 2-3 lbs of ground beef (or venison, elk, bison, etc.), 1-3 TBSP sea salt, pepper (to taste), garlic powder, coconut oil (and/or soy sauce), spices to taste
Instructions: Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Oil the bottom of a large baking sheet (one with a lip). Mix the meat and spices together. Using the side of a glass or a rolling pin, roll the meat evenly on the sheet, aim for about a 1/4″ thickness. You can score where you want the jerky strips to be, or cut it after it’s cooked. If desired, brush the top with coconut oil or soy sauce and sprinkle with a little more salt. Bake for 8-12 hours, or until hard. Try to flip once – if you start at night and flip in the morning, you should be fine. The jerky will harden after cooking as well, so cut it early. Keeps for a couple of weeks unrefrigerated, or probably forever frozen.
Don’t worry vegetarians, I’ve got you covered too. These tasty bites are full of protein, and can be sweet or savoury. You can also toss them in your trial mix for a more balanced snack.
Before you do anything else, make sure that you’ve prepped you chickpeas:
- Sort them: make sure that any debris or bad beans are removed.
- Wash and soak them: soak them for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight for 8-10 hours before cooking. They’re finished soaking when you can easily split them between your fingers.
- Cook them: Simmer them until tender. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days in Tupperware
Ingredients: 2 C cooked chickpeas (or 15oz can), 1 1/2 tsp EVOO, dash salt, dash pepper, 3/4 tsp chili powder, dash paprika, dash garlic powder, dash cayenne pepper OR coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dry the chickpeas with paper towels and remove any loose skins. Spread the chickpeas out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Whisk the spices together and sprinkle over the chickpeas. Toss them to coat with spices. Bake for 25 minutes and toss at around 15 minutes.
Like with any healthy eating, healthy snacking just takes some advanced planning. You don’t have to be that huge-cooler guy, you just need to put a bit of time in to think about the fuel that’s going to get you through your busy days.
Got any snacks to share? Let us know in the comments below! We love getting your suggestions and helping more derby athletes get their nutrition game on.