I’ve always been someone who at about 3:00 is in major need of a little pick-me-up. Growing up, my mom said that I “ate like a bird,” snacking here and there, all day long. Looks like nothing’s changed!
While some people can make it through on 3 meals alone, I need a little extra fuel to keep me going and feeling my best. But snacking can unfortunately be confusing and overwhelming with SO many options and opinions out there these days. It’s no wonder that healthy snack ideas are one of the most commonly requested blog topics.
When it comes to snacking overall, I believe that listening to your body’s hunger cues is incredibly important. I know, you’ve probably heard this preached at nauseam throughout the health and wellness community, but it’s true. What your body needs one day is not the same as what it’s calling for the next, so we have to respond accordingly.
I spent many years eating the same protein bar every single afternoon simply out of habit and to quell my need for control and consistency. Not only was this not a healthy pattern but it also didn’t honor my body’s day-to-day needs.
In the past couple of years, I’ve focussed on building healthier, more balanced habits, and upgrading my snack game has been key to that. Today, I honor what sounds good and satisfying in the moment rather than defaulting to what feels safe and predictable. With that said, I’ve also begun to pay much more attention to exactly what it is that will fuel me through my afternoon and keep my 3 pm hanger at bay.
I highly encourage you to stick to real, whole food snacks for myriad reasons. A little prep and forethought at the beginning of your week is all you need to have these healthy snacks ready to go. But for those particularly busy weeks, I’ve also found many nutritious bars and packaged snacks which we all find ourselves needing from time to time.
With that being said, I gravitate towards snacks that I know will fill me up and keep me satisfied for hours. Specifically, y’all know that I’m all about those healthy fats, not only because they’re incredible for your brain, heart and more, but they also provide sustained energy and reduce hunger. Protein, of course, is likewise key to avoiding the afternoon slump, so I encourage you to include this into your snacking as well.
Below are my top nourishing combos to easily throw together at home or pick up at your local grocery store. Happy snacking!
DIY Trail Mix
Let’s get real, who doesn’t love trail mix? Unfortunately, so many of the prepackaged mixes out there are filled with unneeded preservative, oils and sugars. Instead, create your own mixture of unsweetened, dried fruits, raw nuts and maybe some dark chocolate chunks. It’ll have all the crunch and chew you crave.
Fruit & Nuts/Nut Butter
Perhaps my most frequently enjoyed snack combo is some sort of fruit with raw nuts or nut butter. It’s so simple but filling and satisfying. An apple, pear, orange or other fruit of your choice paired with a handful of nuts provides the fiber, healthy fats and natural sugars you need. Check out Why I’m Nuts About Nuts (& You Should be Too) for my favorite varieties. As for nut and seed butters, my favorites include Nuttzo, Georgia Grinders and Wild Friends. But if I’m looking to save a few bucks, the simple, crunchy almond butter from Trader Joe’s is a savior as well.
While you can prep a batch of these babies to have on hand all week long, I also love to grab a precooked bag at the grocery (Vital Farms are the best in my opinion). Eggs are filled with protein, healthy fats, vitamins and essential minerals. Top them off with a little hot sauce, and pair with fruit, crackers or veggies for easy, on-the-go fuel.
While you might think of chia pudding in the context of breakfast, it’s also one of my favorite, filling snacks to have any time of day. Make a big batch for the week, and enjoy with any toppings you love. Plus, chia seeds provide digestion-boosting fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Check out my OG recipe here, or go for this seasonal Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding for all those fall flavors!
Crackers & Dip
If you take a peek at the blog, you may notice my love for crackers. I’ve always been a salty snack girl, and a little crunch is needed in every meal in my world. While I adore Simple Mills and Jilz Crackers for their simple, nutritious ingredients, you’d be shocked by how easy homemade crackers are to make as well. Check out all of my easy, tasty cracker recipes here. Pair with hummus, guacamole, baba ganoush, cheese, etc.
Since I was little, I’ve always loved beef jerky. Today, I’m still a huge fan but now pay much more attention to the quality of the meat in this beloved snack. I encourage you to look for brands that use organic, grass-fed meat and omit preservatives and any other questionable ingredients. My favorites include Epic Provisions Bars, Chomps Meat Sticks, and Perky Jerky.
Rice Cakes & Toppings
While rice cakes may seem suuuuper bland, I’ve discovered a new found love for these crunchy staples, given they can be livened up in so many amazing ways. Go for a sweet snack with nut butter, fruit and granola toppings or stick to the savory with a little guac, cream cheese (I love Kite Kill Almond Milk Cream Cheese) or hummus and a sprinkle of seeds.
Yogurt & Granola
This combo is obviously a fan favorite for a reason–it’s filling, portable and satisfying. Plus, there are so many great dairy-free yogurts out there these days that even those avoiding dairy can enjoy. Personally, I love Forager Cashewgurt and Nancy’s Oat Milk Yogurt topped with a handful of my homemade granola.
Canned Tuna & Salmon
While I understand these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I adore canned tuna and salmon. They’re easy to throw together, filled with protein and incredibly healthy. Enjoy alongside crackers, raw veggie dippers or out of a bell pepper (don’t knock it ’til you try it).
By now you likely have a pretty good understanding of how much I adore protein balls. These little bites are the perfect on-the-go, energy-packed snack that I have a batch of on hand at all times. Check out my snacks page for all of the easy recipes I have to offer (such as these Pistachio Chocolate Collagen Protein Balls — a personal favorite).
Kale & Veggie Chips
What good would I be as a health and food blogger if I didn’t love kale chips?! I mean, come on. While they’re easy to whip up at home, I find myself craving all of the products from Brad’s Plant Based and Rhythm Superfoods. They’re all so tasty that you’ll forget how nutritious these snacks are!
Especially when the temperature outside drops, I find myself needing a snack that’s a little heartier and warming from the inside out. Since I doubt that most of us have time to whip up stovetop oats mid-afternoon, easy oatmeal cups are quick and the perfect size. I’m currently loving these from The Soulfull Project and Purely Elizabeth.
When you’re in the mood for a lil’ crunch, these babies will be your new go-to. They provide plant-based protein and can be spiced up with whatever seasonings you choose. Check out the recipe in my Kale Salmon “Caesar” Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas post.
I get it, sometimes grabbing a protein bar is just unavoidable. But fear not! Luckily, there are tons of healthy, whole food-based bars out there. My current favorites include Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Bars, Gomacro Bars, Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars, Thunderbird Bars and KIND bars. Despite this, I encourage you to take a shot at making your own bars at home (I promise it’s crazy easy). Lately, I’ve been loving my Copycat “Perfect” Bars and Chai Spiced Apricot Oat Bars.
Have a favorite snack that I didn’t cover? Let me know! I love receiving your requests for new recipes and product reviews. Drop a comment below or send me a message on Instagram @goodness_with_g.