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As with most things in nutrition, snacking can be a controversial topic! Based on my own clinical experience, the majority of people like to enjoy at least one snack, usually in the afternoon. I do feel like our meals should be satisfying enough to see us through to the next, however sometimes due to activity levels, stress, boredom, or poor planning, it helps to have an arsenal of healthy snacks in your repertoire that you can rely on. I like the below because whilst they might require a little more effort (some of them), they are brimming with real food nutrition and allow you to sneak in extra vitamins and minerals to your day. I hate the idea of empty calories – food that purely provides quick “energy” and no micronutrients – so I have put together some of my favourite nutritionist-approved snacks for you to enjoy…
Nori wraps – Seaweed is an underrated, under-eaten superfood! We need not only enjoy it in sushi. In fact, I suggest you try using it as a “wrap” to gather up some of your favourite vegetable sticks (carrot, capsicum, cucumber, green onion, fennel, zucchini, broccolini) with 1/4 sliced or smashed avocado and a drizzle of tahini. Ginger, wasabi, chilli, vegan mayo, Kim-chi and Tamari can all be added too if you want to get a little more fancy. This is way more exciting than plain crudités and dip, and is the perfect opportunity to add in more mineral-rich, thyroid-balancing seaweed.
Green smoothie – There is no reason that a breakfast recipe cannot be had as a snack. I prefer to start my day light, and find many people feel the same. However on days I didn’t, or days I feel like I need another dose, a green smoothie is perfect to fill the gap between meals. I have plenty of green recipes on the blog and in my eBook, but the formula is: 2 handfuls greens, 2 servings fruit, 1.5 cups liquid, 1 tbsp greens powder (optional). Enjoying this or halving the recipe for a smaller snack is a great way to fill up on vitamins, minerals, fibre and yes, even amino acids.
Pranaon protein balls – Bliss balls have long been a go-to snack and a staple in food prep for the week. But to be honest, I stopped preparing them when I found these guys! They are so delicious, plus the ingredients are clean, just how I would make them, and the convenience factor cannot be overlooked. Plus they keep out of the fridge, which is always a plus in a house where taking things out of the fridge is like playing Tetris! I’ll keep one in my bag or car for emergency snack situations, and have the full box in the pantry for an after yoga snack or post-dinner sweet craving.
Warm superfood latte – this one is great for those sweet cravings that sneak up in the afternoon/evening. If you work in an office, I recommend packing the powder of whichever ingredient you choose, and making it by either heating up your nut milk on a stove (if available) or in a microwave (it will do). Once your warm milk is ready, stir in your powder of choice. Some of my favourites are: cacao w 1 tsp peanut butter/tahini; ground turmeric, black pepper + a pinch of grated ginger (optional); matcha vanilla; or cinnamon + nutmeg. All sweetened with vanilla stevia drops or natvia natural sweetener. For frothier latte’s, blending is always a nice idea if at home. Try my homemade almond milk recipe here and bring it with you in a small glass jar!
Power up Protein Blend – Pranaon protein powder in 1.5 cups nut milk or coconut water. If you have the option of blending it or pre-blending it I would also add in a piece of fruit like a large handful of berries, cherries or 1 banana, spinach leaves and some cinnamon for extra flavour. I generally only have these on days I have been super active where I feel I need it… or sometimes, as a morning snack if I am starving and lunch is going to be far away.
1/2 small papaya filled with 2-3 tbsp coconut yoghurt, cinnamon and a sprinkle of bee pollen – easy-to-digest, hydrating and anti-inflammatory, papaya’s are another overlooked food that is actually delicious. Many people get confused with paw paw, but red papaya is actually much more tasty. It’s one of those fruits you get quite a decent amount of in one serving (low glycemic-load) so you can feel satisfied. The extra fat added by the coconut yoghurt also helps to keep you fuller for longer, with cinnamon and bee pollen offering appetite-controlling, blood-sugar stabilising properties. If the coconut yoghurt is not of interest to you, you could always pair it with 2-3 tbsp raw nuts or seeds, or enjoy it on it’s own with some lime juice.
Miso soup with nori/dulse and edamame – this warm concoction can either be made at home (preferred, due to cleanness of ingredients) or definitely can be ordered from your local Japanese shop. It is quite low in calories/energy, but soup can actually be quite satisfying. The edamame definitely bulks it up. It is a great protein boost to eat alongside your miso or enjoy in the soup. When buying miso for the home, try to find an unpasteurised version. Even better, also gluten-free.
Nut butter + celery – 1-2 tbsp nut butter in a celery “boat” is an oldie but a goodie and something I will never get sick of! Any snack that is accompanied by veg is a win in my books.