Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

Instead of posting a recipe today, I am going to post some suggestions for healthy snacks.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments, or to ask questions.  Some of these are very pack-able, some not so much.  I like to have a bit of carbs, protein, and fat in each snack.

Fruit or veggies and dip

Carrots, celery, broccoli, bell pepper slices, snap peas, apple slices, pear slices, banana all work well with a variety of dips.  Instead of whipping out the ranch, opt for hummus, guacamole, or peanut butter (or another nut butter).  Just watch your portions on the dip, and you’ll be OK.  (Peanut butter and banana also makes a tasty sandwich 🙂 )

Dried fruit and nuts

My personal favorite combination is almonds and craisins (dried cranberries), and I was not a huge fan of cranberries when I discovered this.  This is a great, very packable snack, but you definitely want to weigh or measure your portions.  Nuts are very dense foods, and dried fruits have a lot of sugar, so eating this by the handful won’t lead to happy consequences.  Choosing craisins over dried pineapple, for example, will get you a lot more bang for you munch, because cranberries are better for you than pineapple.  Also remember that just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can consume it without limits.

Frozen banana smoothie

Since mentioning this a while ago, I’ve learned that this is actually a recipe for dairy-free ice cream.  Who knew?  Take a frozen banana, any other frozen fruit of your choice (where the majority of the flavor is going to come from), a splash or so of water, and blend in a blender or Magic Bullet.  I like to mix in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed for omega-3s and some chopped nuts (walnuts and pecans have been my favorites).  Again, measuring the nuts is important.

Yogurt

If you’re looking for healthy, tread carefully with yogurt.  Most commercially-available yogurts have all sorts of garbage added to them.  Your best bet is plain, or maybe vanilla, and add in your own stuff for flavor.  Add fruit and chopped nuts in whatever combinations and proportions suit you.

For the most part, your pre-packaged bars aren’t great.  Compare nutrition labels to candy bars, and you’ll see that many of them aren’t all that different.  I’m also generally not a fan of meal-replacement type bars unless you’re going to be on the go all day and don’t have other things to pack or won’t have a lot of time to eat.  I don’t think they’re bad, necessarily, but they have two issues: 1- they’re full of ingredients that I can’t pronounce; 2- too many people treat them like an appetizer or eat them in addition to full meals.  If you’re eating 150-300 calories several times a day, a protein bar will fit one of those “meal” times.  Otherwise, skip them.  (I was eating one a day as a snack, and I was partial to Zone chocolate mint; it was tasty and had decent texture.)

What I’ve done: I have taken almonds/craisins to work every day for the past couple of years.  You’d think I’d be sick of them by now.  I have a small food scale, and over the weekend, I’ll measure out five little containers full, so as the week progresses, I just need to grab one and toss it in my lunch bag.  I also pack fruit every day (usually a banana and an apple), and I keep a jar of peanut butter in my desk.  (I used to pack the peanut butter, but measuring it out into little containers was more of a pain than I was willing to deal with.)

Things to add?

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