Remember when you spent at least 30 minutes ensuring the health and sanity of your family? Yeah, me too. This preparation probably involved a plastic bag, a frantic search in the pantry, and a handful of yellow gold.
That yellow gold was your child’s favorite snack- Goldfish.
Goldfish is yellow gold because it probably prevented a dramatic playground meltdown when you child was hot and tired. It also made other kids (and some moms) gaze at you in envy for taking the 10 minutes to prepare it before leaving the house.
Some days, I used to grab 4 or 5 snacks before even grabbing my purse or phone! Like any self-respecting mom, my priorities were straight. Take care of my kid, and everyone else be darned.
Including myself. Does that sound like you? You will stop at nothing to make sure your child has the best food, the best activities, the best arts education and the best life.
The only problem with that approach is: Your child will not have the best mom.
As a health coach, I work with a lot of moms who are hot, tired, and jealous of their friends. Moms who might have been super at grabbing their kids a snack, but who barely have time to put together a half-hearted breakfast for themselves.
Snacks serve an amazing purpose, and are an important part of a healthy eating program. However, most women spend entirely too much time grazing on high carb snacks that only add to their burgeoning waistlines. Grazing may be good for the cows, but is a tough way to maintain portion control.
Because all snacks are not created equal, I wanted to create a list of super snacks to satisfy our hunger AND our health goals. This is what I call a SUPER SNACK. Super snacks combine at least two of three macros per serving. Combining different macros helps your body absorb nutrients and feel full. Translation- you eat less crap!
What is a macro? The three macros are protein, fat and carbs, and all food is composed of primarily one of these. You may have heard of these before.
Let’s start with homemade snacks. The house will smell amazing, and you control how much extra you have on hand.
1. Protein muffins
Protein muffins are muffins made with protein powder, almond flour or nut butter as the primary ingredient. Simply mix the protein along with your preferred source of sugar and flour of choice, an egg, and pop in some extras like coconut, chocolate or fruit. I generally do not like muffins made with protein powder, but I love these flour-less banana muffins.
2. Hummus with bell peppers
Sure, you can buy hummus, but why not make your own? Simply puree 1 cup canned chickpeas, 1/2 cup tahini, 1/4 cup virgin olive oil, 1 clove garlic, juice of 1-2 lemons and salt, cumin or red pepper flakes to taste.
3. Cheesy cauliflower tots
Cook 1/2 cup of cauliflower in the microwave, then puree it in a blender. Stir in cheddar or Parmesan cheese, almond flour, season salt, black pepper and mix until combined. Add one egg. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Voila! Cheesy goodness.
Watch video courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen.
4. Zucchini chips with yogurt dip
Slice 2-3 zucchini very thin with a mandolin. Lay flat on cooking sheet and squeeze out excess liquid by pressing another cookie sheet on top. Sprinkle with seasoning and cheese (optional). Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with dill yogurt dip.
5. Protein smoothie
I am far from a smoothie expert. The only smoothie I really enjoyed was from a small stand at our local mall called “Surf City”. It’s not there anymore. In general. start with a smoothie base of milk, yogurt or protein powder. Add your favorite fruit and a handful of green veggies, and pump it up with some chia, flax seeds and/or nut butters. Sweeten with honey, maple syrup or agave, and sprinkle with cinnamon, ginger or turmeric. It might help to keep your fruit frozen so the texture of the smoothie is more like a milkshake.
6. Super bars
This is my favorite base recipe that I swiped from different bar recipes I have experimented with over the years. I mostly enjoyed these bars when I was nursing, because they include all sorts of lactation-friendly ingredients. They are tasty either way! Soft and with a hint of crunch. Click the PDF image below for the Super Bars recipe.
7. Egg muffins
Portable eggs? Sign me up! I have actually traveled internationally with egg muffins in my carry-on bag. Believe me, they were gone before we crossed the Atlantic. Special bonus- my girls love these!
Simply mix 6-8 eggs in a bowl. Add a splash of milk or water, pinch of salt, pepper, cayenne (optional), and add your favorite veggies, cheese and meat. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes in muffin tins.
8. Spicy roasted chickpeas
Paleo and I are arch-enemies. Mostly because I was born with a bean burrito in my hand, and my love extends to any member of the legume family. I can’t get enough chickpeas! Instead of potato chips, try these spicy roasted chickpeas.
Drain and rinse canned chickpeas in a colander. Pat dry. Toss them with olive oil, salt and favorite spices (Cajun, curry, Tex-Mex, etc). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. Overnight oats with walnuts
The idea behind overnight oats is you don’t need to cook them. All you do is soak them in your favorite milk overnight in the fridge in a Mason jar, add a pinch of cinnamon, and your favorite sweetener. They get soft overnight. Grab them to go, and carry a handful of salted walnuts or ground flaxseed to boost the flavor.
10. Roasted sweet potatoes with yogurt
Who says you can only enjoy sweet potatoes in November? Thanks to the popularity of these sweet taters, many stores carry them year-round. They are a bit tougher than potatoes, so roast them at a higher temperature of 450 for at least 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon or chili pepper and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Next we have ready-to-go snacks. These are readily available either in nearby stores or online in bulk.
11. Garden Lites
This is a brand I found at Target, and I love them! Garden Lites are packed full of veggies, protein and gluten-free, this is healthy snacking at its best. The carrot berry muffins are my favorite, but my girls are partial to the chocolate muffins. I also adore the egg souffle versions. All are less than 300 calories.
12. Kind bars
It’s hard to go wrong with Kind bars. These bars are non-GMO, gluten-free, and pack plenty of protein without added sugar. Plus, they have fun flavors like dark chocolate peanut butter, blueberry cashew, and apricot coconut. Yum!
13. The Good Bean
For when you don’t want to take the 30 minutes to prep your own roasted chickpeas. Grab the Good Bean, which is available in fun flavors from Thai Coconut to Mesquite BBQ. They also have nut-free bars, but I prefer the Sea Salt chickpeas.
14. Love Crunch
These granola blends from Nature’s Path are somewhat pricey at $5, but are all organic and non-GMO. I’m a fan of the carrot cake one, but that is somewhat harder to find them the dark chocolate with red berries or dark chocolate peanut butter. I sense a theme with the chocolate…
15. Think Thin
Did you know that True Blood star Joe Manganiello and I share something in common? According to his Evolution book, he does enjoy the occasional Think Thin protein bar. The Brownie Crunch bars are the most amazing protein bar I’ve ever eaten, and come in full-size or snack-size portions. The texture is surprisingly smooth and gluten-free. However, the sugar alcohols aren’t always kind to your stomach. Even if you don’t like protein bars, Think Thin also has a tasty line of oatmeal cups, which often include superfoods like quinoa or amaranth.
16. Sahale Snacks
What is better than a handful of salted nuts? Nuts that have been improved with some fruit and a light blend of sweetener. Sahale also has some savory options for those who prefer that over sweet. My favorites are the crunchers! Plus, they have convenient single-serve packets.
Nuts.com is a family-run company out of New Jersey that offers more than just nuts. Most items are available in bulk. I was impressed at their amazing selection of healthy snacks, and they ship anywhere in the US!
Get a variety of different snacks delivered to your door! I ordered Graze for several months, and enjoyed receiving the 4 different snack packs every month that I ordered. You also have the luxury of rating the snacks after you try them, and Graze will recommend new products that fit your tastes.
19. Fruit and cheese
Available at just about every gas station and convenience store, you can’t go wrong with a piece of fruit and some cheese. In terms of convenience, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Plus, cheese is almost always available in single serving containers or by the stick.
20. Tuna on avocado
My favorite is the Bumblebee lemon pepper tuna, which comes in a convenient snack-size pack with crackers. Honestly, I don’t eat many crackers, but a Wasa cracker or avocado would be a good vehicle to enjoy it.
Last, let’s look at some unusual snacks you haven’t tried.
21. Baked tofu with sliced tomato
Use firm tofu, drain it by pressing on paper towels, and marinate for 30 minutes prior to baking. You can also grill or pan fry it.
22. Yucca fries with cucumber dip
Boil sliced yucca in water for 10 minutes, then toss in olive oil, salt and seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Flip and bake for 15 minutes more. Chop cucumber and toss in Greek yogurt.
23. Shelled edamame with soba noodles
Steam shelled edamame for a few minutes. Boil soba noodles for 2-3 minutes. Toss with peanut sauce (if desired). Soba noodles can be a gluten-free option (check package), and they have a pleasant nutty taste.
24. Mango lassi
Mix full fat Greek yogurt with mango nectar and add sweetener to taste. This is a popular drink and dessert in India, but can be high in sugar if you purchase it. You control the sugar in this homemade version.
25. Kale chips with nutritional yeast
Remove ribs from kale and cut into 1.5 inch pieces. Lay flat on baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, which adds a cheesy flavor. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes.
This is my complete list of 25 satisfying super snacks for women. What is your favorite healthy snack?
If snacking is easy-peasy for you, but you struggle with planning family-friendly meals, or fitting in time for exercise, and succeeding at maintaining weight loss, then sign up for my Hot for the Holidays program. This program is designed for the time-strapped woman who is looking for online group support just in time for swimsuit season.
Visit the page for more information.
Jenn Espinosa-Goswami is a former fat girl who dropped 100 pounds without any products or pills. She is now a health coach and motivational speaker. A member of the National Weight Control Registry, Jenn teaches working moms how to achieve body bliss in just minutes a day. You can find her dancing in her living room with her darling daughters and eating spicy food from hotter places.