We all need grab-and-go food to keep hunger at bay between meals. If you turn to packaged staples to stay sated, try these healthier yet satisfying alternatives.
We all need grab-and-go food when schedules get busy or a satisfying snack to keep hunger at bay between meals. If you usually turn to packaged staples to keep your pantry (and stomach) full, try these satisfying swaps that generally pack fewer additives and more nutrition while delivering fresh, bold flavors.
Crunchy. If you find yourself reaching for chips or salty, crunchy snacks, take a stab at making your own. Try kale leaves or thinly sliced beets or sweet potatoes (ideally using a mandolin) dusted with olive oil and salt and roasted until crispy. Play around with flavors such as rosemary beet chips or balsamic kale chips. They’ll store for at least a few days in an airtight container—if you don’t eat them all before then!
Salty. Packaged foods tend to be loaded with sodium, often as a preserving agent as well as for flavor. You can still get that salty satisfaction by making your own snacks, but with far less sodium than most packaged foods provide. Whether you’re making chips or your own roasted nuts, play around with different finishing salts, such as pink salts, smoked salts or fleur de sel. Try smoked salt and rosemary over roasted almonds, for example. You’ll find that these salts all provide different flavors, with just a little going a long way.
Sweet. If your afternoon or evening snack cravings lean toward the sweet side, make your own so that you can control the portion and sugar content while boosting the nutritional value. Try these quinoa chocolate chip cookies or these oatmeal cookies packed with banana and zucchini. Look for sweetness that also has fiber, such as dried fruit or coconut flakes, and whole grains for texture, flavor and even more fiber. If your sweet tooth prefers candy, try dried fruit such as mango or pineapple.
Breakfast first. A lot of breakfast foods are just dessert in different packaging. Whether you rely on smoothies, breakfast bars, coffee or some combination thereof to start your day, make sure you’re fueling yourself for success. Try making your own, like these zucchini oat muffins, or look for store-bought options that have whole grains, limited sugar, healthy fats, fiber and protein.
Binge-worthy. When your evening calls for curling up with your favorite show, move away from packaged popcorns, candy and snacks that are heavily processed and often high in sodium. Instead, roast some crunchy chickpeas or edamame, then dust them with a spice mixture to keep you coming back for more. Or try your own popcorn trio: split plain popcorn into thirds and toss the first with a light covering of white powdered cheddar (King Arthur Flour is one available brand), the second with almond or peanut butter and maple syrup instead of corn syrup for a nut-based “caramel corn,” and the last drizzled with your favorite extra-virgin olive oil and finishing salt.