We’ve all been there – it’s 3pm on a Wednesday, and you’re dragging at the office and in desperate need of a pick-me-up. This is the moment of the day when the nearest snack seems like the best one, and something “healthy” might not immediately appeal. It can also be challenging to find something to munch on at work that isn’t full of processed sugars and fats. Now more than ever offices are providing snacks to their employees but fresh, whole food options can be hard to come by.
To help you plan for successful snacking we’re kicking off a series this month celebrating healthy munchies. With #SnackSmart, you’ll get quick and easy ideas for foods to eat when you need something STAT, but aren’t ready for a complete meal. We’ve been putting together a list of all of our go-tos and hope you’ll find some new favorites.
Today we’re kicking off the series with everyone’s favorite flavor category: sweet. We know just how good that candy bar in the vending machine looks when you’re struck with the 3pm doldrums. However, with a little planning we know we can make better choices that can give us the energy boost we need without the processed sugar crash.
We think these 10 sweet treats will help you #SnackSmart – we love them!
#1 – (Just the) Banana Split
A ripe banana by itself is a great snacking choice, as is all fresh fruit, but you can gussy it up by splitting it in half, lengthwise, and topping with a spoonful or two of melted almond butter and some dark chocolate shavings or honey.
#2 – Quick Fruit Crumble
Want a warm treat that reminds you of apple pie? Cut up some apples or pears, drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top, then cook in the oven or microwave until tender. Once done to your liking, top with a small handful or granola or some chopped nuts to add a little crunch.
#3 – Date Nut Balls
One of our FitStars swears by these! What’s more, you can make them in advance and bring them to work all week. In a food processor, simply grind ¾ cup of roasted nuts with 3-4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Then add 1 cup of pitted medjool dates and a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract and blitz until the mixture starts sticking together. With wet hands, squeeze and roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls and keep in the fridge or freezer for healthy nibbling all week long.
#4 – Frozen Fruit
We all know fresh fruit is a great option, but for summer months (when ice cream sounds soooo good) keeping some fresh fruit in the freezer makes for an extra refreshing snack. Frozen grapes, frozen blueberries, frozen pitted cherries and frozen peach slices all work well. Simply wash, and prep the fruit (pitting the cherries and slicing the peaches), then place on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours until fully frozen, at which point you can move the fruit to a storage container and put back in the freezer for later.
#5, #6 and #7 – Amazing Apples – Three Ways!
We love apples because they are versatile, packed with nutrients and an economical food choice – here are three ways to put a sweet spin on them:
– Apple Fries: peel and cut your apple into thin wedges, then toss the wedges with ground cinnamon – or even ground cinnamon mixed with a pinch or two of coconut sugar.
– Apple Sandos: Core your apple and slice into rings. Spread your favorite nut butter on one ring, top with honey, raisins, unsweetened coconut flakes or even dark chocolate chips. Eat “open-face” style, or top with another apple ring for a true sandwich experience.
– Apple Dippers: slice your apple into wedges and dip into your favorite yogurt. We love mixing some honey or maple syrup into plain greek yogurt to make a dip for this, too!
#8 – Ch-ch-ch Change it up with Chia Pudding
This one you’ll need to make the night before, but man, you’ll be glad you did! There are a ton of recipes out there for puddings made with chia seeds, milk and a little natural sweetener. We love this vegan version for an indulgent, but still nutrient-packed, afternoon treat!
#9 – Chia Pudding Parfait
So you’ve made your Chia Pudding and you want to kick it up another notch? You got it. Check out these beautiful parfaits you can quickly assemble in the morning while your coffee’s brewing and enjoy when you need a boost. Combining chocolate chia pudding, almond butter and fresh fruit – this snack looks and tastes amazing.
#10 – Everything but the Bad Stuff Trail Mix
We know there are a ton of pre-packaged trail mixes out there and many of them are delicious as well as being good food choices. That being said, making your own can be easy and economical, so try it out! We like to pick up a variety of nuts (raw or roasted), add some favorite dried fruit and toss in either some unsweetened coconut flakes and/or dark chocolate chips for a sweet touch. We’re currently crushing on: almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, dried cherries and allergen-free chocolate chips mixed together. The important thing, here, is to portion out your mix – it’s so tasty it can be easy to overindulge!
When we need more inspiration for sweet healthy treats, a quick online search yields a lot of food for thought. This list of 33 Healthier Desserts from Greatist has some stellar ideas and recipes to get you in the #SnackSmart (and sweet!) mindset. What are you waiting for? Dig in!
What is your go-to treat when you need something sweet and want to #SnackSmart? Tell us in the comments below!
Make it Happen,
– Team FitStar