Healthy Snack Ideas

The One Ingredient Diet 2014 Challenge starts this week! Can you believe that over 125 people have already taken the pledge to eat only whole, unprocessed, “one ingredient” foods for the entire month of January? This challenge is going to be a blast. If you’d like to join, it’s not too late — head over to Facebook.com/groups/oneingredient and make 2014 the healthiest year of your life.

The thing is, mealtimes on a whole food diet are actually pretty easy. I have over 75 recipes on this blog that make perfectly balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners… but what about snacks? In my experience, snacking is the biggest challenge when transitioning to unprocessed food. The cravings for something sugary or processed come on strong. There are times when you want to run straight towards the nearest convenience store to devour every bag of junk food in sight.

To combat these cravings, I created this list of 21 healthy and delicious snack recipes that you can whip up in minutes. Whether you’re taking part in this challenge or just want healthier snacking options in the new year, here are my 7 Satisfying Sweets, 7 Magnificent Munchies, and 7 Savory Sensations:


7 Satisfying Sweets


When eating a whole food diet, sweet cravings can hit hard – especially as you’re beginning to make this transition. To help you fight off this sweet tooth with healthier alternatives, here are 7 satisfying sweets that make the perfect end to a healthy meal. You’ll notice that bananas are over-represented in this section, but can you blame me? They’re naturally sweet, full of nutrients, and super versatile. What would a whole-foodie do without bananas…

1. Dates with Nut Butter

DatesNuts

Perhaps my favorite snack of all, this is an instant antidote for every sweet tooth. Simply slice open a few dates, remove the pits (if necessary), and stuff with a teaspoon of almond, peanut, or cashew butter.

2. Sliced Apple Drizzled with Tahini

What is tahini? You can think of it like peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts. It has a very distinct taste and creamy flavor that makes a great compliment to apples. Slice an apple into wedges and drizzle tahini over top.

3. One Ingredient Ice Cream

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Ah, the classic. This is a *truly* one ingredient dessert. To make, freeze a few bananas overnight, cut into small chunks, then pop them in a food processor until you have a creamy frozen dessert. See my original recipe for a few flavor suggestions.

4. Ginger-Cocoa Roasted Bananas

This is a super-simple dessert that has incredible flavors you’d expect from something much more complex. Here’s how it works… take an unpeeled banana, make a slit down the length of one side, and stuff with a mixture of fresh ginger root and mint leaves (both finely chopped) and a dusting of cocoa powder. Wrap the banana in foil and bake for about 15 minutes at 350º F. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and eat the delicious filling with a spoon. In fact, I like this one so much, don’t be surprised if it shows up as an enitre recipe on this blog soon…

5. Banana Oat Cookies

Banana_Oat_Cookies

These cookies are sugar-less, flour-less, and so delicious you’d never know they’re healthy. Plus, they’re virtually foolproof – this is one baked good you cannot mess up no matter how hard you try. They’re my favorite afternoon snack that can be prepped, baked, and devoured in less than 20 minutes. Get the full recipe »

6. Instant Chia Pudding

Chia Pudding

You might remember the chia pudding (pictured) from a previous recipe on this blog. That one has been a huge hit with readers, but it takes an hour or two to set correctly. Modify that recipe by combining almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla, a banana, shredded coconut, rolled oats, and cinnamon in a blender. Start with a very small amount of almond milk at first and slowly add more to get the perfect pudding consistency. Serve immediately. See the original chia pudding recipe »

7. Sexy Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry_Ice_Cream_Dish

You’ll be amazed at how incredible this strawberry “ice cream” tastes. It has only 5 healthy ingredients blended together (frozen strawberries, dates, almond milk, cocoa powder, vanilla), takes 5 minutes to make, and is packed with antioxidants and nutrients. The more you eat, the healthier you become. That’s my kind of dessert. Plus, no bananas :) Get the full recipe »


7 Magnificent Munchies


Watching your favorite sports team (go Chelsea!) or a movie on a lazy sunday afternoon just isn’t complete without some munchies… but who says they have to be unhealthy? These seven flavor-packed snacks are made with nothing but whole foods…

8. Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas

This is a classic healthy munchie that’s so easy to make. Preheat the oven to 400º and thoroughly rinse/dry a can of chickpeas. In a bowl, toss with cumin, chili powder, sea salt, and (optionally) a tablespoon of maple syrup. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until the chickpeas are crisp and crunchy.

9. Air-Popped Popcorn

Popcorn is a perfectly healthy and delicious snack… as long as it isn’t loaded with butter, salt, and other chemicals that come in the store-bought bags. To make your own, simply buy organic popcorn kernels and pop them with air using either a specially-made popcorn popper or by adding the kernels to a brown paper bag with some sea salt, folding over the top, and microwaving until popped. If you’d like to indulge, just one teaspoon of coconut oil goes a long ways here.

10. Steamed Edamame

These fresh soybeans are so much fun to eat and packed with a complete source of protein. To cook, boil a pot of water under a steamer basket and allow the beans to steam for about 10 minutes, until thoroughly heated. You can also boil the edamame if you don’t have a steamer basket. Once cooked, serve in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt. To eat: place the pod in your mouth, bite down, and squeeze the beans out, discarding the pod.

11. Sweet & Spicy Cashews

SpicyCashews

I love these things. They’re oven-roasted cashews (much like the chickpeas above) with beautiful Asian/Indian spices and a hint of sweetness from maple syrup. Simply coat raw cashews with spices, soy sauce/tamari, and maple syrup. Bake at 300º until crispy. See my original recipe »

12. Jicama Chips

Jicama is one of my favorite snacking vegetables. These root vegetables look like a cross between a potato and a radish, with a crisp texture and a mild refreshing flavor. My favorite use for them is raw chips. Slice a whole Jicama into thin slices and enjoy by themselves, with fresh guacamole, or with lemon dulse spread (below).

13. GORP

GORP

GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins & Peanuts) is the backpacker’s staple. It’s the perfect trail mix for hiking as it packs a concentrated boost of energy in a portable format that doesn’t spoil. While the name suggests raisins and peanuts, you can add any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit you like. I make this different every time, but one of my favorites is almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

14. Kale Chips

There are a million kale chip recipes online (you don’t get your official vegan food blogger card until you post at least one kale chip recipe). So if you want to get fancy, search for “kale chip recipes” and browse to your heart’s content. But for these, simply break up a bunch of kale into chip-sized pieces and toss with a sprinkling of sea salt and 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil (it’s one of the few places where just a little oil goes a long way and I’m okay using it). Bake at a low 250º F for 20 minutes until crispy but not blackened.


7 Savory Sensations


What happens when jicama chips just aren’t doing it for you? Here are seven additional snack ideas that have more depth and could potentially become entire meals on their own…

15. Craving-Busing Steamed Greens

SteamedGreens

Greens are packed with micronutrients, and one of the rules of a whole food diet is that, “if you under-eat on micronutrients (i.e. antioxidants, vitamins), you over-eat on macronutrients (cookies).” A bowl full of steamed greens can bust your cravings for something processed in an almost magical way. Simply boil a few inches of water and add 2 handfuls of kale, spinach, or chard to a steaming basket. Cover, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with balsamic or fruit vinegar and sesame seeds. See my recipe at: Sesame Steamed Greens »

16. Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

Want a more hearty snack with lots of protein and fiber that’s still light and fresh? Make a black bean dip and spoon it inside large romaine lettuce leaves. Use my 8-Minute Black Bean Soup recipe without the vegetable broth for the perfect consistency for these lettuce wraps. Throw 4-5 of these guys together and you have an entire meal.

17. Veggies with an Asian Peanut Sauce

Veggies are fine on their own… but when you dip them in a blend of peanut butter, tamari, and sesame oil they get kicked up to a whole new level. To make the dipping sauce, simply stir one tablespoon of peanut butter with one teaspoon of tamari, and 1-2 drops of sesame oil. It’s BFFs with carrots, celery, broccoli, and more.

18. An Artichoke

It may sound totally bizarre, but I’m telling you – artichokes are an amazing snack. They’re healthy, delicious, and quite fun to eat. Here’s what you do: Add a few inches of water to a large pot with some lemon slices and a clove of garlic. Insert a steaming basket and add the artichokes. Cover and steam for 30-40 minutes until the outer layers can easily be pulled off. Then, peal each of the outer leaves off one at a time and squeeze between your teeth to scrape off the edible flesh. When you get down to the center, scrape away the fuzz (choke) and eat the white fleshy heart as well. This goes great with a simple acidic dipping sauce (lemon juice + tamari? Balsamic + sesame oil?) or something like the lemon dulse spread below.

19. Lemon Dulse Spread

Dulse_Spread_Wide

This is a cashew-based spread with sunflower seeds, lemons, dulse (seaweed), sun-dried tomatoes and more. It’s a truly delicious blend of super foods and is easy to whip up with a food processor in just a few minutes. This spread would go great with the jicama chips or as a dip for the artichoke. Get the recipe here »

20. 2-Minute Taquitos

Taquitos

These taquitos satisfy any afternoon snack craving and seriously take two minutes to make. The filling is a blend of leftover brown rice with fresh salsa and lime juice. Heat this in the microwave, then wrap it all up in a corn tortilla and you’re done. See the full recipe with my homemade salsa here: Two-Minute Taquitos with Homemade Roasted Salsa »

21. Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Nothing need be said about avo toast. It’s basically the world’s most perfect snack. Simply take a piece of very unprocessed whole grain bread (i.e. Ezekiel brand) and mash about 1/3 of an avocado over the top. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and you’re happy. If you want to get really fancy, top with jalapeño slices and tomato as pictured.

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