Clean eating snacks do not have to be boring or tasteless. Yes, there are days when you only have time to grab an apple or a hard-boiled egg on the way out the door; but, with minimal planning and preparation, you can enjoy delicious, healthy snacks that you actually look forward to eating.
Many doctors and nutritionists are encouraging people to “clean up” their diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats while also limiting processed or refined foods. They also suggest eating 5 times a day – either 3 meals and 2 snacks or 5 mini-meals.
The idea is that frequent eating will keep your metabolism active and help regulate blood sugar levels, which will assist with weight management and prevent those mid-morning or mid-afternoon lulls. You really shouldn't go more than 4 hours without eating or your energy starts to lag and you begin to crave all those sugar-laden, sodium-filled, calorie-packed junk foods.
If your sweet tooth is screaming for satisfaction and you can hear the vending machine calling your name, then you better have a few nutritious clean eating snack within reach, or you just might be too weak to resist those unhealthy temptations.
Since the goal is to eat whole, natural foods, making “clean” snacks is really quite simple. Whether it's throwing together a few of your favorite nuts and dried fruits to make an energy-packed trail mix, or dipping a sliced apple in pure peanut butter, snacking has never been so easy or so tasty. Plus, many clean eating snacks can be prepared – or partially prepared – ahead of time so you can make healthy choices, even on your busiest days.
The beauty of clean eating snacks and meals is that they are simple. The most diligent clean eating foodies will suggest keeping ingredients to a minimum (eating a banana and a handful of nuts rather than a banana-nut muffin). The fewer ingredients the better. But, there really isn't anything wrong with some healthy indulgence, is there? A “clean” cookie or muffin every once in a while won't hurt you. And, it is still far better than the donut or cinnamon roll your co-workers are eating!
1-2 pineapple spears
1 peach halved with pit removed (leave skin on)
1 mango, peeled, pitted, sliced
2-3 watermelon wedges
Place fruit on a hot grill, peaches flat side down. Cook about 5-8 minutes then turn fruit.
Depending on the thickness of the pineapple spears, you may have to grill all 4 sides. The skin side of the peach will only need to grill for about 1-2 minutes.
Remove fruit from grill and eat. May be served with yogurt.
Grilled fruit is also delicious cold, so double the recipe (or triple, or quadruple....) to take to work or school.
Fresh pineapple chunks
Fresh watermelon chunks
Fresh cantaloupe chunks
1-2 Tablespoons raw honey, slightly warmed to liquify. (amount needed may vary depending on how many kabobs you are making)
Slide fruit onto a kabob skewer and place on the grill, turning as needed. When kabobs are done, remove from heat and brush with warm honey. Eat immediately or let cool.
You can also mix 2 Tbsp honey (warmed) with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and brush the fruit before grilling.
2 ripe bananas
1 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp organic cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins or dates
Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes
2 Avocados, peeled and de-pitted
2-3 Tablespoons finely chopped onion (or 1 Tbsp onion powder)
1 clove garlic, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp hot sauce)
Mash all ingredients together and chill. Serve with chopped veggies or whole grain pita wedges.
3 cups air-popped popcorn
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (warmed) or organic butter (melted)
1/2 tsp lemon or lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (organic and without artificial colorings)
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Sprinkle of garlic powderPour olive oil or butter over popcorn and toss to completely coat. Mix remaining ingredients and add to popcorn, stirring to coat.
2 cups nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon is healthier than cassia cinnamon)
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Place nuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
In a separate bowl mix liquid honey (heat slightly to liquify if needed), cinnamon, and salt.
Once nuts are warmed, remove and place in large bowl. Pour topping mixture over nuts and stir to coat.
Place nuts back on tray and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.
3-4 cups nuts (pecans are best, but almonds or cashews are good, too)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
pinch of cayenne (to taste)
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
Place nuts on cookie sheet and back at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Heat olive oil and maple syrup together.
Mix spices together. When nuts are lightly roasted, remove from oven and place in a large bowl.
Pour liquid mixture over nuts and toss to coat completely.
Sprinkle with spice mixture to taste and stir. Place nuts back on cookie sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups homemade granola
2 cups fresh fruit (any kind you like – cantaloupe, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
2-inch vanilla bean or pure vanilla extract
Mix plain yogurt with the seeds from 2 inches of vanilla bean or about 10 drops of pure vanilla extract.
Place about 2 Tbsp of yogurt in the bottom of 4 parfait cups, then top with 2 Tbsp granola and a layer of fruit. Repeat. Chill.
2 cups berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
3 Tbsp raw honey
1 cup plain organic Greek yogurt
Puree berries and add 1 Tbsp honey if desired. In a separate bowl mix yogurt with 2 Tbsp honey (and a little vanilla if desired).
Combine yogurt mixture with pureed fruit and place in popsicle molds. Insert sticks and freeze.
For an extra fancy treat, layer the yogurt with the fruit puree instead of mixing together.
3 ripe peaches, (chopped and de-pitted)
1 cup organic plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup organic milk or almond milk
2 Tbsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla (or vanilla bean equivalent)
Optional Ingredients: 1/4 tsp allspice (or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
Puree all ingredients and freeze in popsicle molds
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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.