Like most people, I love to snack. When I was a triathlete, training four to eight hours and burning over 5,000 calories a day, I had an enormous appetite and snacks were a major part of my life–I couldn’t go more than an hour without noshing on something. As a firefighter, snacking helped me pass the hours and soothe the nerves between emergency 911 calls and the frequent amounts of downtime.
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However, instead of reaching for the typical range of cookies, donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, candy, and soda pops which are lining the countertops/staples at almost every firehouse, I reached for a variety of healthy snacks that work to enhance my health and my mood rather than hinder it.
When the snacks you choose are healthy, you perpetuate a positive cycle of eating.
Here are some of my favorite healthy snack ideas:
- Fresh fruit: My current favorites are sliced up watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, mangoes, and black grapes. I always have a bowl waiting in the fridge.
- Vegetables: In my refrigerator you’ll almost always find sliced red and green bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cherry/cherub tomatoes and broccoli. I love dipping these in homemade hummus (click here to see my recipe).
- Whole grain crackers: These days my choice is the intense Wasa cracker. I often have up to three; the first with a thin layer of peanut butter and low sugar jam, the second just with jam, and if I have a third, it’s naked.
- Small potatoes: I always make a ton for snacking. These are filling and satiating especially dipped in hummus, salsa, or ketchup.
- Chips: Create your own out of whole grain pita bread or corn tortillas. Dip them in plant-strong salsa.
- Sliced heirloom tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and cilantro: In the heat of summertime, these refrigerated babies will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
- Leftover ears of corn: Sometimes I think these are just as good cold as they are warm–especially in the middle of an Austin summer.
- Homemade trail mix: 2 cups of whole-grain cereal, 1/2 cup raw old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup chopped dates, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped, 1/4 cup almonds, chopped: This is a nice concoction to take with you on camping trips, when you’re traveling, or when you’re just hungry in your own house.
- Bowl of healthy cereal: I usually munch on a bowl of cereal at some point during the day in addition to my Rip’s big bowl for breakfast.
- Salad: I can usually tell when I haven’t been eating enough leafy greens because I find myself craving a salad as a snack–I quickly pour an oil-free dressing over some mixed greens or shredded romaine lettuce along with two or three sliced vegetables.
- Frozen Grapes: These little nuggets of nature make great all natural popsicles. Pick thirty or forty off of the stem and place in a bowl in the freezer–I can snack on these all day.
Next time you reach for a snack, make it plant-strong!