The appeal of processed foods is no great mystery. After all, you can toss them in your backpack or briefcase for easy snacking throughout the day. Unfortunately, these tasty treats are not quite as healthy as they are convenient. Many of your favorite sodas and cereal bars are packed full of sugars and preservatives to increase their shelf life, while chips and cheese snacks tend to be overloaded with fats and salts.
Luckily, you don’t have to go so far as to prepare a gourmet meal every day to eat healthier. With a little thought, and a few minutes preparation, you can whip up some simple snacks that make use of healthful whole foods. Here are some fresh, easy-to-make snacks that even the kids will approve of.
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RAW VEGGIES AND HUMMUS
Want to get your dose of vitamins and protein? Cut up some of your favorite vegetables, such as red and green bell peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli. Arrange them on a plate and add a dollop of your favorite hummus flavor (roasted red pepper is a fun one!). Or, make this snack portable by stowing the veggies and hummus in separate small Tupperwares. The end result is as filling as it is delicious.
YOGURT WITH FRUIT AND NUTS
Yogurt is a healthy snack that keeps you full while aiding in digestion. And while many of us know we should eat more of this super snack, the taste of plain yogurt can be rather uninspiring. If you’re looking for a simple but nutritious snack, consider jazzing up that tub of yogurt with some cut up fruit, nuts, or granola. Eating whole fruits rather than opting for the store-bought fruit filling means you’ll enjoy all the benefits without any of the added sugar. And if you need some sugar, sprinkle on some raw honey!
APPLE AND NUT BUTTER
Love the creamy, sweet taste of a peanut butter sandwich? If you’re looking to cut carbs, opt to enjoy your peanut butter on a slice of apple rather than white bread. Known antioxidants, apples are reported to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, suggesting that one a day really does keep the doctor away. For a fun variation, substitute the PB in this snack with almond, cashew, or even sunflower butter on occasion.
PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANAS
… or if you can’t bear the thought of peanut butter without the bread, spread some of this creamy treat on a slice of whole wheat and add banana medallions to the top. Packed full of protein and healthy fats, this snack is also loaded with fiber. It will easily keep you going throughout the morning or support you during that workout.
DIY TRAIL MIX
Why spend money on that processed and sugar-packed trail mix from the store? Save cash and calories by blending up a bag full of your favorites. Along with traditional go-tos like dried fruits and nuts, consider adding sunflower seeds, whole-grain cereal, and even dark chocolate.