When hunger hits between meals, reach for a real food snack instead of a heavily processed item such as chips, sugary cereals or fake gummy “fruits”. Snacks that provide protein and healthy fats, paired with vegetables, fruit or whole grains keep us satisfied longer and give our body the nutrition it craves.
Combining two or more healthy snacks can actually add up to a satisfying meal. The next time you need to throw a meal together fast, simply decide which healthy snacks might go well together. There are no hard and fast rules to follow. Just think in terms of overall balance.
Some Snack Pairings to Consider for Your Next Meal:
Tuna salad with whole grain crackers and tomato wedges
Roasted seasoned chick peas with sliced bell pepper and sliced fresh pear
Boiled eggs, whole grain toast, and raw veggies with favorite dip
Roasted almonds and cheese cubes, with marinated mushrooms and other vegetables
Cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and served with carrot and apple slices
Lettuce wraps filled with chicken salad and served with grapes
The “snacky” meal shown above consists of an open - faced grilled cheese sandwich, raw vegetables with homemade white bean hummus and fresh fruit. With a bit of imagination we can often piece together a meal of snacks by simply using up items we already have on hand.
Simple White Bean Hummus
Hummus is a versatile food that may serve as a dip, a sandwich spread or even a sauce for pasta. Try mixing a small amount of hummus into almost any cooked (drained) vegetable to add flavor and creaminess. Stir in a bit of vegetable broth to hummus for a delicious salad dressing.
1, 15 ½ ounce can of cannellini beans (well drained)
2 full tablespoons of tahini (may substitute with smooth peanut butter, or with
sun flower seed butter, cashew butter or almond butter)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one large lemon (remove any seeds that get into the juice)
1 clove of fresh garlic (minced) or may use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of onion powder
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
OPTIONAL: Additional seasonings may be added based on flavor preferences (red pepper flakes, cumin, Italian seasoning, etc.
Place all ingredients (except fresh parsley) into a blender and process until creamy (may need to stop blender and scrape sides at some point).
Empty into a bowl.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
Cover and chill for at least one hour.
Written by Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN
Dietitian, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program