No Crash Cravings
Quick and healthy snacks to power you through the day
- Written byKara Mickelson
When we hit that midday slump, easy and quick energy food sources such as simple carbohydrates tend to beckon us. A blended iced latte loaded with sugar, a candy bar or salty vending machine pretzels are so inviting. A processed food fix seems like a fast way to solve the hunger pains and provide a pick-me-up; however, two hours later your quick burst of energy fades and crashes.
Instead, we suggest reaching for fuel-sustaining foods that are minimally processed, naturally nutritious and metabolize slowly in order to maintain steady, consistent energy levels. The right balance between fat, fiber, protein and foods that are low-glycemic (GI under 55) will provide more sustainable energy for your body without the highs and lows associated with refined carbohydrates.
Here are a few of our favorite no-crash snacks that will satisfy your sweet and salty cravings.
Smoked Salmon Roll-ups
Combine Neufchâtel cheese, capers, chopped dill, diced shallots and lemon zest. Form a small cylinder about 1½ inches by ¼ inch. Lay out smoked salmon (choose a brand without added sugar) on a cutting board. Cut strips approximately 2½ by 3 inches. Place cheese cylinder at the edge of the salmon and slowly roll away from you until you have enclosed all the cheese with the salmon. Squeeze lemon juice over the rolls and top with capers and dill. Eat three and save any remaining rolls for later. Skip the cheese for a non-dairy version.
We like the baby or mini bananas, or you can opt for half of a medium-sized banana. Peel and slice lengthwise and fill with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened peanut butter (or lowfat cream cheese mixed with coconut nectar). Sprinkle with raw cacao nibs, cinnamon and unsweetened coconut threads. Top with the other half of the banana and add a few chia seeds. Enjoy! If using a full-size banana, freeze the other half for later.
Jicama Sticks with Avocado Yogurt Herb Dip
Peel and slice jicama into sticks. Mix ½ avocado with 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil), 1 small clove minced garlic, 1 chopped green onion and 2 teaspoons of 0% Greek yogurt. Season with salt and white and black pepper. Add the juice of ½ lime and mix thoroughly. Season jicama sticks with salt and pepper and the juice of ½ lime. Serve with dip.
Note: Rinse unused avocado half (seed and skin intact) with hot water and store in refrigerator uncovered. It will last for at least one day. For a twist, bake jicama, drizzled with olive oil, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper at 400º until light golden brown. Squeeze lime juice over jicama “fries” and serve with dip.
Salty Nut Butter Dates
Dates—or “nature’s candy”—are an ultra-sweet treat. Fill two to three dates with unsweetened almond butter or sunflower seed butter. Sprinkle with smoked flake salt, such a Maldon, to enhance the natural caramel smoky sweetness of the dates. Decadent Medjool dates are larger and have a higher natural sugar content, so opt for just one. Deglet Noor dates are smaller and have a lower sugar content, so three or four are just fine.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Fig “Toasties”
Wash and dry one medium sweet potato or garnet yam. Slice lengthwise ¼-inch planks. Add a light coat of olive or coconut oil. Roast at 400º (350º if using coconut oil) on a sheet pan until cooked through and starting to brown on the edges, yet still tender. Reserve and cool. Remove stems from unsweetened and unsulfured dried figs and puree in a food processor or finely chop. Add a small amount of coconut nectar and a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste. Spread fig mixture on top of a sweet potato or yam plank; top with another plank to create a pocket for the filling (think Pop-Tart). Return to the baking sheet and bake until lightly brown and toasted. Serve warm or room temp. Eat one and refrigerate the rest to be reheated for a delicious breakfast treat.
Roasted Carrots with Labneh, Cilantro and Black Sesame
Toss peeled, cut carrots in a small amount of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Roast at 400º on a sheet pan until the edges look slightly brown and the carrots are cooked through. Cool and serve with a small amount (2 tablespoons) of labneh (found at Middle Eastern markets), sprinkled with black sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.