It’s a little bit of an exaggeration to say I’m a snack monster, but I do take my snacking quite seriously. Although I don’t munch on something as frequently and feverishly as I did before, I still enjoy a bowl of snacks every now and then. The thing with snacking is sometimes you don’t really notice how much you are eating, and it can be really tricky if you are snacking on an indulgence such as chips, chocolates or other sinful treats. What you thought was just a few pieces of milk chocolate will somehow become a whole bar of it.
Here are some healthy-ish snacks that I love to get my hands on when I’m on a snacking mood:
- Vegetable sticks and a dip — That crispy texture is something that we commonly crave when it comes to snacks, and it’s usually accompanied by a salty flavor of sorts. Ding, ding, ding — yes I’m talking about chips. Packaged chips can be loaded with lots of salt, flavorings and saturated fats and it usually leads to bloating. To combat this, my favorite swap would be vegetable sticks and a dip of sorts. It has the crunchy texture and a little sprinkle of salt can give you that flavor you crave, easy peasy. When it comes to dips here are some I like:
- SOMETHING LIGHT, SWEET AND SOUR: Freshly-squeezed lemon, some salt and some drizzle of honey
- SOMETHING CREAMY BUT STRONG: Minced garlic, greek yogurt, some salt, and freshly-squeezed half of lemon or lime, some chives or spring onions
- SOMETHING LIGHT BUT STRONG: Vinegar, one crushed clove of garlic, a quarter of red onion, garlic powder and freshly cracked black pepper
- SOMETHING VERY EASY: Store-bought tadziki or labneh dip; sour cream with freshly chopped dill and dash of lemon and honey
- Mango ensalada — Traditionally, it is not considered a snack in my culture but rather a side to fried items like fish, grilled pork or spring roll, but I looove how refereshing and filling it is that I sometimes can just snack it on its own. Like many other recipes I make, I eyeball most of the measurement for the ingredients so you can always add or subtract the measurements in these. Here’s my take on ensalada:
- 1 or halved mango, diced
- 1 whole tomato, diced
- 1/2 red onions, diced or finely chopped
- 1 to 2 red chili, finely chopped (you can opt out the seeds to reduce heat)
- A nice handful of cilantro, chopped
- Few stalks of spring onions (both white and green part), chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly-squeezed half of lime or lemon
- Paprika, or any other spice you feel like adding
- Little nibbles — I also love having some little goodies to nibble on during work sometimes and I usually pack these in a container similar to what I use for my lunch/dinner food. I would section the container into three and fill it with some nice goodies like nuts, edamame beans or cut-up fruits that I actually like to eat. I’ve brought some cucumber slices, mixed spiced nuts, mangoes, strawberries macerated in honey, edamame beans, orange slices and others to work so far.
- Muesli bowl — I know it’s a supposed breakfast staple and not a snack, but trust me on this. The combination of nice wholegrain oats, some fruits, nuts and seeds and other good stuff is a definite stomach filler that’s very yummy and nutritious. I usually just buy a bag of good muesli at the supermarket and add either greek yogurt or fresh milk to it. There are also muesli power bars now so you can snack on it on-the-go.
- Oatmeal — Similar to muesli, oatmeal is usually regarded as a breakfast and not a snack. But I love having a bowl of oatmeal every now and then as a filler in between meals, especially when I need something warm on my stomach. I prepare my quick oats with hot milk and either mix in some pieces of chocolate, some nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter to flavor it up.
- Sandwich — I would seriously fight with someone who doesn’t like a good ol’ sammy for a nice, quick and filling snack. I remember a number of nights back home where I would tiptoe into the kitchen and toast some buttered bread and fill it with cheese, some turkey bacon or ham and a little bit of mayo and mustard. It’s no rocket science that sandwich is a good solution to bridge a gap between hunger and satiated. I don’t have a definite recipe for a favorite sandwich however because every sandwich is good but I’ll try to come up with some of my personal combinations and share it with you.
- Boiled eggs — Eggs are a good source of cheap and easy protein. I started eating it as a snack when I was a kid when my mom would boil lots of eggs before a long road trip. Later on, one of my ex boyfriends taught me how they eat eggs in his country which is adding things like onions, crushed peppers, chilis and salt and pepper and that really elevated the eggs on another level. The good thing about boiled eggs is you can eat it and mix it with lots of different things and just two pieces can satiate you for a while.
- Pickles — Some people might find this a tad bit odd but I occasionally snack on pickles especially when I have a craving for something crispy and sour. Majority of the time I make my own because a lot of the store-bought pickles has that slimy texture and smell that I do not enjoy. My pickles are usually simple and quick, and I love them a good mix of sour and a hint of sweet. I usually opt for pickled cucumbers or gherkins with dill, red onions, green papaya or kimchi.
- Baked potatoes — Now if you’ve read my previous post just the other day about my favorite food swaps, you would know that I have a serious affair with chips/salty snacks and it’s something I’m still working on to this day. I exchange it with filling snacks but sometimes a girl just really wants her potatoes. I let myself indulge in it by baking it instead. I either prep my potatoes in thin slices, wedged or whole and generously cover it with spices that I love and olive oil to cook it and give it a nice crunch. It’s only once that I added sour cream and bacon bits to this since I usually just enjoy it on its own with some homemade simple dip.
- Dark Chocolates — I’ve always had the affinity with dark chocolates. I love me a good 70-85% dark cocoa. I prefer it because I don’t have a sweet tooth but sometimes I still crave that chocolatey, covering-my-mouth goodness. It was in college that this love affair escalated and I would try out different dark chocolate brands that were accessible to me. Four brands that I particularly like are: Lindt (70 and 85% are great), Ghirardelli (60, 72 and 86% are very yummy), Ritter Sport (73% fine dark is a definite recommendation) and Chocolove (65 to 88% goodness). I prefer these because though it’s dark, the taste is still very rich and creamy unlike some organic brands that has a hint of sourness and the texture quite dry and chalky. Not saying they’re bad or not legit, it’s just not something I like. There are a lot of brands out there that classifies itself as dark chocolate, but you should check out this handy guide to how you can find the best and real ones out there.
There you have it, some of my favorite snacks to nibble on. Right now about 90% of the snacks I eat are not store-bought and at some point, I would also love to learn more recipes that I can prepare on my own so I know exactly what is in it. I’ve regularly checked out vegan or vegetarian snack ideas online and maybe will try those someday.
How about you? What are your favorite snacks?