Anyone who has lived with me, worked with me, or just spent the day with me, is well aware of my reliance on snacks.When I come to work each morning, it’s never without the world’s largest lunch box filled to the brim with random containers of food. What can I say, I like to eat. I eat my snacks right on the dot, at 10 am and 3:30 pm. If I go more than 30 minutes past my scheduled snack time, I’m stricken with a major case of hanger (hungry-anger for those of you not familiar with the term).
I like to treat snacks as mini-meals, full of nutritious, whole foods that will satisfy until mealtime. My secret to a filling and nutritious snack? Pair one serving of a high fiber carb food with another serving of a food that contains fat and/or protein. The high fiber carb keeps blood sugar levels stable and the fat/protein keeps you satiated until your next meal.
The easy version – just eat one serving of food from two different food groups. You'll almost always end up with the right combination.
Some of my favorites:
- Slices of avocado on ak-mak or wasa crackers drizzled with sriracha (or hot sauce if you forgot to hoard it for the impending sriracha shortage)
- Tortilla chips topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, microwaved for a minute and served with salsa
- A baggie of unsweetened whole grain cereal, nuts and dried fruit
- Popcorn drizzled with a little honey or maple syrup and tossed with toasted walnuts, almonds or coconut flakes
- Sardines (yup!) on rye crackers
- Plain yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or all-fruitjam
- Microwaved baked potato chips with yogurt dip
- Celery sticks spread with cream cheese and chopped black olives (fancy pants ants on a log)
- Homemade tuna or salmon salad in whole wheat mini-pitas
- Fresh fruit with peanut or almond butter
- My favorite snack - leftovers!
Lately, I’ve been really into homemade energy bars, which are generally simple to make and portable. I used to think I hated granola bars because all the store-bought versions I tried were so syrupy sweet. Since starting to make my own, I've changed my mind.
The quinoa bars I'm sharing with you today are just lightly sweetened with dried dates, my favorite new sweetener to cook with. Dates impart a rich, caramely flavor, but are a rich source of fiber, iron, potassium, selenium, and vitamin A.
You could boost the nutrition of these bars even more with all sorts of healthy add-ins – cacao powder, maca powder, flax seeds or chia seeds would all work beautifully.
Quinoa Tahini Bar
Adapted from Peru Delights.
- 12 chopped dates
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup almonds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup cooked quinoa
- Add first five ingredients to a food processor. Blend until you have a mostly smooth paste. Add the quinoa and blend until just combined.
- Scoop paste out of the food processor and into a medium baking dish. Press down with wet hands to spread it out evenly and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Once firmed, cut the bars into rectangles and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.