Eating responsibly can be a real challenge. Though I have a wholehearted love for fresh, nutritious foods, like most people, I am easily distracted by sweets and other treats. The greatest roadblock between me and mindful eating, however, is my schedule. The full-on sprint that is my life can make it difficult for me to make good choices.
The answer, of course, is preparation. For me and so many others, the only way to make healthy choices is to be prepared with healthy options. And snack prep is absolutely imperative; after all, it’s the snack cravings that get me in trouble! But if I’m prepared with a slew of healthy, on-the-go snack ideas, it’s easier to avoid making those less -healthy choices.
To hold me over each week and help me make good choices when I feel the urge to snack, I’ve amassed a list of healthy make-ahead snacks. Here are some of my favorites:
My favorite snacks to keep in the freezer. Throughout the week, I’ll pull few of these sweet and spicy meatballs out and warm them up for a hearty snack that feels like cheating. My kids like them when they come home from school, too. They provide just enough protein to power up and take on homework or after school activities before suppertime.
Plus, meatballs are the perfect snack to have handy for impromptu guests. I just pop some in the oven when they arrive, spread them on a bed of sweet potato fries from my freezer, and play my part as the hero-hostess.
Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Toasty, crunchy and oh-so savory, I always have a stash of roasted garbanzo beans in my purse. They’re full of flavor, have a long shelf life and can be eaten at any temperature. Better yet, this healthy snack is so easy to make and customize. I love simple salt and pepper, but sometimes I pump them up a little with a BBQ rub. And I can count on them to hold me over until dinnertime.
Homemade hummus is super easy to make and even easier to doctor up in creative ways, making for great snacking variety. Tailor it to your tastes by playing with different spices, add-ins and beans (cannellini, black or traditional garbanzo). This white bean hummus makes a delicious alternative to traditional hummus.
Spoon it into individually-sized storage containers and pack it for the afternoon slump at school or work.
When I’m on the wagon, salsa is the only thing that keeps me honest. I keep this black bean salsa on hand in my fridge to enjoy with crudité and tortilla chips. And, I bring it to every gathering I attend. Everyone thinks of my homemade salsa as my signature dish, but I know it as the super-fresh snack that’s going to save me at every party’s appetizer table.
I make a point of always having several avocados and limes in various stages of ripeness lining my kitchen windowsill so that I can pull together some of this scrumptious guacamole quickly. My family and my guests love this colorful, fresh treat; and sometimes, during naptime or a lull in the day, I make a small batch just for myself to enjoy!
Eating responsibly can be hard. It’s easy to make bad decisions when healthy snacks aren't close at hand, but with a little prep and planning, it’s remarkably easy to make good decisions! Fresh ingredients, simple recipes and a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon are all it takes.