Written by SMH Outpatient Dietitian Emily Harren
Life gets busy. Whether you’re a working adult, a parent to school-aged kids or a retiree with an active social life, keeping up with a busy schedule calls for easy, nutritious snacks — for kids and grownups alike!
I generally recommend eating a meal or snack every three to four hours during the day. Ideally, each one is a combination of a carbohydrate for energy and a protein for staying power. It’s a good idea to keep healthy snacks on hand to prevent overindulging in less healthy options at work, on the go or when you get home.
If you have access to a refrigerator or can take along a thermal lunch bag, keep baby carrots and hummus, light string cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and/or boiled eggs on hand. No fridge or cooler? Take along some pre-portioned nuts, whole wheat crackers and peanut/almond butter, dried chickpeas or dried banana chips. (These are all kid-friendly options, too, that can help stave off hangry whining until it’s meal time.)
Below are some tasty, healthy recipes that make great alternatives to processed, store-bought snacks. Let us know if you try them and like them, or if you have other easy snack recipes you’d like to share. Just email to email@example.com.
Yield: 8 servings
Per serving: 113 calories, 12.4 grams carbohydrate, 3.7 grams protein, 6.8 grams fat
- 1 large red beet (or 2 small beets)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (or 1 tsp jarred garlic)
- 2½ Tbsp tahini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground turmeric (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash the beet(s), trim the end(s) and wrap in aluminum foil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place wrapped beets on it, and roast for an hour or until you can easily insert a fork into the beet. Allow beet to cool; rub outside of beet with a paper towel to easily remove its skin. Roughly chop the beet(s) into 1-inch cubes and put into a food processor with the lemon juice, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, olive oil and turmeric. Process ingredients until the mixture reaches desired smooth texture. You may need to add 1 Tablespoon of water, if the mixture is not smooth enough. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hummus with pita chips, crackers, and cut or sliced vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers and radishes.
* adapted from Publix Apron Roasted Beet Hummus
No-bake Granola Bars*
Yield: 10 servings
Per bar: 207 calories, 30 grams carbohydrate, 5.3 grams protein, 8.7 grams fat, 4.2 grams fiber
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ½ cup dried figs, soaked in warm water for 15 mins., then drained
- ¾ cup roughly chopped almonds
- 1½ cups old-fashioned oats
- ¼ cup honey (sub with agave nectar, if vegan)
- ¼ cup peanut butter (sub with sunflower seed butter, if peanut allergy
Directions: Line an 8x8 inch baking pan or glass dish with parchment paper. Process dates and figs in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Spoon paste into a large mixing bowl; stir in almonds and oats. Heat honey and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir until melted. Pour melted mixture over contents in bowl; mix well. Spoon combined mixture into lined pan/dish; spread to cover bottom of the pan. Flatten mixture as much as possible to help it stick together. Freeze for 15 minutes to harden. Once hardened, lift from pan using the edges of the parchment paper; cut into 10 bars.
* adapted from Minimalist Baker Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars
Emily Harren, MS, RD, LD, is an outpatient registered dietitian at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Diabetes Treatment and Outpatient Nutrition Services. She provides medical nutrition therapy to patients with acute and chronic dietary needs. She also serves on SMH's Health and Wellness Committee, provides talks on nutrition strategies for disease prevention and management, and regularly offers healthy eating tips on SMH's Healthe-Matters blog and Ask An Expert video series.