Do you find yourself eating nutritious meals during the day but then fall off the wagon come snack time? These seven satisfying snacks are both nutritious and fairly shelf-stable, so easy to keep in your pantry.
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As someone who typically craves salty treats more often than sweet, nuts are a real life savor for me! My pantry usually has an assortment of almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews and peanuts on hand. We don’t have blood pressure issues nor do we eat much processed food so I typically purchase low but salted varieties. If you struggle with salt intake, unsalted might be a better pick for you. For flavored options, the Trader Joe’s chili lime cashews pack a fabulous, spicy punch!
Nuts are a good source of protein, fiber and various other vitamins and minerals. They can be caloric so hold your snack portion to an ounce or so (about a quarter cup). The combined fat and fiber content makes them an excellent choice for staving off hunger between meals. A small handful around 3 or 4 PM keeps me content until dinner time.
If you were around in the 70’s you likely know the slogan, “the incredible, edible egg”! Well, that’s the truth. Boil up a batch at the start of the week to have on hand as a quick breakfast, afternoon snack or for adding to salads. They’re only 75 calories and pack about 7 grams of high-quality protein each!
3. Dried Unsweetened Fruits
The key to this snack is UNSWEETENED! Read your labels. Apricots and apple slices are two of my favorites in this category. I’ll use a few chopped up on steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast or plain as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Like the other choices in my “Satisfying Seven”, these do a great job of keeping you full.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, dates are an incredible treat! They have a very high sugar content but are also filled with fiber and provide a way of indulging in a natural, unprocessed way.
Honestly, it might be possible to live the rest of my life off of nothing but cheese, soda water and wine. I love it just that much! Cheese is one of those items that makes a lot of people’s “don’t” list but is front and center on my “must have” snack inventory.
Cheese fills and satisfies in a way that not many other things can, thanks to it’s fat content and creamy mouth-feel. Keep the portion to one ounce. Buy quality. No packaged slices or low-fat nonsense here. If you’re going to indulge, INDULGE. It’s the intense flavor and creaminess that will provide an experience lush and fulfilling enough to hold you over until mealtime.
As I mentioned back in this post, popcorn is a household favorite! If you use raw kernels and this silicone microwave popcorn popper , you can completely control the calories, butter, salt, etc. that you add to your movie night treat. Pop up a bit extra for late-morning or mid-afternoon when you need a little something to tide you over.
6. Dark Chocolate
We always have a stock of dark chocolate on hand and this is usually my after-dinner snack of choice. Compared to milk chocolate, dark varieties have a more concentrated and slightly bitter taste but they are ultra, ultra satisfying! It lets you indulge in an intense chocolate flavor without the danger of going overboard, as is so typical when eating milk chocolate.
If you haven’t tried dark chocolate yet, try making the switch by working your way up to semi-sweet and then bittersweet varieties. See chart of cocoa bean percentages below. My favorite chocolates are usually in the 70% range.
- White Chocolate: 0% cocoa beans
- Milk Chocolate: 10-20% cocoa beans
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: 35-60% cocoa beans
- Bittersweet Chocolate: 65-80% cocoa beans
- Unsweetened Chocolate: 85-100% cocoa beans
7. Frozen Fruit/Berries
In Ohio, we are dependent upon shipped-in produce for a large part of the year, and while we try to eat seasonally, namely citrus, apples and pears during the cooler months, I occasionally crave berries out of season. Enter frozen fruit. I’ve started getting the large bags from retailers like SAM’s or Costco to keep in the freezer. For breakfast, I’ll have a bowl of berries or a smoothie or will use some for a mid-day snack.
Thawing them on the defrost cycle of the microwave for about 3 minutes seems to be enough to unfreeze the berries but keep them cool and maintaining their shape. You may need to experiment to find the correct amount of defrost time for you. Again, be sure to read your labels and to purchase only UNSWEETENED varieties!
Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!