When hunger strikes, most people tend to grab the first bag of junk food they lay their eyes on without considering how nutrient-deficient and unhealthy such snacks are. But what if you knew some simple, quick and easy recipes that will leave you not only satisfied and satiated, but also feeling healthy and confident that you have eaten the right thing? Our choice of midday snacks speaks volumes about us, our eating habits and state of health.
This is because snacks are basically a lighter version of a meal; if you have an overall balanced, healthy diet, your snacks will be the same. And seeing that eating just fruits or vegetables is often not satiating enough, you need some simple, easy to make recipes to fill you up with only the best foods. The key to a great snack is keeping it quick, easy to make, healthy and, of course, delicious.
The following recipes don’t require too much cooking (or ‘putting together’) time, expensive ingredients that you have to sport for at health food stores, nor too much culinary skills. Even devoted junk food lovers, picky eaters or big eaters may find pleasure in some of these recipes, especially since they call for simple ingredients and interesting food combinations that will absolutely wow you with their simplicity and appetizing taste. Here are 10 great ideas for healthy, but easy snack recipes to get your appetite working:
1) Spinach and beans. You can use either fresh spinach leaves or frozen spinach leaves or chunks. Toss a handful of frozen spinach or two handfuls of fresh spinach in a non-stick frying pan with enough water to lightly cover the bottom of the frying pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes (until the spinach turns into a sort of puree), then add a half of cup of (precooked) canned white beans. Leave for another 2-3 minutes on the stove, enough time for you to gently crush the beans with a fork. Add pink Himalayan salt to your liking and enjoy.
You can eat it as it is or spread it on (preferably wholewheat) bread. Spinach and beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber to help combat constipation, maintain a healthy digestive system and are rich in B vitamins which improve digestion and boost energy. Even more, spinach is extremely rich in vitamins A and K, calcium and iron, making it excellent for good vision, beautiful skin, strong, healthy bones and teeth, not to mention it boasts strong anti-inflammatory properties and combats fatigue (see vegetables map here).
2) Sunny side up eggs topped with turmeric, pink salt, black and white sesame seeds with whole wheat toast. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of a non-stick frying pan and spread it with your finger all over. Place it on the stove and gently crack two eggs. Let them cook for 4-8 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. Remove the eggs before there are any signs of the eggs frying. Add a pinch or two of turmeric, another of pink salt and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Turmeric is an unbelievably potent anti-inflammatory food, while sesame seeds are rich in healthy, unsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids, dietary fiber, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. This means they contribute to bone health, help reduce swelling and pain, improve vitamin and mineral absorption, support thyroid and cardiovascular health, aid digestion and prevent constipation. Both sesame seeds and eggs are a great source of protein, excellent for healthy muscles (see more on benefits of quail eggs and benefits of duck eggs).
3) Arugula and goat cheese salad with figs and a drizzle of olive oil. Wash and dry fresh arugula, cut some goat cheese into chunks and gently mix in a bowl. Drizzle some quality olive oil over. This is an extremely easy, no-cook snack, perfect for anyone looking to have a healthy vision, strong, healthy bones and teeth, beautiful skin, healthy nose, mouth and stomach mucous membranes as well as enjoy oxidative stress protection thanks to the rich vitamin A and vitamin K content of arugula. Goat cheese is a great source of protein (around 30%) and a uniquely healthy dairy product which helps boost energy levels, while figs boost energy, promote cardiovascular health and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
4) Yogurt and pears. Choose high-quality, plain yogurt (no fruit flavors, no extra-anything, just plain yogurt). Wash and dry a pear, then cut it into small chunks and mix them with the yogurt. Then enjoy. As simple as it may sound, this no-cook snack is surprisingly healthy. Plain yogurt often contains healthy probiotics which contribute to digestive health by maintaining a good population of gut bacteria. This, in turn, stimulates the digestive system to run smoothly, digest properly and have effortless bowel movements.
Pears are especially healthy if you eat them together with their peel. Not only are they tasty and full of natural sugars to give you instant energy, but they are also a great source of dietary fiber to aid digestion and prevent constipation. Moreover, pears are rated as the least allergenic fruit, so there are very little chances they will upset you. If you want double the constipation prevention-power of this snack, add several plums or, even better, prunes to your plain yogurt.
5) Figs and walnuts. When you don’t feel like putting anything together, wash yourself some figs and crack open some walnuts. Put them together in a bowl and enjoy. While walnuts are crunchy and nutty, figs are soft and honey-sweet, so you get everything you wish for in a light snack. Figs contain healthy fruit sugars, a lot of dietary fiber and generous amounts of essential nutrients, promoting cardiovascular health, improving digestion, relieving constipation, improving mood and restoring energy.
Why is this combination so wonderful? Walnuts are a great source of manganese, a powerful antioxidant-mineral and vitamin E, ideal for beautiful, radiant skin. Even more, they are one of the few Omega-3 fruit sources, so they are a must if you are leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Omega-3 fatty acids support overall brain function and only 4-5 nuts supply us with our daily intake of Omega-3. Last but not least, they are a great source of protein (24% of their weight), contributing to good health.
6) Carrot and apple juice with honey and whole wheat toast topped with goat cheese. This one is a bit of hard work because it implies washing the carrots (4-5), peeling some of their harder skin, and washing the apples (about 2 of them) and removing their seeds and seed house. After all this hard work, you put them in a juicer with some honey. Top 2-3 slices of toasted bread with a bit of goat cheese for a salty experience and enjoy a glass of refreshing carrot, apple and honey juice to balance things out.
Goat cheese is rich in protein, while whole wheat toast adds much needed dietary fiber. Carrots are ideal for relieving constipation, improve vision and offer antioxidant protection, while apples are rich in anthocyanins and help prevent sugar spikes. Honey is a wonderful soother and natural anti-inflammatory.
7) Tuna, corn and mayonnaise salad. Open a can of tuna in brine and pour out the brine. Put it in a bowl, mix it with the same amount of corn and 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. As long as this is not an everyday snack, not even the mayonnaise can cause you any harm because your body needs fats to work properly, especially your brain. Tuna is rich in phosphorus and Omega-3 fatty acids, the healthiest kind and the one our arteries and brain love the most (see benefits of fish and seafood here).
Moreover, it is a wonderful source of protein that supplies us with essential amino acids, compounds our body requires to keep healthy (and alive), but cannot produce on its own. Corn adds texture to the dish and is rich in antioxidant compounds with great health benefits, provided it isn’t genetically modified.
8) Red beet, tuna or beans and mayonnaise dressing. You can make this snack by either mixing a handful tiny chunks of red beetroot with a can of tuna and 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (a healthier kind) or by mixing a can of tuna with half a cup of canned white beans and 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Both are healthy and easy snacks, not to mention nutritious and satiating.
Red beet is an incredible antioxidant and anticancer food. Tuna is rich in essential-Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Mayonnaise adds fats needed for good brain functioning and makes the snack more delicious, while white beans are another great source of protein, soluble dietary fiber, iron and folate. Such a snack not only supports cognitive effort and offers antioxidant protection, but it is also satiating (due to its protein content) and a great source of important vitamin and minerals such as phosphorus, iron, B vitamins.
9) Bruschetta, basil, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic. Slice 1/4 of a whole wheat bread and place the slices either on a grill on in a non-stick frying pan on the stove. Let them toast on each side, then place them on a plate. Take a few cloves of garlic and rub the bread with them (they will wear out and leave a wonderful garlic aroma in the air). Drizzle olive oil, add 1-2 tomato slices (or chunks) and some basil. Enjoy.
Olive oil boasts antioxidant properties and is especially good for our arteries. Basil is an antioxidant and mild antiseptic and anesthetic. Fresh tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, vitamins A and C and potassium, while garlic is basically nature’s antibiotic. Whole wheat toast just adds dietary fiber to an already vitamin, mineral and antioxidant-packed snack.
10) Toast, leek and goat cheese. If you feel you can take strong flavors, this is the snack for you. Wash and dry one leek, then slice it lengthwise. Make sure you clean it well and don’t throw away any of it. Top each toast slice with a fine slice of hard goat cheese and one or more leek slices, depending on how pungent you want your snack to be.
Goat cheese is a healthy dairy product, eaten mostly by centenarians, but also a great source of protein to keep you satiated. Toast is the flavorless support, but if you choose whole wheat, you get a healthy intake of dietary fiber. Leek not only exhibits antiviral properties, but is also excellent for detoxification. At the same time, it exhibits impressive antioxidant and cancer-preventive properties, not to mention it prevents of blood clots and acts as a diuretic.