Alisa Fleming ~ Some of us struggle for ideas when dinnertime rolls around. Others haven’t settled into their breakfast comfort zone. While many of us panic when the snack monster hits. Not wanting to reach for the nearest cookie, but tired of noshing on plain carrot sticks, we’re longing for some good healthy snacks.
All of the ideas below are ones that I enjoy as a nutritious alternative when my sweet tooth takes hold. They are all dairy-free (of course!), egg-free, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and adaptable to peanut-free and nut-free as noted. I like to cover all the bases whenever possible.
1. Banana Coconut Pecan Muffins – We love banana muffins, or banana-anything really. This recipe is a great base for customizing some portable nutritious snacks. Want more fiber? Use whole wheat pastry flour in place of the all-purpose. Prefer less-refined sweeteners? Use coconut or palm sugar in place of the raw sugar. Need nut-free? Skip the nutty add-ins, or swap them for raisins, oats, or seeds. Prefer gluten-free? Gluten-free oat flour (a.k.a. ground oats) is amazing with bananas, or you can use your favorite gluten-free flour blend (with a touch of xanthan or guar gum). Click the link above or the photo for the recipe.
2. Low Sugar Chocolate Coconut Milk – They say that chocolate milk is the “ultimate” post-workout snack, but I still find it hard to believe that my body needs that much sugar after I just spent an hour detoxifying it. And, of course, there is the whole dairy issue. Appearing as an answer to my quandry, I recently discovered So Delicious Chocolate Coconut MIlk Beverage in single serve packages! It is perfect for on-the-go, lunch boxes, after school, and oh yes, definitely post workout. As an added bonus, they are significantly lower in sugar than chocolate milk (or other brands of dairy-free chocolate milk alternative for that matter!), fortified, certified vegan, certified gluten-free, kosher parve, free of all top allergens (aside from coconut), and yes, they taste great! Click here for a So Delicious Coupon
3. Chocolaty GORP – Who says the “P” has to be peanuts? We also love dairy-free chocolate chips + Good ‘Ol Raisins and Pecans, or Pistachios, or Pumpkin Seeds, or Pretzels. Really, as long as the chocolate is in there, Tony will eat it.
4. Homemade Granola and Granola Bars – I still use the homemade granola and granola bar recipes in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook regularly. They are my baseline for so many tasty variations and so, so easy to make! They are naturally vegan, and since you customize them at home, you can use certified gluten-free oats and other allergy-friendly ingredients.
5. Cinnamon-Sprinkled Fruit – Apple and orange slices are a classic and have been a good healthy snack in my life since those early days of childhood soccer games. These days, I up the nutrition and the indulgence by sprinkling the cut slices with ground cinnamon. If packing those cut apples to go, be sure to dip them in citrus juice before sprinkling on the cinnamon. This will help to prevent that harmless yet unsightly browning.
6. The Elvis Shake or Amaing Almond Shake – I mentioned a deep passion for bananas, correct? We eat them, we mash them into the muffins above, and daily we puree them into thick, frosty smoothies. My go-to “Elvis” blend is …1 very ripe, frozen banana, broken into chunks + 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter or sunflower seed butter + 1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage + Dash of stevia (just brightens the flavor) + Dash of cinnamon. When I’m in an almond mood, I do the pure almond variation pictured below (click the photo for the recipe). Sometimes I enjoy one of these frosties as is, but other times I up the ante with nutritional “boosters” like protein powder, amino acids, probiotic powder, and yes, even spinach!
7. Nutty Butter Spread on Rice Cakes – Pure nut butter on its own can be a bit thick and difficult to spread, but whisk it with a little almond milk or coconut milk beverage plus some sweetener, and it becomes a softer treat. One of my favorites is to stir 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Almond Plus almond milk beverage into 1 tablespoon of fresh almond butter, plus some maple syrup, to taste (depending on my sweetness mood). For a thicker, frosting-like spread, add a little dairy-free protein powder. Spread on rice cakes, whole grain bread, or even graham crackers (yes, there are vegan and gluten-free graham crackers out there, too!). Technically, this could make the list of “good healthy snacks on the go,” but I find nut butters just a little too messy for travel.
8. Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons – When you must have a cookie, why not reach for one that uses healthy whole food ingredients? These tasty little macaroons have a nutty-chocolate filling (you can use your favorite nut butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter). I often make these with powdered coconut sugar (or palm sugar) in place of the sugar for a treat that is just slightly less sweet, and void of refined sugars. Again, these could probably be packed for some good healthy snacks in lunch boxes, but the chocolate could be a wee bit messy.
9. Hot Spiced Milk – When the weather is chilly, I heat up some vanilla dairy-free milk alternative, sprinkle in a little pumpkin pie spice or I simply use a cinnamon stick for stirring. I like using the Almond Plus Vanilla Almond Milk for warm milk because it has a little dose of protein and isn’t too high in sugars, yet I don’t need to add any sweetener. A quick winter warmer! If I’m wanting an added nutrition and energy jolt, I stir in some dairy-free protein powder (vanilla or chocolate!).
10. Yogurt Parfaits – The possibilities here are endless, but here is how it usually goes in my house … 1/4 cup dairy-free yogurt, 1/4 cup homemade granola or crumbled snack bars, heaping 1/4 cup fresh berries, and repeat (for 6 layers in total). As for the yogurt, my favorite right now is the So Delicious Vanilla Almond Milk “Greek” Yogurt. Tony goes for the berry-flavored options among the regular So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurts.
What about you – what are your favorite sweet healthy snacks?