Healthy Snacks Ideas, Gripes, and a Giveaway!

I Won't Even Speculate As To What Strange Ritual Is Going On Here.
Photo: Plan 59

Hungry... but it's not quite mealtime yet?

Some folks have a "no snacking between meals" policy. If that's part of your particular dietary religion, then so sorry!  You'll have to suck it up, distract yourself, and wait until the clock tells you it's time to eat again.  Just try not to think of any of sweet or salty or crispy or creamy or rich or flavorful favorites you might have--you know, those delicious treats you absolutely love that would taste so so good right now if only it were the right time of day?  Yeah, just don't think about them or imagine yourself enjoying them, because how frustrating would that be when you can't have any?

Hey, did that help? You're welcome!

Many of us, however, embrace snacking--especially me! I am a big oinky unrestrained gluttonous pig an enthusiastic consumer of all kinds of foods (though mostly healthy).   I figure if I'm hungry, and an official meal is not imminent, then hell, it's time for me to forage up a snack.

What's my biggest gripe about snacking?

It's the lack of healthy convenient options! Most packaged or fast-food snacks are Evil, and yet I'm lazy, and I sometimes like to leave my house.  You would think with the bazillions of dollars the food and restaurant industry rakes in, there would be a few more options for us healthy types, wouldn't you?  Yet despite the claims on labels and menus, most of the snack items marketed as "healthy" are pure crap.

Wouldn't it be nice if say, the vending machine in your office was packed full of healthier options than  chips and candy bars?  Well, turns out there's a company trying to do that, called HUMAN. Annabel from Feed Me, I’m Cranky told me about their attempts to improve the sad state of snacking in workplaces and schools around the country. And they're hosting a giveaway!

So, let's talk snacks... and who knows, perhaps you may win a gift pack of healthy snacks, along with a mighty cool T-shirt!

What Does Healthy Snacking Even Mean?

Of course everyone has a different idea of what "healthy" is.

And hey, just for fun, let's let the Vegans and the Primal folks and the Weight Watchers all duke it out:

Which snack is the Most Evil and which is the Most Acceptable?

(a) A serving of fried chicken skins;
(b) A Krispy Kreme Fruit Pie; or
(c) A 140 calorie serving of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae?

As the links and the associated dietary agendas will confirm, all of these snacks are either A-OK, or Absolutely Forbidden, depending on which camp you're in.  So let's disabuse ourselves of notion of a universal solution, shall we?

But heck, since it's my blog and all, here are some of my very personal and arbitrary standards for healthy snacking. Please pass on your own better ideas down in the comments!

Crabby's Personal Snacking Principles:

1. The snack item should not contain more hundreds-of-calories than there are hours before the next meal.

Whoa, that sounds like crazytalk doesn't it? What I mean is, 100 calories buys me about an hour before I'm hungry again. If I've got 2 hours until the next meal, my snack probably shouldn't be over 200 calories.

2. The snack should contain at least some protein and fiber, and ideally it should not have a high glycemic load. Bonus points if vegetables are involved. This increases satiety, nutrition, and contributes to a pleasant sense of smugness.

3. The snack should ideally be made entirely of organic local whole foods that were cultivated, prepared and delivered by cheerful well-compensated individuals in inspiring, life-affirming workplaces. But failing that, I'd at least like to avoid toxic snacks full of transfats and known carcinogens, and I'd like to minimize sodium, sugar, refined grains, gratuitous and non-nutritive calories, and artificial flavorings and colorings. (Though I do have a sweet tooth and thus somehow rationalize the use of sucralose, stevia, and erythritol. Whatever.)

4. The snack should not taste crappy.

5. However, the snack also can't taste too delicious unless portion control measures are in place.

(For example, I can easily consume an entire days worth of calories in 10 minutes eating trail mix, and still be sniffing around the cupboards looking for more. Even the healthiest of dried fruit and nut combos can be a nutritional disaster unless I throw a reasonable amount in a baggie and march my ass straight out the door).

A Few Healthy Snack Ideas

See how small this list is? That's 'cause I need help! If you have some good ideas or links to blog posts or other resources for healthy snacks, please put them in the comments and I'll try to add them.

  • Raw Veggies with Healthy Dip (hummus, guacamole, yogurt-based dips etc)
  • Canned wild salmon (mushed with a bit of goat cheese or mayo and onion). (Trader Joe's is rumored to have bpa free linings, even if they don't promote it).
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Meat or fish jerky (naturally preserved, not the junk-food kind)
  • Fruit!
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt without a bunch of sugar added
  • Veggie chips: kale, sweet potato, etc. (And by that I don't mean potato or corn or rice chips flavored with veggies, but actual vegetable chips. These can be hard to find unless you make 'em yourself or pay the folks at Brad's Raw Chips to fix some up for you).
  • Seaweed snacks (my current obsession; I also get these from TJ's).
  • Popcorn
  • Whole grain crackers with meat or cheese or a sensible spread or dip
  • Almond or peanut butter and bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • A Very Small Plate of Last Night's Leftovers

See? I need help here!

So What's The Deal With the Vending Machines and the Giveaway?

So apparently the HUMANs are trying to get their vending machines in more places.  They're offering to pay folks to find places like schools, gyms, or corporate locations that might be up for a healthier vending machine option. You fill out a referral form, and if they end up placing a machine there, you get $250.00.

Also, in order to help publicize their efforts, they're giving away "a sample pack of some of the items we sell in our machines, including Larabars, Clif Z Bars, Zico Coconut Water and more, as well as a HUMAN-branded t-shirt." Which is apparently and ideal gift for any headless friends or relatives you have who need cute clothing items!

They also have a guys-style T-shirt available.

So if you'd like to enter, just leave a comment below (a healthy snack idea would be nice, but not mandatory).  We'll hold the random drawing in a week.  (Note: this is yet another giveaway that requires a U.S. mailing address, sorry about that!)

And do remember to check back; if you win, you need to claim your prize before the end of the day on Wednesday January 18th or there will be a new drawing.

Good luck!

So, anyone have any thoughts, gripes, or healthy snack ideas? I'm suddenly very hungry!

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