Snacks are an important part of our daily food intake. They can simply be a piece of fruit while out and about or they can make up your diet for the entire day. What we choose to snack on is important. We want something that is healthy & nutritionally dense. Halloween candy doesn’t count 🙂
True story…I was at my local natural food store, Wild Rivers, when a man loudly asked the cashier: “Where the hell is the junk food aisle? This is the only junk food I could find (he held up an organic bar of chocolate).” Everyone laughed. It occurred to me that most grocery stores have several aisles of junk food. Natural food stores don’t. They do have chocolate bars, protein bars & chips, but in general, the ingredients are not that bad.
While you are out & about, it is easy to succumb to a muffin at Starbucks, a candy bar while getting gas for the car, or driving thru a fast food place. If you plan ahead you can have prepared snacks with you. Get a lunch box or bag for them along with a reusable bottle of water. Keep it with your purse or car keys to remind you to bring it along.
When you are feeling ill &/or in treatment, you have no appetite nor energy to fix a meal. In past discussions I have suggested that you eat at least 6-8 snacks a day instead of 3 meals. The reason I suggested this, is that you will take in more calories & nutrients eating small snacks all day instead of pushing the food around on your plate during a traditional meal. Check out my Topic: Nutrition Tips During Chemotherapy for additional information.
I have made it known in prior posts, how much I hate lunch. It is a meal that I just don’t understand. Nothing appeals to me & I end up eating nothing or I make a sandwich which I really don’t want. I like a healthy breakfast & a healthy dinner with snacks in between. The key to this is to have “snack stuff” on hand. As I researched snacks on line, lots of not so healthy ideas came up. But when I researched Mediterranean diet snacks, I found some wonderful ideas.
Snacks based on this diet would include whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, some dairy, & healthy fats. Fish & lean meats could also be included. Stock your pantry with them. Mediterranean Organic is a line of Mediterranean products that can be found at Jimbo’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods & other markets. Go to the website & use the locator for a store near you.
I enjoy sitting down to a plate with the following in small servings:
Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)…You can purchase these already made in the deli at most stores. You can also find them on the shelf.
Feta cheese… 2-3 small squares the size of dice.
Greek Olives…I buy them marinated in vinegar & water rather than in oil.
Sliced bell peppers or Peperonchini’s
Tomato slices…I go for the cherry tomatoes.
Legumes I have on hand…1/4 cup of any bean or lentil.
Pita Bread or whole grain crackers.
Cleaveland Clinic: Mediterranean Diet-Friendly Snacks: Chickpeas roasted with olive oil, salt and paprika “It is possible to have a satisfyingly crunchy and salty snack without reaching for a bag of chips. Make your own spiced, roasted chickpeas: Rinse, drain and pat dry two cans of chickpeas. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven until dark and crunchy, 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and paprika to taste, and roast a few minutes more. Chickpeas and olive oil are staples of the Mediterranean diet; the beans are rich in fiber, and olive oil delivers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. (And even your favorite picky eater will love them.) I make these from chickpeas that I have sprouted or if I am in a hurry I use the canned chickpeas. Very satisfying & can be added to other nut mixtures as a grab & go snack.
Healthy Living: 5 Healthy Snacks from the Mediterranean Diet: 1/4 Cup Hummus dip with 1/2 cup raw vegetables – 130 calories (Less than 1 g saturated fat) 1/2 cup would be a healthy amount. There are many brands of hummus to be found. I like the sprouted raw hummus by Majestic. I bought it at Jimbo’s. I now make my own; can’t find it here.
This chickpea based dip made with olive oil is an ideal Med diet snack, high in fiber, unsaturated fats and protein to keep you fuller for longer. By dipping chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, or capsicum you are also increasing your intake of important vitamins and minerals. Sprinkle the dip with a little paprika and lemon juice for flavor.
Check out this link for other hummus uses: Oldways: 12 Great Ways to Use Hummus
Also from Healthy Living: 5 Healthy Snacks from the Mediterranean Diet: Small tin of Tuna on 4 whole wheat crackers – 205 calories (based on tuna in water) -1.2g saturated fat
Oily fish such as tuna are an important protein source in the Med diet. By combining reduced salt tinned tuna with whole grain crackers, you are also increasing your intake of whole grains, another important part of the diet. Tuna provides Omega 3 fatty acids, which play a part in lowering blood cholesterol levels, as well as protein to stop your hunger. Tuna packed in olive oil is the ideal choice for those following the Med diet, but if you are watching your weight a water packed one is lower in calories. For those of you who need the calories or don’t have a weight issue choose the oil packed.
Healthy Homemade Garden Salad: Yummly: 10 best Healthy Mediterranean Snacks
Ingredients: serves 4
2 medium tomatoes (diced) Cherry tomatoes are easier 🙂
1/2 cucumber (medium, sliced thinly)
3 ounces black olives (whole) or Greek Olives
4 1/2 ounces feta cheese (cubed)
vinaigrette dressing (Red Wine) Combine the following & let sit while you assemble the salad.
1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
Toss together & serve. A serving can be brought along with you by keeping the dressing separate in a small container or jar.
Don’t forget, a hard-boiled egg on a salad or by itself is a healthy snack. If you have time you can make deviled eggs to have on hand. Add whole grain bread, pita bread or whole grain crackers to have with it.
Mary’a Gone Crackers are a favorite of ours. They are organic, gluten-free, vegan & kosher. Easy to find. Sprouts, Henry’s, Trader Joe’s, even Smart & Final! Check the store locator on the website.
Prepare raw vegetables by cleaning & chopping them to store in the refrigerator for a quick pick-me-up or to add to your snack of hummus, nut butter or hard-boiled egg.
Fresh fruit is another grab & go snack to keep with you. Apples travel well & it is apple season right now! For a “sweet tooth, take a Medjool date with you.
Layered Greek Dip Recipe. I saw this idea at this website: Betty Crocker: Mediterranean Appetizer Recipes I didn’t like the recipe itself but the idea is wonderful as a grab & go when you are going for treatment or a picnic! Here is the original recipe with my notes.
1 container (6 oz) Liberté® Méditerranée lemon yogurt Use Greek Yogurt, plain.
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain hummus (from 7-oz container)
- 3 medium plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded, chopped (1/2 cup) or any tomato sliced.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber Doesn’t have to be seeded.
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (2 medium)
- Pita chips, as desired
- Sliced cucumbers and bell pepper strips, as desired I would add the bell peppers to the above mix of veggies.
- In small bowl, mix yogurt, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice and salt.
- Into each of 8 (2- to 3-oz) glasses, (Use a 4 ounce jar or canning jar with lid) layer 2 tablespoons hummus, 1 heaping tablespoon yogurt mixture, 1 tablespoon tomato, 1 tablespoon cucumber, 1 tablespoon olives and slightly less than 1 teaspoon green onions. Add in green peppers & any other veggie you would like.
- Serve with remaining ingredients. Bring along the pita chips!
This site has many good recipes, including: Mediterranean Nachos, Greek Hummus Nachos & several Mediterranean quesadillas!
Pita bread makes a great pocket sandwich. It is easy to transport in a sandwich bag or container. The filling can be all raw, cut up veggies. You can bring a small container of Greek Yogurt or a vinaigrette to add to it. Olives, a few cubes of a cheese, nuts, seeds, fish or chicken are great additions. Be creative. You can do the same thing with a flat bread or crackers. Pile everything on top!
If you are at home, you can make a quick “pizza”. For the crust you can use Naan, flat bread, or pita bread. Pile on the veggies & sprinkle with a little bit of Parmesan, feta, or another cheese. Put it in the toaster oven or under the grill & melt the cheese. You don’t even need a sauce.
Indian Life Naan are non-GMO, organic ingredients & easy to find in stores. I like the garlic naan. Rustic Crust Organic Flatbread is another easy to find product. They can be used as a pizza crust. Another option is Organic Sprouted Tortillas by Food for Life.
This website has a list of healthy snack foods. Rodale’s Organic Life: 21 Best Organic Snack Foods: “But it’s the quality of those snacks that matters most, and not just when it comes to calories. According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, approximately 80 percent of packaged foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that—among other health concerns—put you at greater risk for food allergies and gastrointestinal problems. Because GMOs aren’t labeled as such, you can’t protect yourself from these iffy ingredients and identify them in that lengthy list of ingredients you either can’t pronounce or have never heard of. That’s why we compiled this list of the best, healthy certified-organic snacks and snacks certified under the Non-GMO Project Verified program, which tests foods for residues of unhealthy, pesticide-riddled, GMO ingredients.” Some of the ideas have added sugar but in small amounts.
Nuts! They are the ultimate high protein, high fiber, portable, snack food. This is a very good guide to nuts from the University of Michigan Health Systems: Healthy Nuts Go Nuts For snacking: a serving size is “a handful, not a can full” 🙂
Another favorite grab & go; nut butters! Get a small container that will hold 2 tablespoons of your nut butter. Take it along with a cut up apple, &/or crackers. I like Santa Cruz Peanut Butter because this is their ingredient list: ORGANIC ROASTED PEANUTS, CONTAINS 1% OR LESS OF SALT. Once Again Nut Butters have only organic nuts as their ingredients too. Check the ingredient list when buying nut butters. Many have added sugar & added honey.
I will end with this website that has very good information on Protein Bars. The bars are rated, A-F. Nutrition Awareness: The Best Protein Bars .
Break out the dark chocolate! Until next week!…Mary 🙂
- Betty Crocker: Mediterranean Appetizer Recipes
- Cleaveland Clinic: Mediterranean Diet-Friendly Snacks
- EatingWell: 10 Minute Snacks From the Mediterranean Diet
- Healthy Living: 5 Healthy Snacks from the Mediterranean Diet
- Healthy Nuts Go Nuts
- Indian Life Naan
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Mediterranean Organic
- Nutrition Awareness: The Best Protein Bars .
- Oldways: 12 Great Ways to Use Hummus, Snacks
- Once Again Nut Butters
- Organic Sprouted Tortillas by Food for Life
- Rustic Crust Organic Flatbread
- Santa Cruz Peanut Butter
- Yummly: 10 best Healthy Mediterranean Snacks
- 21 Best Organic Snack Foods
Books: Try your library first. If you buy from Amazon, please use Amazon Smile: SDCRI.
- Gluten-Free Snacks and Sweet Treats Kids Love: 30+ wholesome and kid-friendly snacks, appetizers, smoothies and sweet treats without gluten, artificial colors or preservatives.
- Hiking Trail Mix Recipes: A Camping Snack Mix Cookbook
- Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk
- The Best Appetizers & Snacks From the Mediterranean Cuisine
- Vegan Snacks & Appetizers