We've all been there. It's 2:30 in the afternoon and you're hit with a sudden pang of hunger. You ate hours ago and dinner's not even on the horizon. So you start thinking about your snack options. There are the delicious-but-bad-for-you treats, and then there are the nutritious-but-hard-to-talk-yourself-into-actually-eating snacks.
But what if there were a better option?
Like so many things in life, the key to a good snack is balance. You can have delicious treats without having to marinate in guilt, just as long as the snacks you choose balance taste with nutritional content. One of the best ways to ensure that balance is to choose snacks that contain plenty of fiber and protein. Not only will that keep your stomach feeling full and satisfied for longer, reducing your food cravings, but it also gives you the sustained energy you need to be at your best.
These vegan, gluten-free snack ideas will fill you up and keep you going through the long, long afternoon without loading you up with wasteful calories or suspicious, hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
1. Snack bars
There's a bunch of reasons that people depend on snack bars to get themselves through the day: they're portable and easy to slip into your purse or laptop bag for when hunger pangs strike, and a delicious snack bar is something to look forward to during your afternoon slump. But all snack bars aren't created equally; some just fill you up on sugar and other empty calories. So if you're someone who craves a good snack bar, make sure that you pick a low-glycemic brand that's a good source of fiber and protein. One good choice is LUNA Bars — they have a wide variety of surprisingly delicious flavors suited for any snacking situation (some of our favs include: Nutz Over Choclate, Chocolate Peppermint Stick, LemonZest). If you find yourself on the run post-workout, you can always check out their high-protein options.
2. Apples with almond butter and chia seeds
Looking for something quick and nutritious that doesn't skimp on flavor? Check out this simple recipe for apples with almond butter and chia seeds. Just slice up an apple, spread some almond butter on top, then sprinkle it with chia seeds.
You'll get fiber from all three ingredients, protein from the almond butter and chia seeds, plus a whole array of other important nutrients — everything from omega-3 fatty acids to calcium to potassium and Vitamin C. Pretty impressive for a snack that you can put together in 30 seconds flat!
3. No-bake chocolate chip cookies
In the mood for something sweeter, but don't want to blow through a whole day's calories in one go? These awesome no-bake chocolate chip cookies are a balanced alternative to prepackaged sweets.
The ingredients are simple, just coconut flakes and oil, almond flour, dark chocolate, and cinnamon. Making these cookies is even simpler: just mix in a bowl, shape with your hands, then set them in the fridge to solidify for a couple hours. And because these treats are high in protein and fiber, you won't have to make a second batch to get through the afternoon!
If you're someone who gets your big snack cravings mid-morning instead of in the middle of the afternoon, this gluten-free granola recipe should hit the spot. This granola is nut-based, providing plenty of fiber and protein to keep your stomach satisfied and your body energized, while also giving you omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and other essential nutrients.
For a slightly more indulgent treat, take the granola you've already made and use it to put together this chia-berry parfait. It contains all the nutritional value of the gluten-free granola, but with a hearty helping of fresh berries and almond or coconut milk to mix things up.
5. Healthy ginger cookies
Not into chocolate, but still want a sweet, balanced treat when it's time to snack? Consider making these healthy ginger cookies — they're like the ginger snaps you grew up with, but without processed sugars and animal-based fats. Because they contain chia seeds, unsweetened apple sauce, and coconut oil, these nutritious cookies provide the fiber and protein that a balanced snack needs. Even better, they bake in only 15 minutes, so you never have to wait that long to taste one!
6. Sweet potato fries
Want to sate your hunger with something savory and delicious? This recipe for sweet potato fries comes packed with essential fiber and protein, plus it's naturally gluten-free and vegan, too, if you leave out the parmesan or substitute vegan cheese.
Sweet potatoes are often described as a superfood because of their high level of Vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, and their significant protein and fiber content, but they aren't just nutritious — they're also packed with flavor. Throw in some fresh garlic and sage and you'll see how delicious sweet potatoes can taste!
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