January is all about New Year’s resolutions. I get that it’s the perfect time for a fresh start or a clean slate. I don’t do official resolutions. It’s too much pressure. Eat healthy, exercise - those are my perpetual promises to myself. Some days I do better than others. I’d rather think of it as an ongoing conscious lifestyle choice, with flexibility built in.
Which brings me to snacking. Snacking and eating healthy don’t always go together. We try not to snack, but sometimes we just need a little something to hold us over.
We have a “snack” shelf at home and at our office. It’s not really as salacious and unhealthy as it sounds. In fact, except for a few small potato chip bags, our snack shelf is filled mostly with nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and fiber, both of which help control your appetite and cravings by boosting the feeling of fullness. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. And, some seeds like chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
My crunchy protein bites are packed with energy-boosting nuts, seeds, and nut butter. Maple syrup provides a hint of sweetness. Since these bites don’t contain any fillers or binders, they tend to be a bit more crumbly when compared to store-bought ones. They are also dairy-free, egg free and paleo-friendly.
So, what are your go-to healthy snacks? If you need any inspiration, check out Nuts.com for a bunch of healthy snack ideas: https://nuts.com/healthy-snacks.
And one more thing, I make a point of saying unsweetened dried fruit. Personally, I think fruit has enough of its own sugar and there's no reason to add more. It's not always easy to find unsweetened dried fruit, but it's out there. In addition to nuts and seeds, I was happy to see that Nuts.com does have a variety of unsweetened organic dried fruits.
Crunchy Protein Bites
Makes 20 pieces
Serving Size = 1 piece
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup pepitas (raw, unshelled pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup dried unsweetened, unsulfured bing cherries, chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened, unsalted creamy peanut butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- Coconut oil, for greasing pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl combine the first 10 ingredients.
- Stir in the peanut butter and maple syrup, Mix well, until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and press down evenly. Pack very firmly or bites will crumble.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let pan cool completely.
- Once cool, lift parchment paper out of pan and cut into 20 pieces.
- Feel free to substitute any of the nuts/seeds/nut butter.
- In place of maple syrup, raw honey also works well.
Photos by Renato Ghio