I’m a notorious snacker. Handfuls of popcorn, little packets of fruit snacks, nibbles of gouda, clusters of frozen grapes – I definitely don’t discriminate. I especially love a late-night snack. A bowl of cold cereal at 1 AM? Oooh baby!
When my longtime friend Ali Pipkin created a dedicated food Instagram with tons of snack ideas, I knew I had to have her on the blog to share her healthy snacking tips. Like me, she’s also a snack queen, but she snacks much smarter than I do. What I love about her snacking strategy is that she doesn’t deprive herself of what she’s craving, but she’s researched healthier alternatives to old favorites. We’re well into February and I’ve already gotten a little lazy about my new year diet. Ali to the rescue! I’ve taste-tested everything she recommends and give my Pinot & Peep Toes stamp of approval.
Here Ali is to share some of her tried-and-true favorites:
“Although I am, and always will be, a die-hard fan of Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt has found a special place in my heart (and refrigerator) due to its rich flavor and slightly higher protein content. Believe it or not, Icelandic yogurt is actually made the same way as Greek yogurt, but is strained slightly more, resulting in a seriously thick, stick-to-your-spoon consistency. Although I enjoy the product by itself, plain Icelandic yogurt is best paired with a little honey and cinnamon for a snack, or a big spoonful of nut butter, seeds, coconut chips, and fruits of the season, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial. My favorite brand is definitely Siggi. I highly recommend the following flavors: Vanilla, Pumpkin & Spice, and Raspberry. However, if I am purchasing the plain product, I usually get stocked up with Trader Joe’s Plain Icelandic Yogurt to stay within budget.”
“Skippy, Jif, Justin’s, Nutella – if it’s buttery and nutty, you bet I’ll love it. Peanut butter is without a doubt my favorite staple food, and would even go as far as to considering it my spirit animal. Whether it’s on a waffle, banana, or straight out of the jar, I cannot tell you how much I eat peanut butter (because you would probably be appalled). Not only is it delicious, but its high fat and caloric value keeps me concentrated and satisfied. My favorite peanut butters include Laura Scudder’s Nutty, Justin’s, as well as the freshly ground kind you can pick up at your local Whole Foods. Barney Butter and Wild Friends also have a variety of unique nut butters that I always enjoy sampling. If you are Trader Joe’s shopper, I highly recommend their Crunchy, Salted Peanut Butter with Flax `& Chia Seeds if you like a bit of an extra crunch. And if you’ve never tried Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, do yourself a favor and go by a jar; that stuff is life changing.”
High Protein Bars & Energy Bites
“Protein bars come in all sizes, tastes, and shapes, but as a meat eater I don’t consume protein bars necessarily for their protein source. I consume protein bars throughout the day as a snack that is sweet, satisfying and not full of added sugar. RX Bar and Perfect Bar are definitely my go-to choices due to their dessert-like taste and simple ingredients. My favorite RX bar is probably Berries & Peanut Butter or the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt because in all honesty, it tastes like a brownie! In regards to energy balls, I’ve had some homemade ones that are the bomb.com, but if you’re lazy (like me) I recommend Made In Nature Choco Crunch Figgy Pops.”
“Wine and chocolate. Name a more iconic duo…I’ll wait. Although I enjoy every type of chocolate on the market, I must say that dark chocolate is my favorite. I have at least a piece a day and have zero regret admitting that! The two staples I always have in my pantry are Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with Almonds Bars and Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips for adding to oatmeal. Yes, I put chocolate chips in my oatmeal. You should, too. I also like to freeze chocolate chips and will grab a handful to enjoy with some nuts. Another one of my fave finds are Skinny Dipped Almonds; these bad boys have just the right chocolate to almond ratio.”
“Granola is the new cereal. Growing up, I used to be a huge cereal eater. Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch every once in awhile, but granola is what I always have in my pantry. Granola keeps me fuller longer and contains less added sugar than most cereals. My favorite granolas at the moment are Trader Joe’s Toasted Coconut Granola and Trader Joe’s Pecan Praline Granola. However, I must recommend Purely Elizabeth granola as well; it is grain-free and sweetened with coconut sugar and I’ve loved every flavor I’ve tried.”
“This brilliant dip was originally just a product of chickpeas, but boy, has the 21st century transformed this creation. Now you can find eggplant hummus, avocado hummus, and believe it or not, Snickerdoodle hummus! You name it, they’ve probably blended it with chickpeas. My favorites are: Cedar’s Original Hummus, Lantana Black Bean Hummus, and Delighted By Brownie Batter Hummus.”
Crunchy + Salty
“Creating this list not only made me hungry, but also made me realize how much of a sweet tooth I have. That being said, I do not discriminate; I have nothing against salty snacks. Salty people on the other hand – different story. When I’m craving salt, I like it to have a little crunch. Here are a few of my favorite salty snacks: Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls, Lesser Evil Pink Himalayan Salt Popcorn, Terra Chips, and Bienna Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas.”
What are some of your go-to healthy snacks?