Determining the Value of a Truly Great and Healthy Snack
With all this talk about snacks and snackification, I’m getting hungry for something yummy and nutrient rich. But just what makes a snack a “healthy” snack? And what makes healthy snacks truly great? At Nutrient Rich® Life, we have a list of requirements that we believe all great healthy snacks should meet in order to fulfill the role of a truly great snack worth adding to your diet. These requirements are simple on their own, but when combined, the climb gets steep for a healthy snack to live up to its expectations.
Would we settle for anything less than the best? Never (well almost never ;-). And neither should you. A great-tasting, good-for-you snack should include the following:
1. Great Taste
Flavor is always going to be key. If something doesn’t taste good, why would you want to eat it? A better question: Why would your kids want to eat it? It’s one thing successfully chugging a glass of barley juice two days in a row. But is it a healthy habit that you’re going to be able to keep up a month from now? How about a lifetime from now? Healthy eating shouldn’t be a struggle against your taste buds. It should be an enjoyable experience every time. Extraordinary flavor keeps you coming back for more. It motivates you to be adventurous. To experiment with the many flavor, color and texture combinations one can get from the abundance of all-natural, scrumptious superfoods out there. Get your body addicted to some natural goodness and watch as you reap the benefits. Let your taste buds in on the fun!
2. Credibly Healthy
Obviously this is an absolute key factor when it comes to determining the value of a truly healthy snack. Ask yourself, is the producer of this food product being “transparent”? What kind of information concerning the ingredients’ origins and quality is available to me on the packaging or company website? If it claims to be organic, does it carry certification to prove it? Is it in the process of certification? If not, what other nutritional virtues does the snack possess? Is it made from wholesome, non-GMO ingredients? What about allergens, preservatives, or artificial ingredients? These are all major factors to consider when determining whether a snack that claims to be healthy has the substance to back up its big talk. And if not, is it worth investing your money and health in?
Note: Healthy and great tasting are not mutually elusive food characteristics like when we grew up. You need both, and today, finding that dynamic duo is simple if you know what to look for.
A snack would hardly be a great snack if it required you to carry around a knife and fork, your cutting board, took fifteen minutes just to prepare and some sanitary wipes for cleanup. Possibly, even a bottle and a spoon! No, a truly great snack should be as easy as twist, squeeze, and enjoy. It shouldn’t leave your hands messy; shouldn’t leave crumbs all over your dashboard, shouldn’t require any utensils to eat, and shouldn’t take more time than you have to prepare; even any. After all, it is supposed to be a snack, isn’t it? If you had the time to prepare a meal in the middle of your commute to work, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
4. The Right Size
Ah, a truly great and healthy snack that does its job and does its job well. If only such a thing was easier to find. Unfortunately, those of us trying to eat “healthier” often end up fenced in by recommended 100-calorie restrictions. Let’s get one thing straight: There are nutrient-poor calories, and there are nutrient-rich calories. A snack that does its job well should not only be made up of nutrient-dense, “good” calories, but should be able to tie you over until your next sit-down meal. A snack with substance is one that doesn’t lead to further cravings or hunger pangs, which would lead to a further loss of your time as you strive to once again fill your gut. Hungry? Grab one snack or mini-meal, enjoy it, and get on with your day. It should be as simple as that.
5. Nutrient Rich
Healthy snacks aren’t called “healthy” for nothing. In fact, we don’t believe they should be worthy of the title unless they contain nutritious, all-natural ingredients that not only fill you but satisfy your body’s daily essential needs. When a snack is made up of nutrient-rich ingredients and “good” calories, that is quality. A snack worth your money should be dense enough in nutrients to allow you to actually eat less and stay satisfied longer. Only then can a snack be called “healthy.” You more than get your money’s worth when you invest in snacks that satisfy your taste buds as well as your body’s cry for essential daily nutrients.
6. Essential Dietary Supplements
As we get down the list, the stakes rise, don’t they? High standards are the only thing that’s ever worked for us. And we have a strong feeling after taking a look at the steadily declining rates of health in this country that they could do you and your family some good too. The majority of Americans today aren’t even getting the right nutrients their bodies need to function properly and maintain themselves. North American diets are especially lacking in the omega-3’s and D and B12 vitamins. Nutrients such as these are crucial to health, and many of us know it. That’s why vitamin supplements came along, especially designed for those of us who can’t seem to get enough real vitamins from superfoods such as chia seeds, kale and beets. But what about a snack that combines award-winning flavor and convenience with high nutritional value? If a snack contained some of the essential nutrients your body needs on a daily basis, that would mean a few hundred less milligrams of vitamins you’d have to worry about purchasing and consuming elsewhere…and in much less tasty forms. Imagine spending your hard-earned money on a delicious, refreshing snack that doubled as your daily vital nutrient intake instead of forking out $30 for a bottle of chalky vitamin tablets PLUS another $5 for a bag of chips. Now there’s an idea worth looking into!
See Supplemental Essentials D & B12.
7. Time Saving
Let’s face it, none of us have the time to be spending 3+ hours of preparation on meals every day of the week—not that some of us would care to spend that much time in the kitchen, regardless. Throwing together a nice lasagna dinner Sunday afternoon is one thing and can be enjoyable. But there are just times when our bodies need something quick, and nothing else will do. A great snack should save you time by cutting down food prep, cleanup, and even eating time. There are times for chatting around the dinner table and enjoying the process of cooking. And there are times when your next business meeting—and your appetite—won’t wait. This is when a truly great, healthy snack should come to the rescue.
The unfortunate thing about most organic or nutrient-dense wholefoods and superfoods is the price tag. However important it may be to fuel your body with natural, wholesome foods, it never gets any easier spending $8.79 for a pound of organic grapes. By the time we’re through with our regular grocery shopping, those of us eating more plant-based, nutrient-rich diets aren’t left with much to splurge on other aspects of life of life and conveniences.
A nutrient-rich, guilt-free snack shouldn’t break our wallets. We believe everyone has the right to take care of their body’s nutritional needs and deserves a nutrient-rich life, especially when it comes to snacking. This means that a truly fantastic, healthy snack should be both delicious and nourishing, decadently affordable and save you money, energy and time elsewhere.
Well, there you have it; eight rock-solid substantiating pillars of a truly great and healthy snack. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to filter out most other snack items that don’t meet this criteria as you optimize the way you eat for the success results you want.
Up next we’ll be talking about the difference between “fueling” and “eating.”