Upping Daily Calorie Consumption With These Three Healthy Snack Foods

Now that I am completely immersed in a plant based, whole-food diet, I’ve found that it is essential to continually snack on healthy foods throughout the day, in addition to eating three main meals, just to maintain a healthy weight and make sure that I am providing my body with the proper amount of calories, protein, and nutrients it requires for optimizing performance throughout the day.

It’s taking some getting used to.  I’ve never eaten this way, before.  Who knew it could be so difficult to develop the habit of continuously eating all day long?

My husband is also trying to up his daily caloric intake by constantly eating throughout the day.  He’s always been tall and thin, but he’s really having a hard time, lately, keeping on the pounds.  I am constantly having to ask him, “when’s the last time you ate something?” to remind him to eat!

A few months ago I sat and watched an episode of “The Deadliest Catch” with my daughter.  Who knew a show about fishing could be so entertaining?

In this particular episode, it was harvest time.  The fisherman knew that they were up against the clock and would be working around the clock for about a week, straight, to haul in as many fish as possible.

While the show focused on the danger of the job, I was far more interested in what one of the fisherman had to say about the eating habits of the crew during this grueling work week…in order for them to perform at top level, with only a few minutes of sleep, here and there, they had to consume a ton of calorie dense food whenever possible.  That meant stuffing down hot dogs, candy bars, sodas, potato chips — basically as much junkfood as they possibly could — to keep them operating at peak levels.

Wow!  I thought.  That makes a lot of sense.  There’s no way they’d be able to do what they do on only three square meals a day, no matter how big those meals were.  In order to sustain that type of work for long periods at a time, their bodies needed to be optimally fueled – at all times!

While I don’t particularly think the food they were putting into their bodies was the wisest choice, I totally got why they did it, and it inspired me to have lots of healthy snacks, lying around, that we can quickly get a hold of and consume while we’re working out at our homestead.

Here are three go-to, healthy foods that I always try to have on hand for fast fueling…

1.  Trail Mix.  I try to stay away from the pre-made versions because of their expense and not-so-healthy ingredients.  Instead, I make my own out of the following ingredients…

Three handfuls each of:

  • raw almonds
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • raw cashews
  • raw walnut pieces

Five handfuls each of:

  • dried cranberries
  • dried date pieces
  • dark chocolate chips

(None of the nuts are salted, roasted, nor covered with spices; the cranberries are just dried cranberries – no sugar, or other artificial preservatives; same with the dates).

I keep a big jar of this on our kitchen counter and eat a few handfuls of it — whether I’m hungry, or not — here and there, throughout the day to keep up my energy and provide my body with the extra calories it needs — especially when I’m doing a lot of physical work outside.

2.  Muffins.  I like to make a big batch of these in the morning.  They are an easy, grab-and-go snack that provides lots of great, healthy calories.  I vary the type that I make, but I especially love these Veggie Confetti Muffins from the Fatfree Vegan site…

These are fat-free, sugar-free, and are loaded with carrots, zucchini, walnuts, and whole wheat.  (I actually sub mashed banana for the apple in the recipe).    Love, love, love these —  And, I can eat as many as I want, whenever I want throughout the day to keep me going!

3.  Smoothies.  There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t whip up a nutrient-dense, energy-packed smoothie.  I toss whatever frozen fruit I’ve got hanging around in my freezer, plus whatever fresh fruit and/or greens I’ve got growing out in the garden into my blender, press the “liquify” button, sit back, and wait for the magic to happen!

It’s amazing how something so green can taste so good!

I don’t use recipes to create my smoothies, anymore, but if you’re looking for some specific how-to’s and recipes, this is one of my favorite sites!

Well, that’s it.  These are my three favorite, handy-dandy, healthy snack foods that I look to to keep me going every day.  Since I’ve started  to really take time to make and consume these foods, everyday, and throughout the day, whether I feel hungry or not,  I find that I am able to work for more sustained periods of time,  that I don’t get as fatigued as I used to when I only consumed three meals a day, and that I am better able to maintain a consistent body weight.

What healthy snacks do you like to consume, throughout the day, to keep your energy up and help you operate at optimum levels?  What healthy snack changes do you need to incorporate into your life?

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2 thoughts on “Upping Daily Calorie Consumption With These Three Healthy Snack Foods

  1. Hi! Hope it’s all going great out there. Our garden is booming now and we have too many crooknecK! HA HA But that’s okay. Melons are getting big, etc. You talk about those handfuls of yummy nuts and stuff, for your family, you seem to all be on the thinner side, for those of us who are not, it’s not a great idea in my opinion because of the high fat/calorie in nuts. THey are VERY good for you and a little is good but…wish I could eat the amount you do! 🙂 Great choices though and good idea to have them mixed up ready to grab! I’ll have to make some up for Chris. 🙂

    • Sandy, I am glad to hear that your garden is doing well! And, yes, one crookneck squash plant goes a long way, doesn’t it? I agree with you about the nuts. I have always limited them because of their fat content and acidity. Now that we are eating a plant-based diet, and garden chores are abundant, we are really having to concentrate on making sure that we’re taking in enough calories (including fat calories) just to stay even with what is getting burned off as we work. It’s amazing how much food a body needs when it is constantly in motion! Have fun making up your own batch of trail mix with healthy choices that work best for you!

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