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…
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!
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?