Description: What rates as healthy snacking is eating a small quantity of whole foods eaten in between small to medium sized meals. Choose from an abundant selection of diverse foods, and your snacks will always be interesting. Fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds, whole or sprouted grain crackers or essence breads with a layer of nut butters, or a slice of avocado, a leftover slice of quality protein food with a few stalks of celery all describe a great snack. Delicious choices abound if you know what to look for.

Whole food snacks such as organic almonds, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit, fresh fruit, veggies with nut butters or homemade dips, and boiled eggs are all great options. Whole food snacks will fill you up and nourish your body in ways that processed snacks, even if they are organic, cannot.

When putting together a snack, consider making intelligent food combinations. Choosing one or two simple, whole foods is a sure recipe for a healthy snack. Pair a vegetable with either a protein or fat. Great options include: sliced carrots or cucumber with a nut butter or handful of nuts; a hard boiled egg with chopped celery and tomatoes; baked chips and fresh salsa; homemade egg salad and sprouts; and sprouted bread with a thin layer of miso and sliced avocado. These combinations help keep our energy levels high, our blood sugar stable, and our mental and emotional outlook bright.

What to look for: As always, the key to discovering and selecting healthy packaged food choices is reading the ingredient list. Look for products that contain wholesome, organic ingredients. When searching for pre-made snacks, look for baked, rather than fried potato, corn or vegetable chips. Organic crackers or crackers with few, simple ingredients are delicious alternatives to the standard fare. Fresh salsas and dips are often available in natural food stores; be sure to read the ingredients. Organic, whole fruits and vegetables. When purchasing fresh foods, seek locally grown items first and foremost; farmer’s markets are excellent resources to find the freshest seasonal produce as well as an opportunity to meet local farmers. In the natural food store or supermarket, look for healthy, vibrant organic produce that is locally grown when possible.

Uses: Food bars are quick in-between meal snacks acceptable as travel food, and good after a workout, especially when accompanied by a green juice. Consider them emergency food rather than meal replacements. Be aware of the calories in snack bars. It is easy to overeat energy bars and trail mix. Both are best eaten in small amounts along side a small smoothie or serving of yogurt, fresh fruit or herb tea.

Where to find: Local farmer’s market, natural food stores, online resources.

Avoid: If you don’t recognize it or can’t pronounce it, skip it. Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, especially corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavors. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is especially pervasive in many snack foods, contributes to an impaired metabolism and diabetes, and increases the addictive quality of food. Generally speaking, the vast majority of snack foods in the supermarket are loaded with artificial additives to improve the flavor of highly processed, dead foods. All fried snacks, including potato and tortilla chips. Rice cakes and other puffed grains, while appearing healthy, are subjected to extremely high temperatures that destroy beneficial nutrients. Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), processed soy, including soy oil, soy protein and soy protein isolate, artificial colors and flavors, and products with long list of ingredients with names you don’t understand.