One of the most creative and fun parts of our job is to create menus for our clients. When working with dietary sensitivities and allergies, we have to be more creative than usual because we often need to avoid using common ingredients. Avoiding dairy and gluten is our jam. It’s basically our “normal” and there’s never a moment of hesitation when it comes time to plan a gluten and dairy free menu. But, those aren’t the only ingredients that we work without. Many of our clients also avoid eating sugar (and sometimes even healthy sweeteners, like maple syrup and honey). And, some of them are taking a break from eating grains. Some of them are vegan, so no eggs or other animal ingredients allowed. Or, no nightshades. There are a lot of other foods that clients need to avoid and often come to us with their food sensitivity test results. No matter how many limitations, we’ll always get creative with planning a menu for each client we work with.
Sometimes though, we also like to recommend good products to our clients. And, quick, easy snacks that they can carry with them and eat on the go or in between meals.
Here, we’ll share our top 5 favourite snacks, some of which happen to be local Canadian based brands or our recipes that we actually prepare for our clients.
1. Kale Chips
We’re sure you’ve seen kale chips everywhere, as they have quickly gained popularity. The only downside is that they tend to crumble and break easily. If you are bringing kale chips along for the day, we recommend packing them in a container instead of a bag. Make sure to read the label when you pick up a bag of kale chips to avoid any sweeteners or specific ingredients that you might be sensitive to. Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which we always recommend that you eat because these veggies specifically support the liver and help with detoxification. Many studies have looked into kale (and other cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower) and its link with cancer prevention, due its high content of antioxidants that can help protect cells from stress and damage.
2. Homemade Guacamole and Veggies for Dipping
Although there are so many guacamole recipes out there, we usually end up whipping up the easiest version of this classic dip to save time. Avocadoes help your body properly absorb carotenoids (the orange-yellow pigment found in orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes). Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that help protect your cells from damage, and your body is able to absorb and utilize them better when eaten with some healthy fat. Avocadoes are known for their high content of monounsaturated fat, especially oleic acid, which is linked with supporting heart health and reducing inflammation.
1 large ripe avocado (or 2 smaller ones)
Pinch of sea salt (add to taste)
1 small clove garlic, minced
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
½ of a lime, juiced
2 carrots, chopped in sticks
2 stalks of celery, chopped in sticks
1 cucumber, chopped in sticks
Slice the avocado through the center. Carefully remove the pit.
Scoop out the inside of the inside of the avocado.
Chop the cilantro and mince the garlic.
Mix together the guacamole ingredients and mash together in a bowl.
Serve with chopped veggie sticks.
3. Dates and Nuts (or Nut Butter)
Dates are packed with many minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, and are one of the best energy boosting foods you can eat. They are great as a mid-afternoon pick me up, especially paired with nuts or nut butter to ensure you get some protein and healthy fat as well to keep you energized for longer. Although dates are sweet, studies have found that they do not raise blood sugar levels as quickly as other types of sweets. And, studies have also found that dates have antioxidant properties, so they can actually help keep your cells healthy.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are one of our favourite snacks because they’re a great option if you need something savoury and can’t eat a lot of sweet things. Whether you’re doing a sugar detox, candida cleanse, healing your digestive system, balancing hormones or are going through cancer, it can be challenging to find snacks that are not sweet. It’s always easy to find muffins, cookies, and even granola bars, but they are all sweet. So, we are quite excited about roasted chickpeas! You can now find packaged roasted chickpeas at most grocery stores. Just make sure to read the ingredients and check to see that they are made with real food and don’t contain any artificial flavourings, yeast, or other items that you don’t recognize. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, which helps keep your blood sugar and energy stable throughout the day. And, if you want to make your own roasted chickpeas, here’s one of our recipes:
1 small can of chickpeas
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
If the chickpeas are wet, dry them off as much as possible with a clean dish towel. They will roast better if they have less moisture on them.
Toss the chickpeas together with all of the spices and olive oil, ensuring they are coated well.
Spread the out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp on the outside.
Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.
Store them in a closed paper bag on the counter to keep them crisp.
5. Nud Fud Crackers
We love Nud Fud crackers (not only because we went to nutrition school with Julia, the founder) because they are grain-free, paleo and vegan. They are made with really simple, but nutritionally dense, ingredients. For example, the Goji Chia Banana Crisps are made with banana, sesame seeds, coconut, goji berries and chia seeds. They also make some savory flavours as well, so if you can’t eat banana or sweets, then there are still delicious choices. Sesame seeds provide healthy fat and protein, and are also one of the best sources of calcium that we recommend to our clients. We haven’t found a ton of snacks that contain sesame seeds, so these crackers are a great option, especially if you don’t eat nuts.
For more information you can visit their website: Nud Fud
If you don’t have access to these crackers, look for a similar type of product made by another brand. Look for crackers made from seeds, such as flax seeds and chia seeds, as they are high in fiber and tend to also include other nutritionally dense ingredients.
If you want more homemade snacks, but don’t have the time to cook or just hate cooking, we can help. Our private chefs can prepare customized snacks and meals that are made fresh for you!