When it comes to snacks, I’ve noticed a tendency to play it safe: granola bars, yogurt, a piece of fruit, maybe a dip here or there…end of repertoire. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with these snacks, but when you snack 2-3 times per day, this list can get old…fast. This is problematic because anyone suffering from snack boredom risks reverting to other, less healthful “snack foods”.
Here’s a thought: who’s to say we need to stick to these traditional snacks? Why can’t we step our of the snack box and get a little creative? This came to me after a trip to one of my favourite tapas joints here in Montreal and thinking to myself: “Man, I would eat this every day.”
Well…who’s stopping me? Bring on the tapas.
Tapas are small, savoury Spanish dishes made with simple, high quality, healthful ingredients that really deliver on flavour. Which, when you think about it, is the perfect formula for a satisfying snack: portion-controlled, quality ingredients that are good to the tastebuds.
Today, I’m sharing six tapas-inspired snacks I’m crushing on. These are foods I’ll often enjoy as snacks, but until recently, it never occurred to me to recommend them that way! So here we go.
Six healthy tapas-inspired snacks
Some might argue that foods like olives, almonds and dates are richer and higher in calories than say, the leading skinny cereal bar. But snacking on refined carbohydrates will only leave you craving more empty calories down the road. Pin a high-fat/high fibre snack against a high-sugar/low-cal snack and my bets will always be on team HF to keep you feeling fuller, longer. So while calories do count, food quality and balance should always be the priority.
1. Olives + oranges
I am absolutely crushing on this one. For all you sweet & salty lovers, I promise this combo will make you look forward to snack time.
Yes, olives are high in fat. But remember that fat is satiating, which is warranted for a satisfying snack. Besides, olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) and are also rich in polyphenols, plant compounds, such as hydroxytyrosol which is known for its strong anti-inflammatory activity. In brief, olives make great snackers, just keep portion-size in check: 12 small or 6 large olives. Pair with an orange and enjoy.
2. Hard boiled egg + Roasted Peppers
It’s as simple as it sounds: pair a protein-packed hard boiled egg with roasted peppers, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy.
Dates + parmesan
For this high-energy snack, a little goes a long way: pack 1 or 2 of these bundles and get your sweet and salty fix for the day.
Celeri + Anchovies
That’s right. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! This is a savoury snack you can make in seconds with nutritional merit to boot. Celery may be underrated, but this humble vegetable is rich in anti-inflammatory phenolic acids and is water-packed to fill you up. Plus, celery’s neutral flavour makes it a perfect canvas for just about anything or in this case, anchovies. Anchovies provide essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and protein, making this combo highly nutritious and balanced, which will hold you over between meals.
A handful of almonds can do wonders to quiet a hunger pang. With protein, healthy fats and fiber all-in-one, I never leave the house without them. For a delicious switch-up, try adding a little spice.
recipe adapted from One perfect bite
- 2 cups almonds, blanched and peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked spicy paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon koser salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- In a small pan, heat the olive oil, garlic clove, spices until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the garlic clove, add the almonds to the pan and toss to coat.
- Lay the almonds on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 20-22 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the pantry.
Herbed goat cheese + Tomato bundles
One of my favourite tapas is a simple dish of slow-roasted grape tomatoes, herbs and goat cheese (and olive oil, lots of olive oil). To speed things up (and lighten), this snack involves no roasting and the herbed goat cheese can be made ahead and kept for 1 week in the refrigerator. Add 1-2 teaspoons of goat cheese onto the lettuce leaf of your choice, top with cherry tomatoes, bundle-up and enjoy.
For the herbed goat cheese
- 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, thyme)
Stir to combine.
So there you have it, six tapas-inspired snacks to switch-up your routine. Tell me:
what snacks are you crushing on lately? How do you overcome snack boredom?
Happy cooking and healthy eating!
Psst! Interested in cooking healthfully but don’t know where to start?! Take a peek at my upcoming online course, The Healthful Home Cook. I’ve got you covered with all the basics!