Disclaimer: this post isn’t about the healthiest of foods, like carrot sticks and kale chips. It is about compromise, and finding healthier alternatives to fried fatty foods that our hunger pangs seem to magnetically pull us towards
Haven’t we all heard this very sound bit of advice? Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. And aren’t we all guilty of completely ignoring that advice, only to realize that the healthy, veggie filled grocery list we had so ambitiously crafted had somehow turned into bags full of empty calories and junk. Not to mention the snacks you end up buying just to get you through the grocery trip.
Having fallen victim to this situation one too many times, we decided not to fight the inevitable, but to embrace it. Embrace the hunger and look for healthier snacking alternatives. And having been through a lot of them (side effects of hanging out for abnormally large amounts of time at the supermarket), we have separated the bland from the tasty. Here are some of our tips to survive the hunger pangs.
Look for baked versions of chips and snacks. A lot of brands now offer varieties of baked chips and snacks. Yes, they aren’t as healthy as say, cucumber sticks. But it isn’t easy to convince yourself to be that wholesome in moments of extreme hunger. If you are GOING to reach out for a bag of chips, you can at least make sure they are baked. One of our favorites is the baked range of Lays Forno, which has recently added a nice new regional Labneh & Mint flavor to their existing line.
Flavored nuts and popcorn to satisfy that snack craving. Bags of chips are usually tempting because of the flavor variations, but as of late, other healthier snacks have also upped their game. Nuts now come in several flavors (and can be tasted before buying), and we are absolutely in love with the new Sea Salt n’ Pepper flavored popcorn from American Garden.
Replace ingredients like nachos and croutons with baked alternatives. One of our absolute favorite nacho replacements are baked Fiesta chips, a potato-corn hybrid with tons of flavor. You wouldn’t even want to go back to plain ol’ nachos.
But if you do, try out the baked version of Tostitos. Not only do they have baked tortilla chips (regular AND purple (?!)), they even have adorable little baked tortilla cups, which really leaves us with no excuse to be using fried nacho chips. The baked bread bites from Sunbites (part of Walkers) also make perfect salad croutons. They have enough flavors to complement most types of salads. Our favorite is Olive & Oregano.
Buy flavored water instead of sugar and calorie laden drinks. It is infinitely more refreshing, will quench your thirst and will save you hundreds of calories. Our favorite is the range from Masafi. Aslo, do not be deceived by juices that claim to be 100% natural, sugar IS natural. Read the labels. The two big brands which actually have pure fruit juices are Del Monte and Barakat (we prefer the latter). Or buy some fresh coconut water. Most supermarkets will cut one open for you right there. Or you can bring some home and have it chilled (and scrape off some fresh coconut flesh to add flavor to your dishes).
Of course, if you do have miraculous amounts of self-control, here are some interesting options to make carrot sticks and fruit bites more exciting.
How do you beat the hunger pangs when grocery shopping? What are your favorite healthy snacks to get you through the ordeal?