• Nichole Dandrea-Russert

15 Good-for-You (and Non-Traditional) Snacks Ideas While in Quarantine

Updated: May 27



Are you finding yourself mindlessly snacking away now that you're home? Many of us have transitioned from a structured day, waking up the same time each morning, getting ready for work, walking the dog, taking the kids to school, and working before home to make dinner. My furloughed friends are talking about how they're sleeping later, eating (and drinking) more and trying to fill up the day with activities for the kids.


The good news? We can create a temporary schedule while we are home to help us and our families stay healthy, both physically and mentally. First things first — create a super simple morning routine that takes less than five minutes a day. This sets the pace for the rest of the day, helping to make better food choices, perceive situations in a positive light and, overall, have a better day with a healthy mindset.


Next, create times for meals and snacks. Schedule a daily healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner with small snacks in between each meal. Of course this could vary person to person. Not everyone needs to follow this plan, so choose a plan that works for you and stick with those times. For example, if you normally skip breakfast while you're intermittent fasting, then stick to that, but make sure you have a plan for the rest of the day. Maybe you eat a meal at noon, snack at 2 pm, dinner at 5 pm and another snack or mini meal at 7:30 pm. Sticking to a regular schedule can help minimize mindless eating throughout the day while keeping you and your family nourished, energized and happy. Combined with a mindful morning routine, your day will be set up for success!


What about snack ideas? Sure, an apple and peanut butter, a bowl of fruit or hummus and vegetables are great snack ideas, but what about something different yet still simple? Below are 15 healthy and non-traditional nutrition-packed snacks that are tasty, fulfilling and nourishing.Choose 2-3 that sound good to you and prepare them ahead of time for a snack that's easy to grab during the day.


For the sweet tooth


1. Cinnamon Carrot Cake Bites

You guys, I'm not even a carrot fan and absolutely love these bites, raw or cooked! What's really awesome is that they only take about 10 minutes to prepare. You have two options here: stick them in the refrigerator for a softer texture with raw ingredients; or, cook them for a crispy outside and cake-like consistency on the inside. Carrots are packed with beta carotene, lutein, and many more phytonutrients that support skin, heart, eye, liver and colon health. These bites are also packed with omega- 3 essential fatty acids from the walnuts and chia seeds, as well as the potent nutrients in cinnamon and nutmeg. Nutmeg is abundant in phytonutrients as well as magnesium, manganese, and copper. Enjoy these as a snack or for breakfast!



2. Oatmeal Almond Butter Balls


These raw, fiber-rich and protein-packed oatmeal almond butter balls are perfect for an on-the-go snack or breakfast. Make them early in the week and keep them in the refrigerator for days you need something already prepared. They’re satisfying and will keep you full for a couple of hours (until you’re ready for your next meal!).


Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp flax meal (or ground flaxseed)

  • 3 Tbsp water, warm

  • 1/4 cup almond butter

  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or mashed banana for oil free

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 cup organic rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)


How to make

  • In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes.

  • In a food processor, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil or banana, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flaxseed mixture and blend until smooth.

  • Add the walnuts and pulse until combined. Add 1/2 the oats (1/2 cup) and coconut and pulse until combined.

  • Scoop into a medium size bowl.

  • Stir in the remaining oats and chocolate chips, if using.

  • Roll the mixture into 12 balls and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to work with, chill it for several minutes before rolling.

  • Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.



3. Homemade Granola

This granola is so simple to make and is perfect for breakfast as a cereal topped with berries, hemp seeds, flax meal or as an afternoon snack by itself or sprinkle on top of plant-based yogurt. If you want less oil, cut the coconut oil in half and add more maple to ensure the granola-like texture. To make it higher in plant-based protein and more diverse in nutrients, add pumpkin seeds, walnuts or almonds.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups oats

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • salt to taste


How to make

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Combine dry ingredients, oats, cinnamon and pecans, in a large bowl.

  • Warm coconut oil, maple and vanilla on the stove top in a small sauce pan. Stir to combine ingredients.

  • Once coconut oil is fully melted, pour into the dry mixture. Stir until all of the oats are coated with the coconut oil and maple syrup mixture.

  • Spread out evenly on the parchment-line baking sheet.

  • Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

  • Bake for 13 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool before placing in a container for use all week!



4. Fluffa-Nutta Banana "Sandwich" (banana, date, nut butter)

This snack barely requires instructions! Make this naturally sweet "sandwich" by slicing a banana in half then slicing longways to make four pieces. Spread peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter of choice) on each side of the banana (4 slices) then layer pitted dates on top of two slices. (If you want to take it a step further, cut the dates into pieces before laying across the banana so you're getting smaller pieces of date with each bite versus an entire date.). Make a sandwich by placing the banana with layered peanut butter on top of the banana, peanut butter and date slices and enjoy when you want something sweet to eat! To make it more nutritious and delicious, sprinkle hemp seeds on top of the nut butter or add a layer of melted dark chocolate (yes, dark chocolate has nutritional value!). You'll need 4-6 dates and about 4 Tbsp peanut butter.



5. Chia Blueberry Oat Crumble

No need for much sweetener here as all-natural blueberries do trick, especially after baking. Mixed with chia and oats, you have yourself a fiber, antioxidant and plant-based protein-charged snack or dessert!



For those who need some crunch


6. Moroccan Baked Chickpeas

Spiced crunchy chickpeas might be one of the best plant-based snacks of all time due to their ability to satisfy your tastebuds and your belly with their high fiber and protein content. Eat them solo or add them to a salad as a legume “crouton.” If you like spice, these are pretty darn delicious with chipotle chili powder or red pepper flakes added in.


Ingredients

  • 15-ounce BPA-free can chickpeas, drained (or 15-ounce can, drained)

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground garlic

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/4 tsp ground smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp salt


How to make

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Drain the chickpeas if using canned (but reserve the brine for use in other recipes!).

  • Mix all of the spice ingredients together in a medium bowl until they are blended.

  • Add the chickpeas to the bowl and toss with the spices until the chickpeas are evenly coated.

  • Spread the chickpeas on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until crispy), stirring halfway through.



7. Maple Bourbon Candied Pecans

These pecans are perfectly sweet, savory, crunchy and satisfying. They're simply delicious and a perfect snack by themselves or topped on a salad, baked mushrooms (this is SO delicious!) or on top of a baked sweet potato. Get the recipe here.



8. Turmeric Cashew Cheese with Sliced Radish, Cucumber and Carrots


If you’ve never made a nut-based cheese at home before, it might feel a bit intimidating. However, it’s very simple once you soak the nuts! The addition of probiotic-rich miso gives it the delicious umami flavor while herbs and spices give it a pop of flavor. Use this cheese as a dip, on top of salads, in a wrap or to make a creamy pasta sauce.



9. Carrot Cabbage Peanut-y Salad

A salad for a snack? Why not? It's a great opportunity to get some plant-based nutrients in a bowl with tons of flavor, texture and deliciousness. Honestly, any veggies go here! Use whatever you have in your refrigerator. I used one cup of julienned carrots and 1 cup of sliced cabbage. Really, it's all about the peanut-y dressing.


Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter

  • 2 Tbsp low sodium Tamari

  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion

  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or 1-2 tsp Sriracha (optional, if you like spice)

  • sesame seeds to garnish


In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds together. Pour over your vegetables. Mix in the cilantro and green onion. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Make this a meal by adding on top of veggie burger sandwiches, mixed with edamame and whole grains or alongside grilled tofu.



10. Plant-Based Poke

This healthy and cruelty-free version of poke (traditionally a raw seafood dish) allows you to use any fresh local farmers market vegetables you can find. Pineapple is the perfect complement to the pickled vegetables, ginger and lime. Enjoy on a sunny spring day topped on some flaxseed crackers, inside lettuce wraps or on top of watermelon radish slices. It also gives you the opportunity to use any remaining pineapple leftover from the mushroom dish! Get the recipe here.




11. Flax Crackers with Arugula, Cashew Cheese and Kimchi

When I have no time or am just "not feeling it" with regard to preparing something, I make this super simple snack. If you make your own homemade crackers than kudos to you! I buy an organic seed cracker at the store to have on hand for moments like this. It takes less than two minutes to spread a little cashew cheese (homemade or any of the yummy cheese spreads from Miyokos, Treeline or Kite Hill) on top of a cracker and top it with an arugula leaf, radish and kimchi. Other suggestions:

  • add herbs like cilantro or dill

  • top it with microgreens

  • sprinkle with hemp or chia seeds


I love these simple but tasty pop-in-your mouth snacks!



Savory sides and apps turned snacks


12. Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts

Stay healthy and fill up with this most delicious side turned snack! Brussel sprouts might be one of my all-time favorite snacks because they are incredibly delicious, nourishing and satisfying. Get the recipe here.



13. Make Your Own Plant-Based Cheese Board

We recently had this at a local Atlanta restaurant and it was so good with the addition of almonds, olives and dijon mustard. Spread the cheese on cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower or radish or opt for traditional carrots, celery and sliced red peppers. See the layout here.



For those who like it creamy


14. Strawberry Smoothie

Berries are starting to come into season, so grab what you can, fresh or frozen, to get your daily dose of vitamin C with this dessert-like smoothie. Two other immune-enhancing ingredients in this smoothie are: cashews, which contain zinc, a mineral that is critical for immunity and can sometimes be a challenge to get on a plant-based diet; and, hemp seeds, which are rich in mental health-supportive omega-3 essential fatty acids. Get the recipe here.



15. Creamy Golden Milk

Get ready to soothe your soul while supporting your immune system with this creamy and earthy golden milk. Sip on the healing milk in the morning as a replacement for coffee or as a calming beverage before bedtime, preparing your body for deep sleep.


Ingredients

  • 8 oz plant-based milk of your choice, unsweetened (I prefer soy milk for its creaminess)

  • 1 tsp tahini*

  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 dash ground black pepper

  • 1 dash ground clove

  • 1 dash ground nutmeg

How to make

  1. Add the plant-based milk, tahini, and vanilla to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high until hot and steaming (don’t let it scorch or boil, though), stirring until the tahini completely dissolves (this shouldn’t take more than a minute).

  2. While the milk is heating, combine the spice ingredients in a small bowl and mix them together until well blended.

  3. Once the milk and tahini mixture is hot, turn off the burner and add the spice mixture to the saucepan with the milk and whisk until all of the spices are dissolved.

  4. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!


Add some sweetness

*The tahini gives this a little natural sweetness. If you’d like a bit more sweetness, add a teaspoon of pure maple syrup.


Substitutions

*Substitute almond butter or another nut or seed butter for the tahini. They’ll make the drink a little creamier and add a bit of natural sweetness without sugar.





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