First of all, I’d like to apologize for being away so long! For the start of the holidays, my son and I dashed off to California to visit some of my family and dear friends. It was a special time and I am grateful for every minute that I spent loving and socializing with some pretty amazing people. Just before leaving to CA, though, I had a teeny-tiny cough that was trying to break through. I made it the entire trip without fully succumbing, but by Christmas Eve, on our flight home, I was breaking out the tissues. Sadly, I have very few memories of Christmas Day. It was spent in a daze of tissues and brain fog. Plus a nap.
Since discovering this Paleo lifestyle, I have rarely been sick, but my California trip was a little less than perfectly Paleo and I’m sure my immune system was busy fighting other intruders. I am finally beginning to resurface from this cold and I’m looking to the start of a new year with a new Paleo challenge. With that in mind, it’s time to start prepping because the potential for success during a Paleo challenge increases exponentially with solid prep and planning.
During my last Whole 30, one of the things I learned about myself is that having some snacks on hand helps me to be successful. I work out at a high intensity on most days and I often have a crazy schedule with long stretches between meals. If I’m hungry, it’s important for me to have something healthy to reach for because it is much easier to stay in control of my choices when I’ve stayed in control of my hunger. I also learned that I have a tendency to grab nuts because they’re quick, easy, and portable. This time around, I’d like to steer clear of nuts as my primary snack and focus more on protein and veggies.
Here are 5 wonderful snacks just right for winter – most without nuts!
Meatballs/Patties – Why make 1 pound of meatballs when you can make 2? Seriously. One of the handiest things to have around is a little stash of meatballs or patties. They can be flavored in so many different ways that they’re bound to satisfy a craving or two, and since they’re a powerful protein snack, they can easily double as post-workout fuel. A couple of these with some veggie sticks and maybe even a little guacamole or sauce on the side makes for a filling, nutrient dense snack. The next time you’re making meatballs for dinner, definitely double the recipe!
Soup – I love a good bowl of soup. I actually like it year round, but there’s something especially comforting about it in the winter. It is an easy way to get in some extra veggies at any time of the day, and when you just need a little something to help you make it to dinner, a cup of soup can fit right in. I have several that I love, but my favorite right now is my Cumin-Scented Zucchini soup. It’s light and simple and it warms you to the core.
Egg Muffins – The protein of champions! Eggs continue to be controversial, but in the Paleo world, eggs are definitely in! I have eggs on most days for breakfast and look to eggs as a snack as well. In case you’re wondering, I have always had good blood work, but when I had it tested after switching to Paleo, it got even better! When I’m looking for a high-protein, portable snack, eggs are awesome. Sauté up any variety of vegetables, add some cooked meat for an extra dose of protein, toss in some herbs and seasonings, pour the whole thing into muffin tins lined with parchment paper cups, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Done. I have a couple different recipes that I’m working on right now – so stay tuned!
Dates & Walnuts – If you followed my last Whole 30, you know that I may have had a moment or two when I overindulged in this particular snack. It happens to be one of my favorite sweet treat combos ever since I was introduced to it many years ago in France. There, in fact, you can get your dates still on the branch, fresh and sticky sweet. Nature’s candy. So grab a date (fruit, not human), slice or tear it open lengthwise, pop in a walnut half, and munch away. I actually tear them completely in half because I like to increase the walnut to date ratio so they’re a little less sweet. When we have company and they’re having a dessert that doesn’t work for me, I have a couple of these and feel completely satisfied and even a little bit spoiled.
PaleOMG’s Pumpkin Microcake – If you’ve been enjoying some holiday candy or other treats, then this will not taste sweet. However, if you have been doing a Whole 30 or sugar detox, then this can feel like a treat, without actually being sweet. It’s reminiscent of the holidays with the pumpkin and spices and sometimes that’s exactly what you need next to a cup of hot tea. If you’re feeling like a touch of indulgence without the regret, try this. I’ve never actually used the chocolate on top. I generally opt for a simple dollop of coconut butter.