Nutritious Yet Delicious Snack Alternatives

Looking for a head start in adapting a healthy lifestyle? Start with your snack choices! I collaborated with food expert Angelica Arias (aka @thepeacheepear) to bring you ten healthy alternatives for your midday snack that are surprisingly just as delish as your typical bag o’ chips.


  1. Cauliflower Cheesy Breadsticks

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower head

  • 1 egg

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp dried thyme

  • ½ tsp dried basil

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley (plus more for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Remove cauliflower florets from stem and pulse in a food processor or chop into very small pieces.

  2. Put cauliflower in a bowl and cover with a towel or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes to soften.

  3. Using a cheesecloth or paper towels, squeeze cauliflower as much as possible to drain all water out until cauliflower is dried.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  5. Place drained cauliflower back in the bowl. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well together.

  6. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.

  7. Spread cauliflower mixture over parchment paper and create a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Make sure it’s evenly spread and not too thin.

  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until crust is golden.

  9. Slice crust into breadsticks as wide as you wish.

  10. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with your favorite marinara sauce (you can buy a healthy jar of it here).

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Cauliflower contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against cancerous cells inside the body. It also is full of fiber, which promotes weight loss and digestion, and choline that enhances memory. The mozzarella cheese in the breadsticks is a healthier, low-fat option when compared to other cheeses such as American and Goat. Seasoning the snack with oregano has surprising health benefits as well, including prevention of urinary tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and menstrual cramps.

2. Loaded Apple Nachos

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

  • 1 tbsp semi-sweet mini dark-chocolate chips

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • A drizzle of maple syrup

  • A handful of chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Slice apples and place on a large dish.

  2. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

  3. Spread peanut butter over apples.

  4. Sprinkle cinnamon, chocolate chips, and walnuts over the apples.

  5. Drizzle maple syrup over everything.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Granny Smith Apples are linked to helping manage your cholesterol levels and protecting your cells from genetic mutations. They are high in non-digestible dietary fiber, are low in carbs, and contain phytonutrients to promote healthy functions inside your body. The serving of peanut butter you are topping your apples with is also nutritious. It has roughly 3 mg of vitamin E to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, 49 mg of magnesium to help strengthen your bones, and 208 mg of potassium to balance your nerves and muscles. Instead of topping the snack with milk chocolate, opt for dark chocolate, since it can lower your risk of being diagnosed with a heart disease.

3. Vegan Jalapeño Nacho Cheese

Yields 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 roasted jalapeños

  • 3 carrots

  • 2 russet potatoes

  • ½ cup cauliflower

  • ½ cup cashews (soaked overnight)

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • ½ cup nutritional yeast

Instructions:

  1. Peel and roughly chop carrots and potatoes.

  2. Steam or boil carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower until softened.

  3. Add veggies and all other ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender.

  4. Blend together until smooth and a soft texture is reached.

  5. Serve immediately.


*Note:
The dip goes well with the nacho fries in the recipe below.

Why It’s Considered Healthy:

Jalapeños are low in calories and full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain a significant amount of vitamin C and B6 that help fight free radical damage, keep your skin looking firm, and contribute to multiple bodily reactions. It has even been proven that capsaicin--a compound found in jalapeños--is capable of killing over 40 types of cancerous cells. Additionally, the russet potatoes in this recipe are a great source of minerals, providing an abundance of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium. Two medium russet potatoes also contain approximately 2.8 mg of iron, which is crucial in the process of forming red blood cells and helping oxygen move throughout your body. The carrots and cauliflower are very nutritious as well since they contain a variety of essential nutrients and complex carbohydrates.

4. Nacho Fries

Yields 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large russet potatoes

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp onion powder

  • ¼ tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • 1 ½ tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Peel and cut potatoes lengthwise into fries.

  2. Place the fries in a bowl and soak in cold water for at least 20 minutes--the longer the better. (See note below).

  3. Drain and rinse the fries. Gently dab with a paper towel to dry them.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  5. Place fries on a baking sheet pan and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

  6. In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix them together.

  7. Drizzle avocado or coconut oil over the fries and coat.

  8. Pour mixed spices over the potatoes and evenly coat them, making sure all fries are well seasoned.

  9. Bake for 25 minutes.

  10. When they are done baking, change the oven to broil method on the highest setting.

  11. Broil the fries for 2 minutes.

  12. Remove from oven and serve immediately with nacho cheese dip (the previous recipe works perfectly).

*Note: This process removes some of the starch from the potatoes, which helps them get crunchier when baking.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Russet potatoes specifically contain many B vitamins including vitamin B6, niacin, folate, thiamine, and riboflavin. Each of these compounds helps turn the food you eat into energy, contribute to a normally-functioning nervous system, and keep your hair, skin, eyes, and liver strong and healthy. Two medium russet potatoes also have roughly 28.8 mg of vitamin C, which promotes the growth of new tissues and the repairing of wounds. Drizzling the fries with avocado oil adds an extra boost of heart-healthy oleic acid to the recipe. Compared to olive and corn oil, it positively affects blood cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol (aka “good” cholesterol).

5. Frozen Yogurt-Berry Cups

Yields 12 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • ½ cup blueberries

  • ⅓ cup raspberries

  • ¼ cup crushed almonds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt and maple syrup and stir well.

  2. Mix in almonds and make sure they’re well-blended.

  3. Fold in blueberries and raspberries.

  4. Add the mixture into a silicone muffin pan, scooping two tablespoons at a time.

  5. When all muffins are filled, evenly spread the rest of the mixture throughout the pan.

  6. Freeze for at least two hours until the cups are hardened.

*Note: If you’re using a tin muffin pan, use muffin liners.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt--made by straining out excess whey--has less sugar and more protein. Due to its high amount of protein, Greek yogurt will ultimately give you more energy, help transfer oxygen across your cell membranes, and strengthen your immune system. Adding berries to these yogurt cups also contributes to an improvement in your memory and lowers your risk of having a heart attack. Topping it off with fiber-filled almonds ensures you will have the ultimate well-balanced snack.

6. Garlic-Parmesan Zucchini Chips

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini

  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

  • ½ cup Panko breading

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 eggs, beaten

Instructions:

  1. Slice the zucchini into thin rounds.

  2. Take out a baking sheet pan and sprinkle a bit of salt over it. Cover with a paper towel for as long as possible, preferably at least an hour. (See note below).

  3. Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

  4. Remove paper towels and dab all zucchini slices, making sure they’re completely dry.

  5. Mix Panko breading with garlic powder, paprika, and salt.

  6. Put the beaten eggs inside a bowl, the parmesan cheese on a plate, and the seasoned panko breading on another plate.

  7. Start by dipping one slice of zucchini into the egg, then the cheese, then the egg again, and then the panko breading.

  8. Repeat with every slice until all slices are coated.

  9. Spread all coated zucchini on a baking sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes.

  10. Allow the chips to cool off for a bit before serving.

*Note: Sprinkling zucchini slices with salt and covering them with paper towels reduces the moisture to allow them to get crispy when baking.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Zucchini not only contains high levels of essential nutrients manganese and vitamin C, but it is a great source of dietary fiber that helps keep your body in top shape. The superfood has also been proven to help prevent cancer and protect against infections. The addition of Parmesan cheese provides a significant amount of calcium, which helps strengthen your bones and muscles. Even the garlic in this snack has its benefits: filled with selenium and other antioxidants, research has suggested in the past that the herb can aid in fixing high blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

7. No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

Yields 12 balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

  • ⅓ cup crushed walnuts

  • ½ cup dried cranberries

  • ½ cup chocolate chips

  • ⅓ cup dates

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cup peanut butter (creamy no-salt PB is a great option)

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together walnuts and pitted dates.

  2. Add that mixture to a large bowl and add in oats, cranberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

  3. Fold in peanut butter in parts, making sure that every part of the mixture is covered with it.

  4. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to allow it to chill.

  5. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.

  6. Remove mixture from fridge and roll into 1-2 inch balls until all is gone.

  7. Freeze for at least two hours until balls have hardened.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Oats are considered one of the natural superfoods on earth. The fact that they are a gluten-free whole grain means that they provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Studies have also proven that oats can lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and aid in digestion. But the oats are not the only ingredient with a high nutritional value in this recipe: dried cranberries have multiple benefits as well. They are low in calories and packed with vitamins C, A, and K. They have even been linked to lowering the risk of urinary tract infections and can prevent cancerous cells from developing. The peanut butter in this recipe--filled with protein, fiber, potassium, and healthy fats--seals the deal.

8. Banana-Chia Pudding

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp maple syrup

  • More banana and crushed walnuts for the topping

Instructions:

  1. Mash the ripe banana.

  2. Mix with Greek yogurt and maple syrup.

  3. Add in chia seeds and make sure it’s well-blended with the yogurt.

  4. Place in a mason jar or airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

  5. Top with more banana and walnuts.

Why It’s Considered Healthy:

While the Greek yogurt in this pudding is rich in protein, the addition of a banana provides approximately 422 mg of potassium, an essential mineral that helps your body normally function. Potassium aids in muscle contraction, ensures that your heart beats regularly, and lowers the effect of sodium on blood pressure. This chia seeds also up the health-factor by providing a supply of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. Not to mention, the seeds have beneficial effects on your skin, making sure that it’s firm and maintains its radiance.

9. Low-Carb Pizza Bites

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 portobello mushrooms

  • ½ cup pizza or pasta sauce (preferably homemade. You can find a great recipe here.)

  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (plus more to garnish)

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil


Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Coat mushrooms with avocado oil.

  3. Spread sauce on the bottom side of each mushroom.

  4. Sprinkle cheese throughout all mushrooms.

  5. Top with tomatoes and basil.

  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

  7. Garnish with more basil.

Why They’re Considered Healthy:

Portobello mushrooms are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. They are also a great source of copper, an essential nutrient that enables the body to form red blood cells and helps you maintain strong, healthy bones. The mozzarella cheese helps strengthen another part of the body: nails. Due to mozzarella’s high vitamin B7 content, nails are prevented from turning brittle. Additionally, mozzarella is rich in vitamin B2, positively contributing to the body’s battle against conditions such as migraine attacks. The cherry tomatoes are a great source of another important vitamin: vitamin C, which can improve immunity and reduce fatigue.

10. Hazelnut Butter-Strawberry Bark

Yields 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hazelnut butter

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • ⅓ cup macadamia nuts

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2-3 sliced strawberries

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring hazelnut, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to a simmer until all ingredients are dissolved.

  2. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.

  3. Spread hazelnut over the lined baking sheet.

  4. Spread macadamia nuts and strawberries over the hazelnut butter.

  5. Freeze for at least two hours.

  6. Remove the bark from the freezer and break it apart.

  7. Store in an airtight container and keep frozen.

Why It’s Considered Healthy:

Like the majority of nut butters, hazelnut butter is full of health benefits. It’s packed with unsaturated fats and protein, which ultimately help lower levels of LDL cholesterol (aka “bad” cholesterol) and improve breast health. The coconut oil in this recipe is working on the opposite end of the spectrum by increasing HDL cholesterol (aka “good” cholesterol) inside your body. The strawberries also have a high nutritional value, stemming from their antioxidant properties and abundance of vitamin C. Both help aid in prevention of cataracts and protect against harsh UV rays when you are exposed to sunshine.


If you try out any of the recipes, make sure to post a picture on social media and tag @carrieberkk @thepeacheepear #carrieschronicles for a chance to have your photo featured on our social media!