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Two women eating fruit and Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs at a poolside table.
June 13, 2023

5 Flavorful Snacks Loaded with Nutritional Benefits

The next time hunger strikes, reach for any of these better-for-you snacking options.

By: Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Undeniably, snacking has become a pastime in America. So much so that up to 50 percent of our daily calories are sourced from between-meal nibbles. And with the summer vacation season now upon us, it’s likely more of us will require snacks to keep energy levels from flagging. So it goes without saying that regularly making poor snacking choices can quickly spiral into poor health.

With that said, smart snack choices can curb cravings and provide vital nutrients, at once. Yes, it’s not all nutritional doom and gloom when it comes to snacks.

When you’re feeling peckish, whether behind the wheel, lounging beside the pool, or deep in the woods, these snacks offer a one-two punch of great taste and nutritional benefits.

1. Superfood PB&J Power Snacks 

For some snacking nostalgia, these delicious bites of big nutrition taste like everyone’s favorite schoolyard sandwich. While most packaged snacks contain a slew of questionable ingredients, each of these one-bite PB&J Power Snacks are made with a collection of ingredients that house troves of nutrients to keep your health in tip-top shape. Peanuts deliver heart-healthy unsaturated fat and plant-based protein, chia gives you beneficial omega-3 fat, and strawberries and acerola berry offer up vitamin C and other health-hiking antioxidants. Bonus points: they're dairy and gluten-free, too. And with two pieces containing a mere 70 calories, it’s a snack option that won’t send you into calorie overload. A perfect snack choice for all generations of a household.

2. Cacao Sweet Nibs

Imbued with just the right amount of sweetness from organic cane sugar, a handful of these crunchy Cacao Sweet Nibs are pure snacking satisfaction. For the unaware, cacao nibs are little more than whole cacao beans that are broken down into small pieces—chocolate that is a lot closer to its more nutritious natural form than most heavily processed chocolate snack products on the market. Eating cacao nibs, along with other cacao-rich treats like our brownie snack, will help you go the distance on dietary fiber. An important perk considering that research has demonstrated that as fiber intake goes up, the chances of suffering from various chronic diseases goes down. Cacao nibs are also a source of potent antioxidants and several essential minerals including iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. Talk about a nutritional overachiever.

3. Dried Superfood Berries

These are more proof that fruits can be the cornerstone of a healthy eating pattern. Goji berries, mulberries and goldenberries are the perfect snacking option when you're craving something a little sweet but still want to keep up your nutrition. They give you a surge of lasting energy without the subsequent crash. Containing significant levels of antioxidants, these superfood berries are weapons against cell-damaging free radicals in the body to help combat various disease states and tamp down inflammation. Far from one-hit wonders, goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene to help improve cholesterol numbers, mulberries deliver a surprising shot of bone-benefiting calcium and goldenberries supply good amounts of fiber to help manage blood sugar levels. In other words, these are the ideal antidote to the nutritional landmines that most Americans of all ages are snacking on.

4. Banana Bread Bars

These tender squares raise the bar on on-the-go fuel. A snack that feels a lot more like dessert than a healthy between-meal nibble.

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup Navitas Organics Cacao Sweet Nibs
Flaky salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
  3. Mix in the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Fold in the oats, pecans and cacao nibs.
  4. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so there is about 1-inch overhang. Transfer the batter to the pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle on flaky salt if desired.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top and set in the center. Let cool for several minutes before slicing into desired sized squares.

5. Curry Roasted Chickpea Snack Mix

You don’t need to be lost in the woods to benefit from this delicious and nutritious riff on ye-old trail mix. Each handful delivers a winning combo of protein, healthy fats and carbs to take a sledgehammer to hunger.

INGREDIENTS
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. oil
½ tsp. salt, divided
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw cashews
⅓ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. cayenne
Zest of 1 lime
⅓ cup Navitas Organics Mulberries
⅓ cup coconut chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Drain can of chickpeas and rinse well. Dry chickpeas thoroughly with paper towel or a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Place chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat.
  4. Roast chickpeas for 25 minutes, stirring once at the 15 minute mark.
  5. Place nuts and seeds on baking sheet, drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. oil and sprinkle on curry powder, cayenne, garlic powder, ¼ tsp. salt and lime zest. Use a spatula to toss everything together.
  6. Roast for another 10 minutes, stirring once, or until nuts are lightly toasted. Stir in mulberries, and coconut chips if using.
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