Springtime’s always been welcomed for its bounty of produce, busy farmer’s markets and a backyard garden. More recently, it seems more people have been adopting plant-forward diets and trying out new plant-based eating options. From the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans to nearly every food trend report published this year, plants are taking center stage and such diets are becoming mainstream.
While it is being called a trend, picking plants may be here to stay. And that’s a good thing–for people and the planet. Although there is no hard and fast definition of plant-based eating, it basically means that the majority of the foods on the plate are made from plants. Foods derived from animals are taking on more of a side dish role, if appearing on the menu at all.
While plant-based diets can be similar to vegan and vegetariandiets–free of meat, poultry, fish and sometimes dairy–-consumers don’t have to swear off burgers or ditch all animal products entirely to reap the benefits of the plant kingdom. No matter what diet someone follows, picking plants has its advantages.
Like every other good intention, it is convenience and accessibility that makes a new behavior stick. Stores that keep portable plant-based foods front and center will help support consumers making healthy choices. Since many consumers eat at least some of their meals on the go, they’re increasingly seeking portable plant-based options that taste great and leave them feeling comfortable about the choices they make on an everyday basis. For those consumers looking for healthy, plant-based snacks to power them through the day, some favorite options include:
1. Single-serve almond pouches
Almonds contain a wealth of nutrients including calcium, vitamins E and B-6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and folate. These fiber-rich nuts are thought to improve gut health by impacting the microbiome and bacteria in the colon. Almonds are also a source of protein and heart-healthy fats, which we know may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.
2. Hummus Snackers
Chickpeas are pretty magical. Also called garbanzo beans, they get a lot of love from those of us in the nutrition community (and they rank high on the “healthy foods” list.) Chickpeas contain key nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, folic acid, iron and magnesium, and they are loaded with fiber. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, people who consume chickpeas or hummus had better health markers. They are significantly less likely to be overweight or obese, and half as likely to have elevated blood glucose levels than those who don’t eat chickpeas. Hummus and chickpea eaters also had smaller waists and lower BMIs.
Sabra Snackers Classic Hummus with Pretzels offers a flavorful, portable and satisfying snack with 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber making it a perfect grab-and-go option for adults and kids alike. The pretzels add the perfect crunch to the creamy hummus and if someone is looking for a bit more sustenance, bringing along a bag of carrots, sugar snap peas and jicama sticks for some refreshing veggie-dunking is perfect.
3. Crunchy nut butter
Before a flight, an easy snack or meal to pack is crunchy nut butter on whole grain bread. This combo of protein, carbs and healthy fats doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and is quick to make, too. Many brands now make portable, single-serving squeezable packs of nut butter, too, which makes it really convenient to carry on-the-go.
It’s easy to find fruit in supermarkets, on produce stands on some city corners and in airports, or just grab a crisp apple from home. Pair it with a packet of nut butter (individual one-ounce packets are easy to find in most supermarkets or online) and you have the natural sweetness of fruit combined with protein (similar to that in a slice of cheese) along with healthy fat to keep you feeling fuller longer. Or perhaps grab a banana for a fruit that doesn’t need washing and provides plenty of potassium, a nutrient most of us don’t get enough of.
5. Almond milk and cereal
One of the easiest snacks that always brings back memories of childhood is cereal and milk. This makes an easy on-the-go pick-me-up when you carry an individual serving of almond milk and a zippered bag filled with cold cereal. Choose a cereal that’s high in fiber and low in sugar for a satiating snack that’ll really move you!
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table. You’ll find Bonnie on Instagram @bonnietaubdix.
Link to Bonnie’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Read-Before-You-Eat-Taking/dp/1979739722/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513656967&sr=1-1&keywords=read+it+before+you+eat+it
This post is sponsored by Sabra Hummus