What comes to mind when I say: healthy snacks that make you happy? Hopefully not a Happy Menu, cheesecake or Ben & Jerry’s… Okay, let’s stop there before I run to the freezer. You know that if I party with B&J every day, it won’t make me happy in the long run. And it certainly won’t improve my health.
Actually, scientists have found a strong correlation between unhealthy eating and depression. Some scientists say that depression starts in the gut, our ‘second brain’. According to them, you can relieve symptoms of depression simply by changing your diet.
Food, physical health, and emotions are interrelated – that’s nothing new. But it is quite remarkable that you can tackle mental illnesses with your diet. Still, it makes sense; after all, you are what you eat.
Are you not your happiest self? Or are you in need of some healthy snacks to compensate for Christmas?
Then check out these 9 delicious snacks that will give your body and mind a healthy, positive boost.
Healthy Snacks #1: It’s okay to go bananas
Bananas are super(foods). They instantly satisfy, they’re sweet, they contain potassium, magnesium (good for your brain and bones) and vitamin B6. Bananas are easy to take with you, they’re dirt cheap and you can eat them every day.
My favorite healthy snack with banana: Banana & yogurt
Mix everything in a bowl and enjoy!
- 1 x sliced banana
- Small bowl of (vegetable) yogurt
- Handful of blueberries
- 1 spoon of raw honey
Extra health kick with spirulina
Want a stronger health boost? Throw in a tablespoon of dried spirulina powder! Spirulina might be the most nutritious food known to mankind. One single tablespoon of spirulina powder contains 4 gram of protein, 11% of the RDA of vitamin B1, 15% of the RDA of vitamin B2, 4$ of the RDA of vitamin B3, 21% of the RDA of copper, and 11% of the RDA of iron. And it also contains magnesium, manganese, potassium and a bunch of other vital nutrients.
Get your organic spirulina powder on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #2: Hip with avocado
I think avocado is the most hyped food of the last two years. There’s even a restaurant in Amsterdam called The Avocado Show, that only serves dishes with avocado. Wanna be hip? Put an avocado on your head. Anyway, they have a point because avocado is an amazing fruit. Yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable.
Avocado stimulates the production of serotonin, which is often found to be too low in people with depression. Avocados also keep your blood pressure healthy and contain a lot of fiber and vitamins.
Be careful though, because an avocado also contains quite a lot of (healthy) fats and calories, so don’t start wolfing down five a day. One avocado contains 250 calories and 23 grams of fat. But even with half an avocado a day you will already benefit from all its nutritional value!
My favorite healthy snack with avocado: Avocado with lemon & mango
Cut an avocado in half and take out the stone. Cut the mango into small pieces and put them in the avocado. Sprinkle some lemon over it and attaaaack!
- 1 Avocado
- 1 Mango
- 1 Lemon
Healthy Snacks #3: Embrace your wild child with raw cocoa
Chocolate is not the best snack if you want to lose weight but you need to reward yourself every now and then for your hard work, right? Fortunately, you can turn your chocolate bar into a truly healthy snack by choosing raw chocolate.
Unlike normal chocolate (also 72% and higher), raw chocolate is not heated during processing. This keeps all good nutrients intact. Moreover, raw chocolate bars contain healthier added ingredients than normal chocolate bars.
If you want to go a little bit healthier, go for raw cocoa. Think of cocoa nibs, beans or powder. Raw cocoa is packed with magnesium and flavonoids that act as natural antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body against aging and disease.
My favorite healthy snack with raw cocoa: Raw Chocolate Chunks
Melt the coconut butter in a pan. When the butter has melted, add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a baking tin and put it in the freezer for at least half an hour. You can find a detailed recipe for my raw chocolate chunks here.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil/butter
- 1/4 cup of raw cocoa
- 2 tsp honey (or agave syrup)
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Optional: 1 vanilla bean
Get your organic raw cacao powder on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #4: Feel like a princess with pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the few foods that contain so many different minerals. They are full of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, calcium, fibers and proteins. They also contain tryptophan, a substance that produces serotonin and boosts your mood.
My favorite healthy snack with pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin salad
Actually, I often eat pumpkin seeds directly from the bag. But if you fancy a bit of time in the kitchen, you can whip up this pumpkin salad. Cut up the pumpkin into wedges and cook them in a pan with some red onion. Put everything in a large salad bowl and add the pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
- 1 pumpkin
- Half a bowl of cherry tomatoes or some dried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 75 gr rocket
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Order your organic pumpkin seeds on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #5: Find your Hulk with a green smoothie
First things first: a smoothie is meant to be eaten. If you gulp a smoothie down, or worse use a straw, you skip an important step of your digestive system. By chewing, you create saliva (enzymes) that helps to digest your food. If you don’t do that, your small intestine needs to process everything and that often doesn’t work. The result is a bloated belly.
One of the best green smoothies is a spinach smoothie. Spinach is full of iron and folic acid, or vitamin B11. Folic acid is important in the production of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline (those are our happy hormones, yay!).
My favorite green smoothie: Fresh spinach smoothie
- Cut the apple and cucumber into small pieces. Put everything in the blender and blend away.
- Two hands of spinach
- 1/2 apple
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 apple
Extra health kick with super greens powder
Add some of this hulky powder to increase your veggie intake. This is a blend of different organic greens (spinach, broccoli, alfalfa, wheat grass, spirulina, and kale) but also contains different probiotics and antioxidants. One scoop contains 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber and 100% of the RDA of vitamin C and a bunch of other essential vitamins and minerals.
Order your organic super greens powder on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #6: Blueberry fields forever
After bananas, blueberries are my favorite fruit. Blueberries are mega healthy, they are low in calories but contain an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals. One cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber (we need 30-40 grams per day), 24% of the RDA of vitamin C, 36% of the RDA of vitamin K and 25% of the RDA of manganese.
Moreover, there are few foods that contain as many antioxidants as blueberries.
My favorite healthy snack with blueberries: Buckwheat pancake with blueberries
Mix the buckwheat flour with the baking powder. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Bake the pancakes and cover them with yogurt and blueberries.
- 200 gr buckwheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 500 ml (vegan) milk
- 100 gr yogurt
- A handful of blueberries
Order your organic buckwheat flour on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #7: Go nuts with walnuts
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, proteins, potassium, vitamin B6, melatonin, copper, zinc magnesium and antioxidants. A real super nut!
My favorite healthy snack with walnuts: Oatmeal with walnuts
Walnuts are great to eat right out of the bag but they are also delicious in oatmeal, salads or smoothie bowls. Cook the oatmeal with the (vegan) milk, then add the apple, cinnamon, and honey. Add some walnuts to your oatmeal. Yummm!
- 6 tbsp oatmeal
- 200 ml (vegan) milk
- 1 apple in pieces
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 hand of walnuts
- 1 tsp honey
Order your walnuts on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #8: Let your mermaid out and dive into the sea(weed)
Seaweed is the vegetable of the future. And of the present. Seaweed is one of the most nutritious and sustainable products ever. It’s packed with fiber, omega-3, iron, and iodine. So you have to be careful not to get too much salt in your diet. Nori would be better because it has less iodine.
My favorite healthy snack with seaweed: Nori Bowl
Do you like sushi? But you don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen? Just throw everything in one bowl for a mega hip sushi bowl. Replace the white sushi rice with brown rice, et voila: you’ve got yourself a delicious, healthy snack.
- Nori seaweed sheets
- 1 carrot
- 150 gr edamame beans
- 1/4 cucumber
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 radishes
- 3 tsp rice vinegar
- 2,5 cm ginger
Order your Nori seaweed sheets on Amazon
Healthy Snacks #9: Oi, oi, oysters
Let’s stay in the seafood category: oysters are an important source of omega-3. The alpha-linolenic acid from the omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by our own bodies. That is why we must get them through our food. It helps to build up our cell walls and brains. A shortage of this can lead to a low level of serotonin, which is related to depression.
My favorite healthy snack with oysters: Fresh oysters & lemon
You can eat oysters in different ways, but my favorite way is with lemon.
Make sure you are eating a balanced and varied diet. Your body needs all kinds of minerals and vitamins from different foods to process and absorb everything properly. This also applies to (saturated) fats, carbohydrates, and salt!
I hope these healthy snacks will leave you feeling fit and happy! Do you have any other ideas for recipes or happy foods? Let me know in the comments below!