We love our time together with family and friends during the holidays. However, we tend to eat unhealthy with all the sweets, savory family recipes passed down from generations past, and sugary processed junk food at gas stations when traveling. Instead, we need to focus on healthy foods that are also tasty. They should include antioxidants, vitamin D, and fatty acids. Remember to look for organic and non-GMO labels to ensure there are no toxic pesticides. Avoid processed foods, acidic foods, foods with artificial sweeteners and coloring, canola oil, table salt, and high fructose corn syrup. These types of food and drink include processed lunch meats, instant noodles, chips, salty snacks, breakfast cereals, greasy fast food, French fries, pizza, energy and sports drinks, and sodas.
Antioxidants are great over the holidays because they reduce stress and benefit the mental health that people lack from travel and unregular sleep schedules. They fight free radicals found in sugary and processed foods that can damage your cells and DNA, leading to cancer and other poor health conditions.
Vitamin D is important to have because of less sunlight during the fall and winter. It helps support your immune system and prevents obesity and depression.
Fatty acids reduce heart disease, protect your brain from disease and depression, and treat inflammation and inflammatory diseases.
Here are 10 alternative snacks that can be quick, healthy, and easy to travel with.
1. Fruit Yogurt
This snack doesn’t require much effort. You can buy yogurt made with fruit or you can add your own. Greek yogurt is a great starting point. Probiotics in yogurt will help defend you from cold-weather germs. Add blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries to provide an excellent source of antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin D. Honey is a great way to amplify the sweetness. For a crunch, add chia and nuts. If you are in a rush, try a yogurt drink or shake for the car ride.
2. Veggie and Fruit Pouches
The colorful smiling fruit and veggies on the packaging can be misleading. These are not just for babies and children. The ingredients are puree fruit and veggies, with no added sugars or other ingredients. They taste great because the fruit combinations overpower the less sweet taste of the veggies. They are available in bulk and include a variety of healthy superfoods such as spinach, broccoli, kale, peas, carrots, and green beans. Look for pouches with extras like chia and millet.
3. Manuka Honey
Boost your energy and your immune system with this special honey harvested from New Zealand. Manuka honey is rich in antibacterial compounds (hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal, and dihydroxyacetone). It can fight some bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This is great during the holidays since we are traveling and spending time with family and friends. It’s rich in amino acids, B vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Manuka honey has a rating scale measured by a UMF number. The higher the UMF number correlates with the number of antibacterial compounds. There are many benefits including reducing sore throats, treatment and prevention of gingivitis and periodontal disease, and improving skin and digestive health. Manuka honey has a thick consistency compared to regular honey.
Regular honey is a great option too since it contains over 20 amino acids, over 20 minerals, and thousands of enzymes. These will help support your immune and digestive systems. Honey is a natural source of energy to help you avoid energy drinks. If you love honey, try Tupelo (Florida), Sidr (Yemen), and Rapsflower (Germany) honey.
You can have a spoon full of honey a day or you can drizzle it on your food or other treats.
4. Fruity Trail Mix
You can customize this treat with your favorite dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Place your mix in a sandwich bag or reusable plastic container. The fruit provides antioxidants and vitamins. Nuts and seeds provide fatty acids and minerals. Nutrient-rich items to add, include figs, cranberries, goji berries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and pecans. If you are craving something a little sweeter, add some dark chocolate chips which include antioxidants.
5. Chicken Bone Broth Soup
Bone broth is nutrient-rich with healing collagen compounds glutamine (reduces anxiety and sleep disorders), proline (improves cardiovascular, bone, and joint health), glycine (builds healthy DNA and aids in muscle growth), and arginine (strengthens the immune system). It contains an extensive list of minerals and amino acids. Bone broth stimulates the growth of probiotics in your gut, so it is a winning combo with yogurt.
To create bone broth fit for a champion, called a bone broth latte, add a spoonful of coconut oil. The list of health benefits of coconut oil is too numerous to list; however, some include inflammation reduction, an immune system and energy boost, hormone balancing, and support for the brain, heart, skin, and hair health. Remember to avoid bone broth with the additive MSG that can cause migraines and asthma issues in some people.
You can buy individual servings to take with you on the go. Fill up a bowl or mug and heat to your desired temperature (60-90 seconds) in the microwave.
6. Grass-fed Beef, Turkey Jerky, or Fish Jerky
Look for grass-fed beef jerky, turkey jerky, or fish jerky that is organic or non-GMO without additives (MSG). This will give you protein if you are active during the holidays or want to fit in a snack after a workout.
7. Nutritional Bars
They are bountiful in nutrients like trail mix and don’t need preparation. There are a variety of bar types with various ingredients to match your tastes, including fig bars for simple antioxidants, granola bars for a mixture of antioxidants and protein, protein bars packed full of protein-rich nuts, and whole food bars that mix in veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruits meant to replace a whole meal.
8. Plantain Chips
Plantains are not popular in the United States. However, it’s one of the top 10 staple foods feeding the world currently. You can grab a bag of these most of the time with pink Himalayan salt. This type of pure salt helps balance your body’s pH levels and helps your digestive system’s health.
9. Kale Salad Cup
You can build a whole meal in a kale salad cup that looks like a lush garden. Start off with kale as the base and add broccoli, pink Himalayan salt, walnuts, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, and acai berries or cranberries. Experiment with other healthy nuts, fruits, and veggies. Add cooked chicken for protein. Don’t forget to top it with a vinaigrette.
Make your own vinaigrette by combining balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, with optional ingredients Dijon mustard or lemon juice for a kick, or maple syrup or honey for a dash of sweetness.
This last one is not a snack, however, it’s a must-have healthy fermented drink. Kombucha is loaded with probiotics and B vitamins. There are many different brands with a variety of flavors. It takes some effort to find a brand and a flavor that you like, however, many taste wonderful. Start with something simple like an apple or blueberry-flavored kombucha. Check for added sugar and caffeine found in some kombucha drinks if you want to avoid those ingredients.
In addition to eating healthy, remember to get plenty of sleep, water (filtered), and exercise. We hope you enjoy the holidays with your family and friends!
Note: This is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor or nutritionist to find the best diet, health practices, and nutrition for you.