A great friend of mine, Amanda, posed a question she knew I’d definitely have an answer to, and I, upon hearing the inquiry, was absolutely stumped. I pride myself on maintaining a (relatively) healthy diet and routine (surprisingly, I was much healthier in college…it’s all those Italian wine and pasta meals I so enjoy!!) so I shocked myself for not having an immediate answer to her question.
“What did she ask?” you may solicit.
The oh so simple yet complex question: What are the best (aka healthiest) snacks one can keep in bowls around the home without worry that they quickly go bad or stale?
She’s speaking about decorative bowls – not airtight containers, not jars tucked away in your desk’s filing cabinet. But bowls displayed on coffee tables, desks and side tables. Bowls at HOME.
Asian rice crackers (flavored with wasabi, sesame, seaweed) – an all time favorite – are a NO. They would go stale overnight, especially in humid NYC.
M&M’s – a sugar pick-me-up – again a NO. Although I’d like to believe they are good for you: chocolate has antioxidant properties and is calcium-rich, right? They are worst for you than better.
Dried Fruit – Anyone who knows me super well knows that I can subsist on packs of dried mangos for an entire week (a girl’s gotta taste the tropics sometimes), but I declare, with great assertion, that dried fruit is not the healthiest of snacks. Most times they are laden with an added coating of sugar, which someone needs in her diet like I need another pair of shoes. Ascanio can attest.
So, what have I come up with? Here is my YES list:
Bubbly water, coconut water, tea. Many times feeling puckish can be confused with thirst. So hold off on nibbling and take a swig.
Fresh Fruit –
Apples, pears, oranges.
I always keep a large bowl of apples on my dining table. They not only make for a perfect centerpiece but are an easy grab and go snack. Whole fresh fruit do not have to be refrigerated and can last weeks.
Nuts, for me are both the highlight and bane of my foodie existence. I LOVE nuts (now that sounds cheeky…) but tend to forget my portions. Nuts like raw unsalted almonds, walnuts of pistachios are a super snack, but make sure not to eat the entire bowl.
The Mediterranean in me says olives are one of the healthiest and unprocessed snacks that you can nosh on. I especially love olives stuffed with anchovy paste, but for those less adventurous (I promise they are addictive) a variety of pitted olives can make all the difference to your day. Although they do not need to be refrigerated, I suggest filling your decorative bowl only a half full so that dust doesn’t have time to settle on the fruit.
Dark chocolate –
I am not a chocolate fanatic, so I can easily control myself around dark coco squares (but put an apple pie in front of me, and I’m in trouble). The darker the chocolate, the better for you – it has less sugar.
Nut butters –
Peanut butter, another addiction of mine, is a healthy snack (if you buy freshly ground, organic varieties, sorry Skippy), but only when eaten in moderation. Pre-packaged portions of PB solve my gluttony but satisfy my craving.
Amanda, I hope you’ve been inspired for your next grocery trip and looking forward to coming over to see bowls filled with olives and nuts rather than m & m’s and jolly ranchers!