Snacks are the workhorses of a person’s eating repertoire, because they’re required to provide flavor and nourishment, giving one enough satiety and energy to keep going until the next meal. Everyone has go-to snacks for this purpose.
Before Weight Watchers, my snacks would be of the carbs variety–either chocolate candy or chips from a vending machine. Convenient, yes, but satisfying for the long haul? Not on your life.
These days, I go for protein and fruit/veggie combos, and fiber, too, when possible. Although I have several staple snacks, I’m always looking for other options. I’ve learned to not overlook unconventional choices–either to ensure that I don’t get bored with my choices, or to ensure I’m not turning my nose up at options that fit the nutrition bill quite nicely on closer inspection. To that end, here are three “weird” types of snacks that I eat or might consider trying.
Meat snacks: Turkey sausage (Slim Jim-style sticks or bites), turkey jerky, and turkey pepperoni. It makes me feel like some sort of unrepentant carnivore to trade in popcorn for one of these items, but I find that the nourishment goes much farther than with a pure carb, for the same calories or less. I pair these meats (generally about an ounce for a serving) with some fruit or raw vegetables.
Seafood as a snack. Someone on the Weight Watchers message boards asked once about eating scallops or shrimp as a snack food. I think it gave everyone pause, as it was a little out of the box, but the overwhelming answer was yes, it would be a good idea–again, for the protein boost at low calories.
I have not done this myself, but a few cooked shrimp with a couple tablespoons of cocktail sauce, and some raw celery or carrots on the side sounds pretty good to me. For a more portable seafood snack, believe it or not, I saw individually wrapped imitation crab sticks (a.k.a. surimi) in my ShopRite, from Louis Kemp. You might laugh, like I did, but one stick has 35 calories, no fat, and 4 grams of protein, according to the Louis Kemp Web site. (If you’d be interested in eating surimi as a snack, you’d probably be better off economically buying the bulk package from your favorite brand and bagging one stick yourself in a snack bag.)
Jicama and lime. This isn’t weird because it’s some sort of crazy space-age food or something, just weird because it’s a vegetable choice that might not be on everyone’s radar. Jicama is a root vegetable grown in Latin America and East and Southeast Asia. It shares its flesh color and crunch with apples, and it has a lightly sweet, watery taste. I saw a container of peeled, cut jicama chunks topped with lime wedges in Whole Foods last year, gave them a try, and fell in love. (Squeeze the lime juice over the jicama, and it adds another nice level of flavor.)
I’ve heard that people also season jicama with cumin and chili powder; I’ll have to try that sometime. (Be warned that again, compared to the price of the neatly packaged container from Whole Foods, you’d likely be better off buying a jicama and a couple of limes from the grocery store and doing the dirty work yourself.)
One of the fun things about creating a new eating M.O. for myself has been trying out new kinds of foods. There are so many delicious, healthier options out there! I hope you have been exploring as well. Please feel free to share in the comments on any unique, satisfying snack choices you’ve come across on your weight loss journey.