Recipe Roundup: Bars, Kale Chips, and Other Ideas for Quick, Easy, High Raw and Vegan Snacking!

by Gena on April 13, 2012

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For the most part, I’m not a big snacker. I’m not sure why this is, except that I tend to fill up pretty thoroughly at mealtimes, and that’s when my appetite rolls in most strongly. When the five “mini-meals” per day trend came around, it held little appeal for me, and from a nutritionist’s perspective, I had my doubts: it seemed to me that all of my clients who were doing the “mini meal” plan ended up feeling both fixated on food and also endlessly hungry. My take was that they never filled up completely at mealtimes (because the meals were mini), so they were always thinking about when they could eat again.

Of course, different things work for different people, and I always encouraged clients who liked the mini-meal plan to keep up with it! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And this year, when I became a student again, I learned the hard way that even folks who aren’t born snackers need to snack.

Earlier this fall, I noticed that something odd was happening to my appetite. I’d be ravenous when I came home from long days of class, but also noticed that I’d get fuller faster and feel hungrier in the morning. It didn’t take much in-depth analysis to realize that, because I wasn’t eating regular snacks, I was coming home overly hungry, filling up overly fast, eating smaller dinners because of it, and waking up less energized than I needed to.

A few years ago, it was easy to be a working gal at a desk and not snack too much; my afternoons were spent sitting, and besides that, I had time for really dense, nutrient-rich lunches at the office. As a post-bacc student, I stand through three and four hour labs, often right after lectures, and I’m always running around from one place on campus to another. My lunches are often portable and less voluminous than I’m used to, so between that and the hectic schedule, I come home tired and in need of fuel.

The solution for all of this? More snacks!! More snacks, and lunches that pack in nutrients and calories without the same amount of volume I’d be able to consume at home (sandwiches rather than nutrient dense salads, wraps, snack bars and veggies with dip, leftover grain dishes, that kind of thing). Having snacks around means I am so much more likely to stay fueled for my day, and I come home appropriately hungry, which also means I can eat dinner at a normal pace, enjoy it, and fill up slowly.

You guys have seen two snack bars this week that I might enjoy as an afternoon energy boost. Here they are again, along with some other fun ideas! I hope they inspire you to stay full and stay nourished on the go.

Super Speedy, No Bake Omega-3 Snack Bars

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Blueberry Oat Bars

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Hemp Cacao Energy Bites

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Zucchini Hemp Hummus Wraps

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Lemon Kissed Cashew Hemp Bars

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Vegan Fig Bars

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Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese and Apple Wraps

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Five Minute, No Bake Sunflower Oat Bars

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Chocolate Covered Kale Chips

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Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Snack Bars

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It’s so important to eat according to your lifestyle’s demands. As a 9-6 working person, it was easy to do three large meals daily, and two very small snacks; as a student, I’ve learned to be flexible and accommodate my new schedule so that I can remain energetic and fueled. Snacks are a big part of this, and I hope this post inspires you to come up with some delicious ideas of your own!

xo

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl April 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I made Parmesan kale chips the other night. So good! Don’t tell anyone I ate the whole tray.

Want to try out those snack bars on the top. Look delicious! Love this kind of round up! Pinning.

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Gena April 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thank you!!

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Lori April 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Gena, have you read The 80/10/10 diet? I’m only one week in and feel so much better than my high-raw high-fat plan with nut pates, avocado, hemp seed this and cashew that, despite my huge intake of raw vegetables. I trust your opinions a whole lot and just am curious if you’ve read it. It seems like most of these “dense” options are getting their calories from fat.

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Ela April 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I’m not Gena, but I ate 80/10/10 style for several years, and I think it works wonderfully for a few people. However, the degree of fat phobia is inappropriate, and the amount of calories from fruit and veg you have to eat just to cover the basic requirements isn’t practical for most people.

I had a serious eating disorder, and it’s hard to be certain which of my chronic health problems stem from what, but my Naturopath definitely thinks that my “fruitarian” years didn’t help! I’m talking wide-spectrum endocrine issues–thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals, plus rampant gut dysbiosis. As I said, I’m not saying 80-10-10 was to blame for all of it, but I don’t think I was getting the nutrition I needed. Last summer, I briefly went on 80-10-10 again just to see, and even as stubborn as I am, I didn’t stay on it for very long (even with some cooked starch) because I could see that it sent my anxiety through the roof. Back when I ate that way, I was extremely skinny, which I liked, but I was also weak and people described me as neurotic, even more so than now!

Sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear–and I’m sure Gena will have some thoughts as well.
Ela

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Gena April 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Ela — very valuable to hear that firsthand.

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Gena April 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Thanks Lori!

With regard to my recipes: whenever you see higher fat meals or snacks on my site (and I definitely do have some meals that get most density from fat) you can bet that I’m balancing it with meals that are more rich in complex carbs and protein throughout the day. My days are never all nut pates and avocado and the like; I may have a meal along those lines, but it’s balanced with a lower fat dinner that’s richer in whole grains and legumes later on.

With regards to 80-10-10: I should say that I do know people who have felt good on it and enjoyed it; I should also say it seems that, among the few I’ve met who did well on the diet, most were men.

With that disclaimer–some folks love it–I’ll say frankly that I don’t think it’s a balanced diet. I think it’s far too low on complex carbs, fat, and protein, and that the sugar is disproportionate. I also have found very little clinical evidence in the form of case controlled, randomized, peer reviewed studies to support the evidence, and I try to use an abundance of that kind of data as my barometer for exploring any new diet. I also found the “scientific” language in the book to be…well, not very scientific ;-)

I like that the 80-10-10 plan points out that many raw diets are too excessive in fats. And I’m all for finding balance in a raw-centric diet–I just wouldn’t choose Graham’s solution. Part of why I eat mostly raw, not all raw, is to harness the variety and balance that comes with eating whole grains, legumes, and organic, non-GMO soy; these foods help me to “round out” the fats that are abundant in many raw recipes.

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Eileen April 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I do maybe one or two snacks a day now–but when I was teaching special needs kids, I needed all the high-energy snacks I could get! I definitely wish I’d had some of these recipes then. They look so great!

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Ela April 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Gena, this is one of the most sensible discussions of the “to snack or not to snack” question I’ve seen in a long time! I love how you allow your experience and lifestyle to guide you. Also enjoy being reminded of several of your beautiful earlier recipes.
love
Ela

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Gena April 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Thanks, friend!

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Rachel April 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thank you, Gena, for your continual inspiration. This post, as well as the recent Hurry Up Vegan posts, could not be more apropos.
I turn thirty in less than a month and I am finding I have been having an increasingly difficult time tolerating regular-portioned meals. Digestively, I am much better off having the mini-meals or snacks throughout the day. I get fuller faster.
In addition, after a couple years of working at a natural foods store where I stood and walked (read: ran) around for my full shifts, I have now returned to a sedentary office job, so my dietary needs have changed and I am gaining weight easier. Because my metabolism is slowing from lack of energy expenditure on a work day, I am seeking low-calorie and low-sugar yet nutrient-dense snacks/meals to try. I want to feel satiated but I don’t want to consume more than is necessary to fuel a mostly-seated 8-hour period. I always keep a bag of sea lettuce at my desk so that if I am feeling an urge for chewing, I have a healthy option readily available. In my quest to eat mini-meals, I am afraid I’ll end up consuming too much of a good thing, say, too many handfuls of nuts or seeds. Any ideas anyone can send my way would be greatly appreciated.

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bitt April 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Great snack ideas but even more insightful info on snacks. I eat mostly based on hunger, whereas I notice other people eat by the clock, which might work for them but not as well for me. But I find that I am not as pressured to eat lunch or dinner at a certain time, I eat as much as I’m hungry for and these can be between snacksize and dinnersize portions depending on how hungry I am. I did notice when I was eating 100% raw I needed snacks more often and to eat more often. I also have had times when the smaller meals worked well for me and can think of people with medical situations in which that is the best idea for them (slowed digestion, pregnancy, etc). So it’s good have options and not be too rigid about no snacks/yes snacks overall.

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Alex @ Raw Recovery April 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Thanks for rounding up these snacks! I’m excited to try the ones I haven’t made yet. I think the student life requires a different style of eating, at least that also rings true for me.

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maausi April 14, 2012 at 12:10 am

I will try some of them, they will surely come in handy in my 7-4 run-around-all-day job (a.k.a. waiter). :) Thank you!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 14, 2012 at 12:24 am

You’re the easy/quickie snacks queen lately! I love it! Love the reminders on these. Totally forgot about the fig bars, and a few others…and the orange cashew cheeze in that wrap…sounds perfect for spring!

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Bex April 14, 2012 at 6:42 am

Oh, I SO feel this!
Also not one for snacking, I realized this first semester as a grad student that being on campus for 13 hours a day required some serious preparation and plenty of snacks! It’s not my favorite way to eat, but coming home ravenous at 8 pm or later after chasing toddlers at work and then sitting through hours of lecture isn’t an option either.
Thanks for the healthy snack ideas!

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Sarah April 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

These all look great, especially the blueberry oat bars. My grandmother has blackberry bushes in her yard – maybe I will try making them with homemade blackberry preserves!

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Amber Shea @Almost Vegan April 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I’m supposed to be eating a handful of food every 1-2 hours, so I’m all about snacks. It’s a little disconcerting, though, having to eat by the clock and not by hunger signals! =/ Great collection of links/recipes.

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The Delicate Place April 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

yeah i’m not a big snacker. who has time for 6 mini meals? i go big or go home ha. sometimes i’m running experiments that take 4 hours so it’s not exactly convenient to time my meals by a clock! i just eat whenever i feel hungry and try not to overcomplicated things. life is already a puzzle as it is, i don’t need an algorithm for meal planning too lol.

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Sarah C April 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Inspired by this post and remembering the bag of dried figs sitting in my fridge, I whipped up the fig bars this afternoon. WINNER! My husband pronounced “awesome” on first bite, and I love how easy-peasy it was (and I’m not a baker)!. Thanks for the great recipe.

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Andrea April 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I’ve never been much of a snack-eater, either, though I notice I’m snacking a little more than I used to. However, I’m sometimes called upon to provide snacks for others, and this collection will really come in handy. I think you’re right about lifestyle changes necessitating changes in eating habits — we have to be flexible to meet our needs, whatever they may be.

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) April 15, 2012 at 6:35 am

As a fellow student, I can personally vouch for your oat and blueberry bars and your sunflower seed and raisin balls as two of the best snack foods that have ever come out of my kitchen!

Quick question re: kale chips – I’ve never been able to make them successfully, they just don’t crisp up! They kind of shrivel down and get really chewy. What am I doing wrong, too much oil, too long in the dehydrator?

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Shannon April 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

Yay! love seeing more easy snacks. How long do the hemp cacao energy bites last (in the fridge)?

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for another variation of how to cook kale. I normally make mine with Parmesan, lemon juice and garlic. But chocolate sounds like a quite delicious ingredient!

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Jocelyn April 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Thank you for posting this. I’ve been a strict vegan for 10 years, but can’t seem to get rid of my potato chip habit at lunch/snack. I sometimes buy “healthier” chips at Whole Foods, but the average price is $3.50 a bag!! which will last only a few days.

So I’m always looking for new snack alternatives and the raw-er the better! It’s great to have these articles in one place, I’m totally bookmarking. Thank you!!

p.s. on a side note, I am glad you feature so many raw articles without walnuts. Transitioning to a 100% raw diet has always been difficult for me with a walnut allergy. I am okay with other nuts (soaked and then grinded) so appreciate so many diverse raw nut-based recipes!

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Gena April 17, 2012 at 6:33 am

Jocelyn,

I actually have a VERY mild walnut sensitivity, so I use them only occasionally. Welcome to CR!

xo

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Sara April 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Love the snack ideas! I am a snacker…I do eat bigger meals and small snacks rather than several mini meals, but I do need a little something in between. I am a teacher, so I eat breakfast about the same time every day, snack with my kids at recess, set lunch time, etc. I guess my body is so in this routine I miss the snacks when I don’t pack them! Snacks for me are usually fruit with nuts or a little something…CAN:T WAIT to try some of the granola bar type recipes! I gave up on purchased ones long ago…except few Laras here and there!

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Rose April 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Definitely looking forward to trying some of these!! I’m a busy student, too, and easily get discouraged from cooking. These all look delicious!

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