While there are plenty of unhealthy gluten-free snacks on the market, luckily there are just as many that are super-healthy—filled with protein, whole grains, fiber, or are made with fruits and vegetables. In honor of February being American Heart Month, check out these nine great gluten-free, heart-healthy snack ideas. In addition to being healthy, all of these snacks are delicious! These are the snacks I rely on throughout the day to keep me feeling full and satisfied (and to keep me from reaching from unhealthy gluten-free chips in the vending machine when the mid-morning snack attack happens!).
Frozen blueberries. This snack is yummy and refreshing. Eating blueberries is always fun, but eating them when they’re frozen seems to take a little more work (you chew them a little more because they’re frozen and therefore harder to chew), which somehow always leaves me more satisfied. Warning: If you’re a klutz like me, wear dark clothes when you eat them in case you get a little berry juice on yourself. And if you want to keep your fingers from being purple, eat your berries with a spoon instead of your fingers!
Blue Diamond almonds. Almonds, which boast fiber and protein, are a filling heart-healthy snack. If you turn your nose up at almonds because you think they’re too plain for your tastes, think again! Blue Diamond makes a wide variety of almonds that are flavorful and healthy. All varieties except one (the Wasabi and Soy Sauce flavor) are gluten-free. My favorites include the sweet and borderline addictive Honey Roasted and the Lightly Salted (which contains just 40 mg of sodium per serving). Blue Diamond almonds are my favorite afternoon snack at work; the little almond cans are so easy to slide into a desk drawer for that 3 PM snack craving!
Celery and almond butter. This is a great way to fit in a serving of veggies plus some protein! Spread your favorite almond butter (I like Justin’s almond butter) on celery sticks. Or, for an on-the-go version, place celery sticks vertically, stuck into the almond butter, in an almost-done jar of almond butter. Hen all you need to do to enjoy them is unscrew the lid and eat your pre-dipped celery sticks!
Avocado on toast. This is a delicious snack that can also double as breakfast; the avocado features heart-healthy fats. Toast two slices of your favorite gluten-free bread (I usually use Udi’s multigrain bread). Cut open your avocado and pit it. Take the flesh from half the avocado and spread it on top of your slices of toast. (Put the other half of the avocado in an avocado keeper for later—you can slice it and use it on top of a salad or a turkey burger).
KIND Breakfast Bars. Okay, technically these are a breakfast food, but I actually eat them more often as snacks—they’re like a healthy, portable oatmeal cookie. These tasty bars that feature oats as the star ingredient come two to a pack (a pack is one serving). Sometimes I eat them both at once; sometimes I save one for later. The oats are packed with fiber and some protein to help keep me feeling full longer, and the available flavors are really delicious. The Honey Oat and Peanut Butter flavors are my favorites, although you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors! Previously only available in Target stores, these yummy bars are now available in many more stores—I just saw them in my local Giant this weekend.
Hummus and veggies. Hummus, made with chickpeas, also is full of protein and fiber. Combine it with your favorite sliced veggies for a delicious heart-healthy snack. I like Sabra classic hummus with baby carrot sticks and sliced red peppers.
Lundberg rice cakes with peanut butter. If you say “ugh, diet food” when you hear “rice cakes,” get ready to eat your words. There are so many delicious and flavorful rice cakes available, and they’re a yummy snack for anyone, diet or not! Lundberg Family Farms makes an incredible variety of rice cakes to help satisfy savory and sweet cravings. The rice cakes are made with healthy whole-grain brown rice. My favorite is the Apple Cinnamon flavor, which I enjoy with a little peanut butter on top (I like Jif Natural). This is a great combination of protein and whole grains that will keep you feeling satisfied!
Berries and yogurt. Yogurt can have a bad rap because it’s often loaded with sugar, but if you pick your yogurt right, you can easily find a healthy choice. Buy plain, unflavored Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt tends to have more protein to help fill you up). Sprinkle fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries into your yogurt and stir. Now you have “flavored” yogurt that’s actually healthy! (If you’re feeling indulgent, sprinkle in a few dark chocolate chips, too.)
Roasted vegetable chips. Plain ol’ potato chips aren’t exactly the healthiest for you. But making your own roasted veggie chips can give you a crunchy snack that loves your heart back! This recipe features delicious vegetables like zucchini, squash, and sweet potato, combined with heart-healthy olive oil. Plus, these yummy chips are really easy to make!
What is your favorite heart-healthy gluten-free snack? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Disclaimer: The Blue Diamond, KIND Snacks, and Lundberg Family Farms products mentioned in this article were provided to me for review purposes. Under no circumstances has this affected the integrity of the article.