While many of the superfoods we health professionals gush about seem to reside in the fridge (fruits, vegetables, fish and Greek yogurt come to mind), the truth is that some of the best health bargains in the grocery store actually live on your pantry shelf. Why do I love superfoods for the shelf? They can be very economical: consider that canned tuna or salmon costs considerably less than fresh – yet still packs the omega-3 fats, vitamin D and protein that you’ll find at the fish counter. They last a lot longer, which can help you save money from spoilage and means you can stock up when they go on sale. And they require very little additional preparation to be delicious and fabulous. No cooking know-how needed here.
So whether you’re looking for “low hanging fruit” as you try to make healthier changes, or to perk up your pantry with some fresh ideas for health from the shelf, check out these four new snack ideas below. Simply stow and go. Have other ideas? I’d love to hear them!
Sacha Inchi nuts
Have you heard of these? Sometimes called “Inca peanuts,” these amazing nuts boast tons of protein per ounce, and are also loaded with omega-3 fats, antioxidants and fiber. I also love how they offer me an easy way to get high quality plant protein into a snack break.
Nut and seed butter blends
The next generation of nut butters is one of the best health trends hitting the grocery store right now. For a delicious change of pace – as well as an impressive nutrition boost, try one of the new crop of nut-seed butter blends – with such power foods as brazil nuts (rich in selenium), pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds (which provide minerals, omega-3 fats, protein and fiber) these can help you feel energized and focused for hours. Slather a spoonful on a dried plum or dried fig (also from the shelf) for a truly decadent, nutrient-packed snack.
While hummus has to live in your fridge (which can make it a challenge to pack it for a healthy snack), there’s a whole new crop of roasted chickpea snacks you can find in the natural foods aisle of your grocery store. Satisfyingly crunchy, with a short list of clean ingredients ranging from spicy wasabi to Mediterranean-inspired, there’s something for every flavor your crave. (To control sodium, you can also make your own homemade version from dozens of recipes available online).
Canned salmon or sardines
OK, so I put two alternatives here because I recognize that people usually fall into one of two camps: either you like sardines from a can, or you can’t think of anything less appealing. That’s ok – either one makes for a superfood that’s super convenient as a snack that delivers satisfying protein as well as vitamin D, selenium, and heart-healthy, mood-boosting omega-3 fats. Look for a brand that has a pop lid (to keep it easy to eat on the go), and comes in a BPA-free can. What to eat with it? A handful of 100% whole grain crackers (also from, you guessed it, the shelf) make the perfect dipping partner.