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Here are 5 nutritious and delicious snack food ideas that are also sustainable!
5 Nutritious and Sustainable Snack Food Ideas
A childhood favorite (especially at a summer baseball game), peanuts have been and continue to be a fantastic snack food that are healthy and highly craveable. You probably didn’t even realize they were sustainable, either!
In fact, peanuts requires considerably less water to grow than other nuts, and they rely mostly on rainwater -- many other nuts require irrigation.
What’s more, peanuts grow in the ground (they’re technically legumes, not nuts), and they possess nitrogen-modulating properties that benefit the soil in which they’re grown. They also add nutrients back into the soil, which helps other crops to grow all the while saving on the amount of fertilizer needed.
A serving of dry-roasted peanuts (1 ounce = 28 grams) contains:
- ~166 calories
- 6.9 grams of protein
- 6.0 grams of carbohydrates (including 2.4 grams of fiber)
- 14.1 grams of healthy fats
#2 Hard-Boiled Eggs
Simply put, eggs are one of the absolute best foods (as well as one of the best sources of protein) you can eat. They’re also one of the most budget-friendly foods you’ll find, too! Not only are eggs rich in muscle-building protein, they’re also high in numerous micronutrients, including choline which supports cognitive function.
Eggs can be prepared a number of ways, but when it comes to having a ready-to-eat option, there’s no better preparation than hard-boiled. Simply boil up a dozen (or more) eggs one day or night and you’ll have 12 healthy, nutritious snacks to fuel your body.
Data supplied by the American Egg Board indicates that it requires 32% less water to produce a dozen eggs than it did 50 years ago. Additionally, producing eggs also releases 71% fewer greenhouse gases than in years past.
One hard boiled egg contains:
- 70 calories
- 6 grams of protein
- 0 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of fat
When you think of snacks, you might not immediately (or ever!) think of lentils, but, truth be told, lentils should get a lot more love than they do.
They’re high in protein, fiber, micronutrients, and complex carbohydrates, helping you stay fueled and energized during the day. Furthermore, lentils are about 25% protein, making them an excellent plant-based protein option, and they’re also high in iron, which is sometimes lacking in vegetarian/vegan diets
Lentils are also eco-friendly as they require little water to produce and fertilize the soil in which they grow. Similar to peanuts, lentils also help improve soil conditions as they absorb and use nitrogen from the air.
While you may be used to seeing lentils as a side dish or mixed into soups/stews, they can also be roasted or used in place of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for hummus.
One cup of cooked lentils provides:
- 230 calories
- 17.9 grams of protein
- 39.9 grams of carbohydrates (15.6 grams of fiber)
- 0.8 grams of fat
#4 Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources around, rich in both complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential minerals (especially potassium). Research has also shown that potatoes are good for the environment. They’re also more environmentally sustainable than pasta and rice (two other frequently consumed carbohydrates).
More specifically, potatoes have lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to both pasta and rice, and they have significantly lower levels of overall water usage than rice.
One medium-sized baked potato contains:
- ~160 calories
- 4.3 grams of protein
- 37 grams of carbohydrates (including 3.7 grams of protein)
- 0.2 grams of fat
To make it a complete meal, you can top your baked potato with some lentils, lean ground turkey, and/or shredded cheese.
We started off this list with a classic “nut” (that isn’t really a nut) and we’ll end it with an actual nut -- ALMONDS!
It’s true that almonds do require more water to produce than peanuts. However, they still consume less water than other nuts, and almond farmers have reduced the amount of water needed to grow almonds by ~33% since the 1990s and 2010s.
What’s more, the hulls, shells and trees of almonds are used for other farming purposes. For example, researchers are investigating ways to use the shell and hull of almonds as a way to grow mushrooms, feed poultry, and more.
One serving of almonds (28 grams) contains:
- 160 calories
- 5.9 grams of protein
- 6.1 grams of carbohydrates (3.4 grams of fiber)
- 13.8 grams of fat
These snacks are a great way to fuel your body and support your recovery.
If you want even more healthy snacks that are easy-to-fix and nutritious, then log into the 1UP Fitness App, available for FREE on both Google Play and Apple, where you can access our food database as well as chat with others in our private Facebook group to get more healthy recipes.