6 Healthy Snacks Even L.A. Foodies Swear By

You know that unremitting hunger pain that tends to hit about two hours shy of a massive holiday meal? Yes, that one. So, what do you do? Are the you the type to hold out for the big meal, and then polish off everything in front of you the minute you take your seat? Or, are you the one who spoils your appetite by eating a way-to-big-too-be-called-a-snack treat? Either way, you're not doing your body much good.
Ahead, six badass L.A. food bloggers share their favorite delicious, healthy snacks for satiating cravings and staying fueled between holiday-party hopping. Whether you jones for sweet or savory, nutty or fruity, or even a kick of spice — we've got you covered.
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Photo: Courtesy of A Cozy Kitchen.
Vanilla Almond Goji Berry Granola

"Lately, I've been on a homemade granola kick. I'll usually just grab a handful out of the jar. If I'm feeling a bit more civilized, I'll pour some into a bowl, along with some yogurt and fresh fruit." — Adrianna, A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients:
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (safflower will work too)
1/3 cup agave
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup goji berries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine grapeseed oil, agave, vanilla bean inards, vanilla bean and light brown sugar. Heat to a simmer (and until sugar is dissolved) and remove from heat. Drizzle syrup mixture over oat mixture, and toss. Transfer granola mixture onto sheet pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, mixing it once at the 10 minute mark. Let granola cool completely on a wire rack. Break it into chunks and mix in goji berries.

Using your hands, break granola into chunks; transfer to an airtight container and add goji berries and mix.
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Photo: Courtesy of Adventures In Cooking.
Golden Beets With Feta & Carrots

"I like this dish because the sweetness of the beets goes perfectly with the tanginess of the feta. Plus it also incorporates the beet greens, which are an often overlooked but incredibly tasty part of the beet." — Eva Kosmas, Adventures In Cooking

Ingredients:
3 golden beets, with leaves attached
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:
Cut the leaves off of the beets and set them aside. Peel the beets with a potato peeler, cut them in half, and place them in a medium-sized pot. Add water until the beets are just covered, then place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from heat and pour into a strainer. Take the beets and cut them into roughly two-inch cubes. Set them aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the beet leaves and cook for one minute, then pour into a strainer. Allow the leaves to cool for 10 minutes, then squeeze the excess water out them with your hands. Place them on a cutting board and chop them into roughly half-inch pieces. Place the chopped greens in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the chopped beets, carrots, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir until the vegetables are evenly distributed and they are covered in the dressing. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve immediately.
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Photo: Courtesy of Valleybrink Road.
Avocado Toast

"I find this snack so comforting. I could eat it breakfast, lunch, and dinner." — Barrett Prendergast, Valleybrink Road

Ingredients:
Serves 2
2 pieces of bread, a thick, nutty whole grain
1 avocado
1 lemon
Red chili flakes
Olive oil
Maldon salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
Toast your bread in a toaster until golden brown. If you do not have a toaster, you can use an oven set at 350 degrees. Remember to keep an eye on the bread, turning it every so often so that both sides get toasted.

Slice your avocado in half and discard the pit. Scoop 1/2 the avocado onto the first slice of toast, spreading a thick layer evenly over the bread. Repeat the same on the second slice of toast.

Sprinkle a generous helping of Maldon salt, red chili flake, and cracked black pepper over the avocado. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of fruity olive oil. Serve.
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Photo: Courtesy of Eat Your Greens.
Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars

"I've been on the hunt for a not-too-sweet granola bar for years, and these baked bars— packed with oats, pepitas, almonds, walnuts, and dried fruit — are the homemade snack I've been looking for. I like to make a big batch during the weekend and freeze them for grab-and-go healthy snacks throughout the week." — Anjali Prasertong, Eat Your Greens

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries or pitted dates, chopped
3 small ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Butter or other oil, for greasing pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a nine-by-nine-inch square pan.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Place the bananas, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. (You will have about 1 1/4 cup of puree.) Pour the banana puree over the oat mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are evenly moist. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned on the edges. Let cool completely and cut into six bars. You can store them in an airtight container for a couple days, but I recommend wrapping them individually and freezing them in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Sprouted Kitchen.
Peanut Butter Bites

"I love these peanut butter bites. They are super quick to make and taste like a Peanut Butter Lara Bar. I make a huge batch, and they keep for weeks." — Sara Forte, The Sprouted Kitchen

Note:
Because I know someone will be curious, I have not tried these with any other nut butter, but I suppose they're pretty versatile. If I had cocoa nibs on hand they would be incredible here. I wouldn't turn them down, but a peanut butter cookie is not my first choice. Peanut butter and chocolate however, makes more sense to my mouth. The sharp chocolate cuts through that unmistakable peanut richness and all is right. If you have cocoa nibs or want to add some finely chopped chocolate, I would guess a 1/4 cup will do and pulse it in with everything else.

Ingredients:
Makes about 16 small cookies
1 cup almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pitted dates
Heaping 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 pinches of salt (if your peanut butter isn't salted)

Directions:
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until a coarse meal forms. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, dates, peanut butter, and salt if using. Pulse everything together until they are generally uniform in color and texture. The mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it seems dry, add another tablespoon of peanut butter.

Roll dough into scant tablespoon size balls. Press them down with a fork to make a cross hatch. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and keep chilled in the fridge.
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Photo: Courtesy of A House In The Hills.
Apricot Pecan Bars
"These are perfect thing to grab for breakfast when you're in a rush or snack on in between meals!" — Sarah Yates, A House In The Hills

Ingredients:
3 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots
5 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil (and a little extra for greasing the pan)
1/4 & 1/8 cup grade A maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9X13 pan with coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl combine oats, nuts, apricots, and sea salt.

In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas (I used a rice spatula to make easy work of it).

Add coconut oil and maple syrup to mashed bananas and combine.

Pour banana mixture into bowl with oats and stir until fully mixed.

Fill pan with oat mixture and use a spatula (or the backside of a large spoon) to press mixture firmly into pan.

Bake for 35 minutes (more or less depending on your oven) until bars are lightly browned on the top.

Let cool and then slice into bars (these suckers are extra good warm, so eat one straight away!).

Enjoy!
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