By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

If you know me at all, you know that I like to eat. Food is never far from my mind and I’m usually daydreaming about my next meal. By 10 am, I’m starting to countdown to lunch.

I don’t consider this something to be ashamed of. We’re taught to eat three meals a day but many dietitians and nutritionists now say that having 1-2 snacks throughout the day is healthy and that you should eat as soon as you begin to feel hungry rather than have big gaps where you work up a huge appetite. It keeps your metabolism moving throughout the day and prevents binge eating at meal times.

Banana Oat Date Cookies, photo from Veganculinarycrusade.com

Also, while we vegetarians like to give off the impression that a plant-based diet is far superior to an omnivorous one in every way, authors and dietitians like Ginny Messina have taught me that there is nothing wrong with admitting that some vegetarians and vegans may in fact need to eat more in order to feel full and satiated. Plant-based food is naturally lower in fat than animal products and this is a good thing! But, eating a plate full of kale salad is not going to contain as many calories and fill you up as quickly as the same exact sized plate of pizza. So you might need to eat two plates of kale salad instead of one.

For someone like me who likes to eat a lot, this is a good thing! So, this week I proudly introduced our new summer staff to Luke and my secret snack drawer in the office. No, you don’t get to know where it is.

But I will let you in on what it might contain. Surprise surprise. I actually don’t  just eat cupcakes and donuts all day as some might believe. I have a long list of healthy snacks I enjoy as well! Here are some of my favourites:

Banana Oat Date Cookies from Colour me VeganAs I’m typing, I’m getting deja vu and thinking I may have already mentioned these in an earlier post about my favourite oat-related recipes. This recipe, however, deserves double recognition! These cookies are SO delicious and make you feel like you’re eating dessert, but they’re totally not junk food and could even pass for breakfast. Ingredients include oats, bananas and dates (duh), as well as peanut butter and some coconut flakes and chocolate chips if you like. They are soft, filling, sweet and the oats of course provide healthy fibre.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Muffins from VegNews: Click here. Just do it. You won’t be disappointed. These delicious muffins come with a secret of their own: they’re made with chickpeas and oats instead of flour! That makes them not only gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats, but also packed with protein and fibre. Yet, the title of the recipe does not lie. They truly taste like eating raw cookie dough from a muffin cup.

Dried Mango: Nothing fancy here. I just love dried mango! It’s addictive!

Homemade Trail Mix from Runner’s World: Runner’s World’s website has a neat video series of recipes that are often vegetarian. One of them is for a homemade trail mix that’s super quick and easy to make. Just throw almonds, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips and sunflower seeds into a jar or bowl and mix. I modify it a bit because I don’t like dry fruit in my trail mix, so I swap that out for some oat flakes or some walnuts. The bottom line: a few handfuls of nuts and seeds and chocolate chips will fill you up in no time and provide healthy fats, iron and protein.

Photo from http://alimentageuse.com/

Flavoured Popcorn: Last year we suddenly started receiving random mail from the Popcorn Board of Canada (or some kind of similar name). I’m not going to complain because it has included really tasty popcorn recipes! Here are some examples: Sriracha Lime, Curry Coconut, Italian and yes, Lavender Provencal. I now keep a box of unflavoured popcorn packets in the cupboard at home and on a whim I can pop it in the microwave, simply sprinkle on whatever seasoning the recipe of my choice calls for, and voila! A couple days worth of a healthy snack is ready to go.

Coconut Bacon from Lisa Le: If you come by our Resource Centre on Wednesday nights you might have met Lisa Le, one of our resource centre volunteers who also has a great blog with lots of fantastic recipes. One of my favourites is her coconut bacon. It is so easy and quick to put together and can either pass as a snack on its own to nibble on, or be sprinkled on salads and used in recipes that call for bacon bits. Click here for the recipe.