Health: Four Ways to Snack Better

November 2012

About five seconds after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use by passing Amendment 64, locals were half-joking about the profitability of opening a Taco Bell, snack food store, or all-hours street cart to satisfy cases of the munchies. And they may be on to something. Marijuana's main ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical to blame for overeating when you're high. Our bodies stock THC naturally to tell certain receptors in our brains when we need to eat. Smoking marijuana adds extra THC to your system, making the message much more urgent. In fact, researchers have used their understanding of this process to create diet drugs that block those receptors and kill cravings

But snacking problems aren't restricted to weed-lovers. Case in point: the communal plate of candy, chips, or home-baked cookies in your office. If it's there, you'll eat it. There are better ways to snack if you stock up on healthier versions of your favorite sweet, salty, and meaty vices. Here, a few locally-made suggestions:

The Kitchen Next Door's Kale Chips

These crispy veggies are gaining popularity for good reason: They're high in macronutrients, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and omega-3s. When cooked in good olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, it's hard to eat just one. $8 per order

Doc Popcorn Salt n’ Pepper popcorn

Corn kernal husks are packed with antioxidants, which can help battle chronic disease. Plus, Doc Popcorn flavors all of its popcorn naturally. $15 per tin

Jerry’s Nut House Mountain Splendor Trail Mix

Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, the dried raisins, pineapple pieces, dates, and apricots in this mix will satisfy your sweet tooth while pecans, walnuts, and almonds provide healthy fat to satiate hunger. $6.50 

Highwire Ranch Elk Meat Jerky
This grassfed organic lean meat (from Hotchkiss on the Western Slope) provides protein to fill you up, but cuts out much of the salt and preservatives you'd find in store-bought brands. $6 per two-ounce package

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com