If you are like me, one of the pitfalls to my healthy diet can be grabbing snacks here and there – whatever is on hand and most convenient, whether it is healthy or not. This can wreak havoc with your healthy eating plan, so here are some ideas for healthy snacks:
1. Apples. This fruit is packed with nutritional goodness. It pairs very nicely with cheese or peanut butter and provides a filling snack.
2. Hummus and whole grain crackers or pita chips. Hummus contains great protein and monounsaturated fats. It can help fill the need for something “crunchy” as well.
3. Veggie sticks or really, veggies of any kind. This is kind of the old stand-by, but it doesn’t get much better than this for your body. Even if you are dipping in ranch dressing (find a kind that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or msg), you are giving your body a healthy snack. Veggies are very readily available already cut up, so if you don’t care for the prep, you can still enjoy them
4. Bananas. These potassium rich babies are very easy to grab quickly.
5. Nuts. Raw and roasted nuts of all kinds are one of my favorite foods of all time. They are nutritious, filling, and very satisfying. You are doing your body a big favor when you include nuts in your diet. Not only are they filled with protein and other vitamins and minerals, but they are rich in the monounsaturated fats that are so important for your health and your waste line. Because vitamin and mineral content varies from nut to nut, mixing it up a bit by eating a variety is a good idea.
6. Popcorn. Believe it or not, this tasty treat is a wonderful source of whole grain fiber. It also contains B vitamins and protein. To make it healthy, do not use microwave popcorn. I make mine the old fashioned way in a kettle on the stove popped in cold-pressed canola oil. Instead of loading up with butter, I salt the unpopped kernels when I first put them in the oil with extra fine sea salt. I don’t even miss the butter and I am able to have a snack for the next day or two as well.
7. Yogurt. Yogurt is a quick healthy snack that my kids love. Among other nutrients, it contains probiotics, calcium and potassium. Just make sure that you don’t buy a kind that is highly sugared or sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. I almost always try to buy organic. For a little extra protein sometimes I will add cottage cheese to it. Try it… it is very tasty!
8. Hard boiled eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc. I prepare a dozen of these ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. My children grab them with a little sea salt and a piece of fruit. It is a snack that I can feel totally great about putting in their bodies.
9. Freeze dried fruit. Fresh or freeze dried fruit of any kind is good for you, but for sheer convenience, it doesn’t get any easier than this. Also, did you know that freeze dried fruits are also rich in fiber and antioxidants and that nutrient levels are only slightly lower than that of fresh fruit? This is truly a convenient “on-the-go” snack. You can grab a container of nuts and a bag of freeze dried fruit as you are running out the door!
This is my list of healthy snacks. How about you? What are some of your favorites? Suggest your favorite healthy snack, and I may be able to expand my list. A final quick tip to ensure healthy snacking: It is helpful to plan out your meal and snack times. I find that if I wait until I am starving to eat, I tend to grab whatever is in my path and snack right before my meal. It will be much easier for you to control yourself when you have had a healthy between meal snack to keep your blood sugar stable and your stomach from grumbling. Enjoy your snack!