Many people actually don’t eat as much as they should–which probably comes as a surprise, given that obesity rates continue to rise. But keeping yourself fed is essential for overall health. The problem is that most people eat too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
Some diets wrongly incriminate snacking, stating that it isn’t good for you. However, it is important to be aware that it isn’t snacking itself that is bad, it’s eating unhealthy snacks that is. Luckily there are plenty of healthy foods that you can snack on without worrying about the health implications. Healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and veggie sticks all offer crunchy satisfaction that is free of added sugar and loaded with healthy fats and nutrition.
In this post, we’ve put together a list of healthier snack options that are not only delicious but good for you as well.
Let’s Take A Look:
Just because you want to eat something small between meals, doesn’t mean you have to constantly reach for packaged, unhealthy food that is full of harmful fats and sodium. A snack can be as simple as a piece of fruit or some homemade vegetable-based chips that you prepped ahead of time. Making healthier snack choices may be one of the simplest steps you can take to improve your health from the comfort of your own home.
1. Fresh Fruit (Apples, Bananas, Watermelon…)
Fresh fruit is a great snack because it provides the body with natural sugars to fuel energy and satisfy cravings. With so many different types of fruit to choose from, the caloric content will vary but typically a piece of fruit will contain 80 to 100 calories per serving. Fruit contains vitamin C as well as phytonutrients that may help to protect the body against heart disease, diabetes and stroke. As a low-fat, nutrient-dense option, fruit is one of the best healthy snacks to choose from.
2. Vegetables with Hummus or Salsa For Dipping
Veggie sticks, such as carrots or celery, are a super healthy snack option. Many people focus on incorporating vegetables into their meals but eating vegetables between means is an equally effective approach to healthy eating. Simply chop up some vegetables and eat them with hummus or salsa for added flavor. Vegetables provide the body with vitamin A and folate and hummus offers healthy fat and protein to satiate hunger. If you want to make it even easier, chop up a large number of veggies ahead of time so you already have them prepared and ready to eat.
3. Greek Yogurt with Honey and Berries
Topping a cup of greek yogurt with berries will provide your body with a powerhouse of nutrients such as vitamins C and K, calcium, selenium and protein–to name a few. Berries are naturally rich in antioxidants and minerals and greek yogurt is filling, nourishing and (not to mention) tasty. We recommend choosing a greek yogurt that doesn’t have added sugar since sweetened yogurts that are high in sugar can compromise on nutritious value. If plain yogurt is too bland, add some honey as a natural sweetener.
4. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are a healthy source of protein, vitamin B, zinc, choline and calcium. Not everyone wants to take out a saute pan and scramble an egg every morning so that is why hard-boiled eggs are a great move. They’re one of the easiest forms of eggs and they’re great for snacking (when prepped ahead of time.) Adding a little sea salt gives extra flavor to this delicious, high-protein snack.
5. Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds)
If you’re a fan of the pretzel but looking for a healthier alternative, look no further than the nuts and seeds aisle of the grocery store. Nuts and seeds provide fat and protein and they can satisfy cravings for foods that are crunchy and salty without the need to consume unhealthy chips and other packaged food. Some nuts and seeds to try include pistachios, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds and cashews.
6. Air-Popped Popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack since it is free from the harmful oils that are typically used in movie theater-style popcorn. Popcorn offers a combo of whole grains and fiber to act as a satisfying and healthy snack.
7. Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Honey
Rice cakes with some nut butter are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Rice cakes are an airy and light treat that can be a little more filling when combined with nut butter. Rice cakes offer antioxidants and nut butter contains protein and healthy fats. You can also add some honey to help fuel the mind and body with a healthy kick of glucose.
Edamame provides the body with soy protein. This satisfying bean is rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. Easily prepare edamame by blanching it in salted water. Squeeze the outer shells to extract the inner beans and eat only the inside.
9. Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas can be made from scratch or you can find a packaged version of this crunchy and healthy whole-food snack. Chickpeas are filled with fiber, protein and healthy carbs so they provide energy and prolonged satiation.
10. Smoothies Made with Greek Yogurt and Frozen Fruit
A smoothie is a quick and easy way to pack a bunch of nutrients into one snack. Smoothies offer the flexibility of adding whatever you want to make it healthy and delicious– we’re looking at you, picky eaters. Adding greek yogurt and frozen fruit will make it creamy, sweet and filled with nutrients. Greek yogurt adds protein and fat for energy and replenishment.
11. Granola Bars
Every granola bar is not created equal. Some granola bars are made with less healthy ingredients like added sugar and chocolate while some offer a protein-packed, nutrient-dense option. Be sure to read your ingredient labels to make sure that you’re choosing a granola bar that isn’t too high in sugar and other harmful ingredients.
12. Energy Balls Made with Oats, Nuts and Dried Fruit
If you want to get really “crunchy” you can make your own healthy energy balls with oats, nuts and dried fruit. This DIY snack option is actually incredibly easy to prepare. All you have to do is mix together a few ingredients (typically you would use some variation of oats, nuts, dried fruit, honey and nut butter). Chill the ingredients so they harden a bit, then roll them into balls. This snack option is crispy, delicious and great for you. The nuts and oats provide fiber, protein and healthy fats.
13. Trail Mix with Dried Fruit and Dark Chocolate
Trail mix is a simple snack to reach for, with so many options available just about anywhere. The nuts and seeds in trail mix have protein to support muscle growth and curb hunger. Choosing a trail mix with some dark chocolate will not only be additionally satisfying but it actually offers health benefits including antioxidants and lowering the risk of heart disease.
14. Cottage Cheese with Berries
Cottage cheese with berries is a high-protein healthy snack that supports metabolism. Because cottage cheese is so high in protein it is digested slowly, keeping you full for longer and potentially supporting weight loss.
15. Carrots and Celery with Ranch Dressing
The raw carrot is a super healthy snack that offers nutrients like beta carotene and supports thyroid health. Celery contains loads of antioxidants and it’s a super low-calorie snack to support weight loss. Dipping these veggies in some ranch dressing can make it more satisfying and delicious, but keep in mind that not all ranch dressing is considered healthy. Look for a healthier, lower-fat option when picking ranch dressing if you want to avoid saturated fats and sodium.
16. Apple Slices with Almond Butter
Apples are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. They’re one of the best fruits to keep on hand given that they have a long shelf life and they’re easy to prepare. Sliced apples with almond butter is a healthy and satisfying snack with plant-based protein, healthy fat and natural sugars.
17. Whole Wheat Crackers with Cheese
A filling snack like whole wheat crackers with cheese is a great way to keep the blood sugar balanced. Look for cheese that is organic and crackers that are made with minimal added ingredients. This snack provides the benefit of having carbs as well as protein which helps to sustain hunger longer. Cheese should be enjoyed in moderate amounts since it contains saturated fat but it does provide the benefit of being rich in calcium and protein.
18. Tuna Salad Lettuce Cups
Canned tuna is a healthy, low-cost food to keep on hand. Tuna salad lettuce cups can be made by preparing tuna salad and placing it into large pieces of romaine lettuce. It’s basically a tuna sandwich but you’re using lettuce instead of bread to lower the carbohydrate and calorie levels.
19. Frozen Grapes
Grapes are packed with nutrients. They contain copper as well as vitamins B and K. They’re also a great source of potassium and offer benefits such as improving heart health, supporting immune function, fighting against cancer and supporting cognitive function. Frozen grapes are crunchy and sweet–they’re the perfect snack for a hot day.
20. Turkey or Chicken Breast Slices with Whole Wheat Crackers
If you’re in need of a low-carb balanced snack, try some turkey or chicken breast sliced with whole wheat crackers. This snack is not only nutritious but since it provides protein as well as carbs, it helps to stabilize blood sugar and provide energy. Some deli meat contains nitrate which is harmful for your health, so make sure to prepare this snack using nitrate-free deli meat or fresh turkey or chicken that you’ve cooked yourself.
How Does Healthy Snacking Support Overall Health?
Even if you’re preparing healthy meals for yourself, it may not be doing your body much good if you’re still eating unhealthy foods in between meals. Making the right choices when you snack could have a lasting impact on your overall health by supporting heart health and even preventing chronic disease.
Eating well-balanced nutritious snacks in-between meals has a huge impact on overall health. Snacks can keep blood sugar stable while also providing your body with added vitamins and minerals. A stable blood sugar means healthy hormone levels and a stable mood. Added vitamins and minerals mean immune support to help your body fight off infection–and this is only scratching the surface.
They’re not kidding when they say, “You are what you eat”. The food you put into your body has a major impact on your overall health–even the small snacks you’re reaching for between meals. Swapping your snacks for healthier options is arguably one of the easiest ways to get added nutrients into your diet from food.
If you make healthier choices today, you will be glad you did down the line. With so many alternative options, it shouldn’t be too hard to start making healthier snack choices to support your health. The snacks we’ve listed above are not only healthy but delicious and satisfying as well. Bookmark this post for future reference when you’re looking for your next healthy snack swap.