Snacks are something that should be part of your every day life. Every day I counsel clients and talk about eating small meals and snacks throughout the day. “Six meal eating” is a form of eating that incorporates healthy snacks in betweens meals, usually cutting back hunger at meal time which may inturn promote weight loss or weight maintenance.
In my experience when people are asked about snacks their idea of a snack foods is usually carbohydrates. Crackers, chips, pretzels, and the list of packaged and processed foods go on and on. When I think if snack I think of fresh ingredients like fruits, vegetable, nuts or seeds, cheese or yogurt, etc. A snack food should be healthy, it should consist of some carbohydrate, some proteins and some healthy fats. When your snack consists of all these food components they are satisfying, keep you full between meals and are friendly to your wasteline.
1. Popcorn – fresh/air popped popcorn is a great snack, it is crunch and satisfying and did you know what it’s considered a whole grain? 1 cup of popped popcorn is only 50 calories. Add a little bit of salt or other seasonings and you’ve got satisfying and delicious snack.
2. Fruit Smoothie – Simple blend about 1 cup frozen fruit with a ¼ cup of juice or milk and you’ve got a sweet snack for about 100-120 calories. For a boost of protein add a little bit of plain yogurt or silken tofu. For a hidden vitamin boost add a handful of spinach (they’ll never know!)
3. Veggies and Dip – crudite isn’t only for the holidays, cut up some peppers, carrots, broccoli or your other favorites and dip away! (Homemade dips are the healthiest, use low fat sour cream mixed with a little bit of milk, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper and you’ve got homemade ranch dressing, serving size is about 2 tbsp)
4. Cottage Cheese – ½ cup low fat cottage cheese is a great snack. Its plain flavor can be mixed with fruits for something sweet or veggies for a savory satisfier.
5. Hard Boiled Egg – simple as that a hard-boiled egg is only about 70 calories and the protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food.
6. Mini Quiches – quiches are a great breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. Because they are so versatile you really can add anything you want to them. Instead of making your quiche is a pie crust, make them in your muffin tins. Simply oil the muffin tin, pour your egg mixture and bake. They will be a great pop in your mouth snack.
7. Ants on a log – remember this one? Ants on a Log traditionally are celery stalks filled with peanut butter topped with dried fruit (usually raisins). Now our supermarkets conveniently sell individually portioned peanut butter packets that are great for on the go dipping. Another variation would be celery stalks filled with cream cheese topped with sliced green olives…yum.
8. Nuts – go nuts with nuts…nuts are a great, I am a big fan of almonds, cashews, pistachios, and more. The serving size for nuts and seeds is about a palm full (usually translating to about 1/8 cup). Nuts have lots of healthy fats that are great for our heart but we do have to be careful of portion sizes with these yummy treats.
9. Chickpea or Bean “Nuts” – when roasted in a hot oven, chickpeas and white beans get super crispy and crunchy. They are a great substitute for nuts and are low in fat, loaded with protein and fiber. Serving would be ¼ cup
10. Chocolate covered Banana – I saved the best for last. I know for me something sweet is almost always necessary. This sweet treat will more than satisfy your craving. Simple cut a large banana in 3 pieces, pierce each banana piece with a popsicle stick and set aside. Melt some chocolate and dip the bananas (optional but really yummy when sprinkled with coconut or crushed walnuts). Lay onto a piece of wax paper and freeze. Yup…this is right around 100 calories!
Homemade Soy Nuts
Chickpea and White Bean "nuts"