Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight can easily be sabotaged by the midday munchies. A quick trip to the fridge leaves you somewhat satisfied but wracked with guilt. And, your diet has once again been blown by snacks.
The key to sticking to a diet and making healthier food choices is planning delicious meals in advance, and that means snacks too. Here is a list of 27 healthy snacks that will keep your nutrition balanced, your hunger satiated, and your weight management plan on track.
The most important factor for healthy snacking is to stick to natural foods, meaning no highly processed stuff. Moderation and variety also go hand-in-hand. Finally, try to avoid low-fat items, as these may contain added sugar, and steer clear of anything high in sugar in general.
Preheat the oven to 425° F and cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch wedges. Place on a roasting pan and brush with olive oil. Add spices and season to taste and cook for 20-25 minutes. Make sure to flip them once, so they are evenly crispy.
As far as food trends go, kale is king. Transform this bitter, lettuce-like leaf into a crispy chip by separating leaves on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and cook at 350° for about 10 minutes.
Make plain popcorn exciting again. Spritz it with a butter substitute spray, and then dress it up with your favorite spices. Parmesan cheese and dill, cinnamon and sugar, garlic and onion salt? Whatever your desire, it’s easy to give this fiber-rich snack a healthy kick.
4. Turkey Wrap
Take 3 thin slices of turkey, sliced apple, lettuce, 2 teaspoons honey, and pile that onto a healthy wrap. Try coconut wraps for fewer calories.
5. Baked Apple
Remove apple core and fill with nuts, craisins, raisins, some brown sugar, and cinnamon. Bake in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, covered.
6. Chocolate-Drizzled Fruit
Slice bananas, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, or any fruit you love with drizzled chocolate, and it will brighten your day. Stay away from dipped fruits loaded with chocolate and calories and drizzle it with Hershey’s syrup instead.
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit
Like the treat above, except the chocolate comes from a fat-free pudding cup that can be paired with any of your favorite fruits.
8. Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Select low-calorie, thin bread slices or a gluten-free bread if needed. Slice cherry tomatoes and place them on top. Dot with flavorful goat cheese and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. You can even drizzle with balsamic vinegar for a bigger kick.
9. Cheese and Apples
Gouda with honey crisp apple slices is a tasty treat that’s easy to put together and gives you a nice balance of sweet and savory.
10. Baked Seasoned Nuts
Take your favorite nuts and douse them with 1.5 teaspoons olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Make sure you fully cover the nuts with this mixture and then lay them out on a baking sheet to bake at 325° F for about 10 minutes.
Quick and packed with nutrients, this treat is easy to make. You can find them frozen in most supermarkets. Just microwave, boil or steam them until they’re warm, sprinkle with salt (or not), and you’ve got a healthy treat.
12. Overnight Quick Oats
Mix 1/4 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds, and your favorite fruits in a canning jar and leave in the refrigerator overnight. By morning you have a sweet treat that’s filling and satisfying.
13. Ginger Coleslaw
Make a twist on regular coleslaw by switching out mayonnaise with a low-calorie ginger dressing.
14. Whole Grain Cookies
Mash two bananas together with one cup of uncooked quick oats and fold in 1/4 cup crushed walnuts. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350° oven.
15. Chia Pudding
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Place 2.5 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk in a jar, add 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix, cover, and refrigerate for at least four hours to create a pudding.
16. Tempeh and Avocado
Take advantage of the healthy fats in an avocado by pairing it with the protein and probiotic support of tempeh.
17. Frozen Yogurt Berries
Take your favorite berries and dip them in yogurt, then pop them on a baking sheet and into the freezer. After an hour, they’ll be frozen and a quick, cool treat with antioxidant flair.
18. Pumpkin Spice Yogurt
Mix 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, sweeten with honey, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
19. Watermelon Fruit Cup
Toss watermelon cubes with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons chopped, unsalted, roasted pistachios.
20. Fruit Tacos
Fill a small corn tortilla with strawberries, edamame, avocado, and cilantro, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
21. Banana Slices With Nutella and Raspberries
Slice a banana and top each slice with just a touch of Nutella and one raspberry. It’s a great little treat as is, or you can throw all the ingredients together in a blender to make a smoothie.
22. Hummus and Pepper
Skip the carbs and scoop up your favorite hummus with a mini pepper instead. Just don’t go too heavy on the hummus.
23. Dried Fruit
Whether you buy it or get a dehydrator and make your own, this sweet treat fills you with fiber, not sugar.
24. Beef Jerky
This protein-rich snack can pack a powerful sodium punch, so look for the low salt variety. And then enjoy the midday pick-me-up.
25. Dark Chocolate
There are days when nothing but chocolate will do, and on those days, enjoy dark chocolate instead. Yes, dark chocolate is bitter and takes some getting used to, but it’s worth it for the antioxidant support it offers.
26. Crispy Chickpeas
Toss chickpeas with olive oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 425° oven for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add your favorite seasonings and snack away.
27. Banana Ice Cream
Frozen bananas provide the base for this treat. To make the base, throw 2 to 3 frozen bananas into a blender and blend until you get the desired texture. Then boost the appeal by adding fruits and seasonings to create something new and exciting.
It’s easy to fall into the trap where you can’t think of anything to make because you’re too hungry and didn’t preplan. Plus grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar is just so convenient.
With some forethought and planning, making healthy snacks to have on hand is a snap. And, the best news — once you get into the habit of doing this, it’ll be second nature, and you’ll forget all about the chips and candy bars and feel healthy and happy all day.