As I’ve been talking with clients about their daily lives and ways to improve health, I’ve found that many people just need some easy ideas for healthy snacks that can be eaten any day of the week or prepped ahead of time. First, many clients wonder if it’s OK to even eat snacks during the day. Perhaps long ago, someone told them that snacking was a “no-no” for those who want to be healthy or maintain weight. I’m here to tell you, this simply isn’t true. Snacks can be an excellent tool for overall health, increased energy, blood sugar maintenance and the practice of intuitive eating. If we listen to our hunger signals and satisfy them when they come along, even if that’s between meals, we’re less likely to binge on the next meal because we’re absolutely starving for it. Looking for a more personalized snack plan? Book a nutrition assessment here, and use the code FRIENDS for 40% off your first session.
What do you want in a healthy snack? The basics are fairly simple – try to get a little protein in there, so it satisfies hunger for a longer period of time. Try to get a fruit or veggie in there if possible, because we can all use a few more servings per day! Bonus points if you can include some healthy fats, as this will also keep you full longer and keep you from spiking blood sugar. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and B vitamins that are nice to include. Try to get no more than about 10 grams of added sugar in most snacks, though if you want to indulge in a cookie or pastry, go for it! It’s better to satisfy that sweet tooth than deprive yourself for so long, you end up craving sweets even more or overeating.
One big aspect of healthy snacking is planning ahead, so you don’t just grab anything that is in front of you whether it is satisfying and nourishing or not, so here are some easy peasy and tasty snacks for you to stay fueled and satisfied all day long:
- Nuts – I can’t tell you how much I love nuts. A recent study even showed they’re less calorie dense than once thought, and they are filled with healthy fats, vitamin E and fiber! Try a variety to get the most nutrition from cashews to pistachios to peanuts to Brazil nuts (high in selenium). Here’s a recipe to roast them with spices and make them even more delicious!
- Popcorn – popcorn gets a bad wrap, because it’s served in movie theaters covered in artificial butter, but did you know that it’s actually a whole grain? You can easily make your own at home and drizzle it with olive oil, sea salt, spices like curry powder or paprika and even grate some Parmesan cheese over it if you like.
- Whole grain crackers with cheese or hummus – check labels to be sure your crackers are made of whole grains or veggies or nuts and seeds (as is becoming more popular now) and slather them in hummus or dip or slice up a little cheese to add flavor and protein.
- Cut up veggies with hummus or dip – Something about cutting up your favorite crispy veggies ahead of time, whether that is carrots and celery or radish, cucumber, tomatoes or something else, makes them far easier to just pop them in your mouth when you need ‘em!
- Bean dips or roasted chickpeas – getting your daily legumes in a snack is a great strategy for nutrition success! Try making a black bean and cilantro dip or roasting chickpeas with spices.
- Plain Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, granola or other toppings of your choice – Make your own parfait. Greek yogurt is super high in protein and delicious! You can also make this savory with olive oil, spices and veggies.
- Hard boiled eggs – These can really help if you’re hungry and need a boost for the day. They are packed with omega 6 fatty acids, protein, and choline!
- Tuna or other sustainable packaged fish – If you need a serious chunk of protein and omega 3’s this is your answer. More and more companies are coming up with sustainable options in BPA free packaging.
- Roasted veggies – It’s so easy to drizzle olive oil on veggies and throw them in the oven (usually at 375 or 400 degrees for more hearty veggies), then have them on hand to eat with crackers, whole grain bread or just on their own.
- Fruit+ – Having a piece of fresh seasonal fresh fruit can be very gratifying on its own. Add in some plain yogurt or nut butter for a burst of protein.
Have other ideas? Share them in the comments below or message me on social media. I’m always open to ideas and would love to hear yours!