When the all-too-familiar hunger pangs hit you, reach for healthy snacks instead of convenience food, potato chips, fast food, or sweets.
Why? You may ask.
When you eat junk foods, especially those high in added sugar, your body will enjoy an initial satisfied feeling. However, that fullness will not last as long as it would with these healthy snack options.
This article will provide you with eight ideas for healthy snacks that will satisfy both your appetite and your body’s need for good nutrition.
Eight Healthy Snacks You Should Keep on Hand.
For a snack, choose fresh vegetables. You can also choose dark chocolate in moderation. Try pumpkin seeds or pretzels. These snacks will satisfy your sweet tooth and provide fiber and protein. These tasty, satisfying treats are the perfect size to enjoy on the go.
We will discuss each of these in greater detail below.
1 – Snack on fresh vegetables
Snack on fresh vegetables in the morning or after lunch to give you a healthy energy boost. You can also prepare these snacks ahead of time and store them in your fridge. Snacking on fresh vegetables helps break up the monotony of a hectic schedule and can give you the energy you need to finish your day. The type of snack you eat can also have a significant impact on your mood. A snack that contains a lot of sugar may make you feel lethargic and tired, while a healthy snack will give you a feeling of satisfaction.
Many people reach for unhealthy snacks when they are hungry. Unfortunately, this can result in the classic three o’clock slump. Snack on fresh vegetables, instead, to keep your energy up and your cravings under control. These tasty, low-calorie snacks can be as creative as your imagination. For example, you can make a small veggie wrap stuffed with vegetables and your favorite cheese. Then, you can dip them in low-fat yogurt sauce and enjoy them.
Here are a few veggies that you’ll find easy to prep but also “keep” well, without wilting, until you are ready to eat:
- Bell peppers
- Banana peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
2 – Snack on dark chocolate in moderation
Dark chocolate is a great snack choice because of its health benefits. It contains calories and fat, but if consumed in moderation, it can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. It also helps to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt. Dark chocolate is best eaten after meals because it gives you a feeling of satiety, which will help you curb your overeating.
The American Heart Association agrees! They state that dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which help to maintain heart health. These compounds relax blood vessels and help lower blood pressure. However, many of these studies are observational, and results may be skewed if participants underreport their intake of chocolate. Nevertheless, a meta-analysis published in Nutrients noted that it was possible to reap the benefits of dark chocolate by eating it in moderation.
Dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate and more antioxidants and minerals. These antioxidants may reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Like any other sweet treat, dark chocolate is best eaten in moderation to minimize the risk of health complications. Dark chocolate is also an excellent way to satisfy your craving for a sweet treat without adding too much fat or sugar. You can even choose a bar of vegan chocolate for extra health points.
3 – Snack on pumpkin seeds
Snacking on pumpkin seeds is one of the best ways to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and magnesium. They can also help lower your blood pressure and promote a healthy heart. These seeds are also a great source of protein and fiber, which can help you stay fuller longer, so you’ll avoid the temptation to snack between meals.
Pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K. However, they can cause allergic reactions, especially on the skin. People with these allergies may experience hives, itchiness, and even breathing problems. If you are taking any prescription medicines, talk to your doctor before you start snacking on pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are also high in fiber, which is good for digestion. Be sure to avoid over-eating as too much of it may increase your risk of weight gain.
When eating pumpkin seeds, you can add them to salads, soups, muffins, and crackers. They’re also great substitutes for pine nuts in pesto. You can also use them to top warm oatmeal. You can blend them into seed butter if you don’t want to eat them raw. This type of seed butter has a similar flavor to sunflower seed butter. You can also use them as part of a trail mix.
4 – Snack on pretzels
If you’re looking for a healthy snack that’s also tasty, pretzels are an excellent choice. They come in both traditional twisted shapes and flatter crisps and are made with whole grains and unrefined flour. They also provide heart-healthy fiber.
A serving of pretzels contains about six percent of your daily recommended iron intake. This mineral is necessary for producing hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen from the lungs to the cells. People who are iron deficient may suffer from anemia. This condition affects children, pregnant women, and people with periods.
Stacking pretzels into little towers is a simple and tasty way to eat healthy snacks. These snacks are packed with protein and fiber and only 80 calories per serving. This calorie count makes them waistline-friendly. Just stack pretzels with banana slices and mini dark chocolate chips to add even more nutrition to your snack.
Although pretzels may contain a high level of sugar and sodium, they can be a healthy snack if consumed in moderation. If you’re going to eat them as a snack, you can keep them to a minimum by saving half or dividing them up among two people. Traditional pretzels contain large grains of salt, which adds crunch and flavor to the soft, chewy snack. If you’re looking for a snack that’s both satisfying and healthy, consider eating whole-grain pretzels.
5 – Snack on cut-up fruit
Some people are more likely to eat fruit if they keep it washed, sliced, and ready to go. So a little preparation could mean the difference between grabbing a healthy snack or junk food.
Fresh fruit is always a good snack, but fruit snacks don’t have to be boring. With a bit of creativity, you can create a healthy snack that is tasty and stimulating. Break out of the apple or banana mentality, and you’ll find many fruit snacks that are exciting to eat. Fruits like bananas, berries, and mango are excellent choices for a snack, and you can even try threading them.
You can also try cantaloupe soup, including yogurt, honey, mint, and more. This refreshing fruit soup is perfect for snacking in between meals. The healthy ingredients in this soup will satisfy your cravings and make you feel satisfied. A small bowl of this soup makes a delicious, satisfying snack.
Here are some readily available fruits to wash and pre-pack for an afternoon healthy snack:
- Grapes (although they admittedly don’t need cut-up, they are so easy to wash and go!)
- Bananas (keep them in the peel and carry it with you)
Place them in a tightly-capped container, and they will rarely “turn” on you before you are ready to enjoy them.
6 – Snack on sugar-free applesauce
Apples contain many health benefits and can be a great healthy snack. Apples contain a lot of fiber, mainly in the peel. The pectin in apples also helps eliminate waste from the body. Eating fruit regularly is one of the best ways to get adequate nutrition.
Apples are a delicious and healthy snack rich in natural fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. You can find sugar-free applesauce made from organic apples. Choosing organic apples will help protect you from harmful pesticides. You can also use applesauce as a natural sweetener in baked goods.
One applesauce serving contains the same fiber as an apple, which helps lower cholesterol levels. It also contains polyphenols, which help lower blood pressure. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. Applesauce is high in fiber, too, which helps treat digestive problems.
7 – Snack on hummus
A garbanzo bean-based dip or spread, hummus can be a delicious way to get a dose of nutrients and fiber. It’s also a great way to reduce saturated fats and improve cardiovascular health. Pair hummus with raw vegetables, such as cucumber or apple slices, and you’ll have a snack that is high in fiber and vitamin C.
Hummus can also be served on sliced toast. You can season the toast to taste and dip raw vegetables into the dip for a wholesome snack. To make this snack healthier, drizzle a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil to the hummus atop the toast. Hummus is also great as a dip for fruits.
Another healthy snack made of hummus is hummus flatbread. You can cut the flatbread into twelve pieces for a highly satisfactory snack–or even a light lunch.
8 – Snack on fat-free cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a versatile snack that is loaded with protein. It is also an excellent meal prep ingredient–it is a versatile ingredient. You can easily customize the flavor and add fruit depending on your tastes. For example, you can mix a half cup of blueberries with cottage cheese. Another option is to top the cottage cheese with almonds. Cottage cheese is also an excellent option for a healthy after-school snack.
Cottage cheese goes very well with fruits and vegetables for a nourishing snack. Try it with pineapple, berries, or peaches, or you can add peanut butter. You can even add a little cinnamon to give it a tasty kick. However, you should be careful about the brand of peanut butter you buy since many of them contain added sugars and oils. Fruit and cottage cheese are an excellent combination because both have protein and fiber. Celery sticks dipped in cream cheese are another classic, low-carb snack.
Cottage cheese has three components: lactose, casein, and whey. Some people are lactose-intolerant or have a dairy allergy, so cottage cheese may cause digestive problems. So avoid cottage cheese if you cannot tolerate dairy products.
The Takeaway: You Can Enjoy Healthy Snacks Instead of Junk Food With Careful Planning
Most people grab junk food, fast food, or sugar and salty treats because they are easily accessible. However, you can break that habit and eat healthy snacks with some thoughtful preparation.
Does this mean you can never again eat a cupcake or munch on your favorite tortilla chips? Of course not! But as they say–all things are best when you enjoy them in moderation.
Healthy snacks will satisfy you and help you maintain a healthier life. Why not give them a try?
What’s your favorite healthy snack? Share with us on social media–we love to hear your input. Until the next time, have a happy DIY day!