17 Healthy Snack Ideas That Will Curb Every Craving | appencode.com

17 Healthy Snack Ideas That Will Curb Every Craving

Mmm… snacks. Who doesn’t love a tasty little nosh in the middle of the day — or even at night? Believe it or not, though snacks may have an aura of being mere “extra” calories (as in mom’s admonition not to spoil your dinner), they can actually be a part of solid daily nutrition.

“Snacks between meals help you keep your energy levels up when they start to lag,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Everyday Snack Tray. “They are especially helpful in the mid- to late afternoon when many of us hit a wall.” Whether you’re feeling the lull of the afternoon slump, fueling a tough workout, or getting peckish a few hours after dinner, snacks will see you through.

How to Choose Healthy Snacks

As often as possible, seek out snacks based around nutrient-dense foods. Largeman-Roth says these include fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains. And if you can’t always choose something totally unprocessed at snacktime, that’s OK. Largeman-Roth says a certain level of processing is inevitable. (Almost all foods go through some processing before they reach our home kitchens.)

When you opt for something processed, just be sure to look at its nutrition label. A lengthy ingredient list of stuff you’ve never heard of can be a red flag of an ultra-processed food — the kind associated with health probs like obesity and cardiovascular disease. Largeman-Roth encourages looking for snacks that contain at least 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Plus, no more than 12 grams of added sugar. If you’re hankering for a salty snack, try to keep the sodium content to 200 milligrams or less.

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Healthy Snack Ideas

Ready, set, snack! We’ve got you covered for anytime nibbling with 17 healthy snack ideas (all of which align with Largeman-Roth’s suggested parameters). The best part? None of them require cooking — or even a recipe.  

1. Olives, Hummus, and Whole Wheat Crackers 

Sure, you could reach for plain old crackers and hummus — but why not amp up the interest level with the briny flavor of olives? They’ll also add some extra healthy fats and vitamin E.

2. Sweet Potato with Cheddar and Guacamole

Bright colors (natural ones, that is) are an indicator of nutrients in foods. The bold orange of sweet potato and avocado green of guacamole tell you that both these foods are rich in antioxidants. If you’ve got an extra sweet potato leftover from dinner, melt on a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, then dot with guacamole.

3. Mejool Dates Stuffed with Peanut Butter

Never tried a PB-stuffed Medjool date? You’re missing out on dessert’s best-kept high-protein, naturally sweetened secret. Smear some natural peanut butter into the fruits, then bite into snack bliss.

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4. Bean Chip Nachos

Extend the Taco Tuesday fiesta to snacktime with a healthified version of nachos. By choosing chips made with beans, you can elevate your fiber and protein intake (to the tune of 4 grams each per serving in Beanitos’ Black Bean Sea Salt Tortilla Chips, for example). Melt a bit of Monterey Jack onto these crispy babies, then dip in fresh salsa to get a serving of produce while you’re at it.

5. Raw Veggies and Ranch Cup With Turkey Coldcuts

We’ll grant that veggies and dip isn’t the most innovative healthy snack idea, but plop a dollop of ranch at the bottom of a plastic cup, fill it with sliced veggies, and you’ve got a bite that goes anywhere. Lighthouse Farms’ squeezable bottled Homestyle Ranch makes the process even easier. Bump up the protein with a few slices of deli turkey.

6. Turkey or Salmon Jerky with Bell Pepper Strips

There’s no quicker route to protein than a bag of jerky. If you’re feeling bored of the usual meaty varieties, try salmon jerky like this version from Seabear Smokehouse. Pair them with crunchy bell pepper strips to round out your snack’s nutrition profile. 

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7. Strawberry Caprese Bites

Grab a few mozzarella balls, strawberries, and basil leaves, and you’ve got the makings of an elegant, healthy snack that’s sweet and salty — ideal for the times you just can’t choose. (Bonus points for presentation if you thread them all on a toothpick or skewer.)

8. Apple “Bagels” with Almond Butter and Mini Chocolate Chips

Slicing apples horizontally instead of vertically creates flat, round pieces you can think of as fruity “bagels.” They’re perfect for topping with a bit of creamy almond butter and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips. Create an apple “flight” with multiple apple varieties (like Granny Smith, Fujis, and Envies) to see which one is your fave.

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9. DIY Trail Mix

Make your own custom trail mix by selecting your favorite mélange of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. The nuts and seeds provide protein and fiber, while fruits round out the flavor profile with a hint of sweetness (and some fiber of their own).

10. Fruit and Cottage Cheese

Forget its 1980s diet food reputation — cottage cheese is a protein power player that can keep you full between meals. Enjoy it with fruit of your choice, like melon chunks or strawberries.

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11. Cheese Crisps and Nuts

The phrase “dried cheese” might give you pause, but hear us out. Whisps’ dehydrated cheese crisps provide all the calcium and protein of regular cheese without the need for refrigeration. And when you combine them with nuts, like in their Garlic Herb Cheese and Nut Mix, you get a high-protein, savory snack you can take anywhere.

12. Tuna Salad on a Slice of Whole Wheat

Tuna pouches like the albacore single-serve ones from Wild Planet make the simple goodness of an open faced tuna sammie a snap. Each 3-ounce pouch provides 21 grams of protein and the bread supplies a bit of satiating fiber.

13. Dried Fruit Bars and Peanut Butter

Fresh fruit is always a great snack, but it doesn’t keep indefinitely in a gym bag or purse. For the same punch of nutrients in a portable package, try dried fruit bars like That’s It. Their probiotic mango and blueberry bars contain active cultures to promote a healthy gut (plus 5 grams of fiber, to boot). Top with a layer of peanut butter for an even more filling snack.

14. Bowl of Granola with Milk

It’s not just for breakfast! A bowl of granola with milk works just about any time. Nature’s Path Peanut Butter Granola is a smart option for its 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving. Pour on some cow’s milk or soy milk to take the protein content even further.

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15. Steamed Edamame

Call ‘em soybeans, edamame, or green beans, these little soy nuggets are just the thing when you want a single food snack with excellent nutrition. One cup of steamed edamame contains 8 grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein, 0 added sugars, and just 188 calories.

16. Hard-Boiled Eggs and Buckwheat Crackers

If you’re gluten-free, you may have already discovered buckwheat, the gluten-free grain that provides plenty of fiber and protein. But if you haven’t, check out Better With Buckwheat’s array of tasty cracker varieties. A hard-boiled egg or two goes well with any of the flavors.

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17. A Handful of Pistachios

Pistachios’ unique claim to fame (besides their pretty green color): they’re one of only a few plant foods that provide complete protein. This is the kind that contains all the essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. In a 1-ounce (49-nut) serving of pistachios, you’ll get as much protein as in an egg, plus 3 grams of fiber. Check out Wonderful Pistachios’ creative flavor options that make this snack even more fun to crunch.

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