My top 15 healthy (and tasty) snacks to fuel your day
Choosing healthy snacks is key to staying fueled throughout the day and keeping our energy level up between meals
Yes, it's time to wave goodbye to hanger (adios!).
However, I often see people giving up their snacks as a way to cut calories and lose weight.
Sometimes it works, but other times it leads to restriction, being hangry, binge eating, and slowing the metabolism over time.
[Sidenote: the more I look at the word "snack" the more it looks super odd]
By learning how to fuel our body throughout the day, we're able to keep our blood sugar levels steady (no crashes) which plays a big role in energy, mood, and self-control!
Do you ever notice that your low-energy days happen when you skip a meal, have a bag of chips for a snack, or hit up the candy jar at work?
In this post I share what goes into healthy snacks, the importance of snacking mindfully, and my top 15 healthy snacks for all times of the day!
OK, so what really is a "healthy" snack?
I quote "healthy" because it is one of those words thrown around a lot. Everyone has their own idea of healthy. The truth is, your should also define what healthy means for you! What do you believe is good fuel for your body?
In my opinion, there are just a few key components that make a "healthy" snack (ok, I'm done with the quotes).
Simplicity - The fewer ingredients and less time to prepare, the better!
Wholesome ingredients - Choose ingredients that are wholesome, nutrient dense, and unprocessed (or minimally processed). Wholesome foods provide the highest amount of nutrients that will fuel you.
Easy to prepare - A good snack can be prepped ahead so you're prepared when hunger strikes. It usually doesn't require cooking, utensils, or other fancy items.
Satisfying combinations - Protein and fat are known to be the real winners for giving us a greater sense of fullness. Carbs are good too, but choosing simple carbohydrates (like crackers, chips, or even fruit) without pairing with a protein digests too quickly and doesn't provide long-lasting energy.
For the most part, you can keep your snacks super simple. That's the beauty of it!
Learning to be mindful in general is a good life practice for self-control and awareness.
Snacking mindfully means to pick up on actual hunger and fullness cues. This means knowing the difference between being hungry and having a craving for something.
I won't lie, it's easier said than done. This is a skill developed over time that comes from tuning in to your body while eating.
To be a more mindful eater/snacker, start to pay attention to your hunger signs.
Learn how your body tells you it's hungry. For me personally, I can feel a drop in energy and "brain speed" from the drop in my blood sugar. Soon after, I get irritable (hello hangry monster).
Another aspect of snacking mindfully is to be aware of when you're full.
Try to eat without technology in front of you, taste your food, and eat slowly. Eating slowly allows your brain to gather information from your stomach and tell you that you're satisfied!
These options have a great combination of nutrients from fat, carbohydrates, and protein. This ensures you'll have a steady supply of energy between breakfast and lunch.
1. Plain Greek Yogurt and Fruit
The protein in the yogurt and carbs in the fruit make this a winning combo. Always check the ingredient label on the yogurt to make sure there is little to no added sugar! Companies like to be sneaky.
2. Apple and cheese stick
Again, pairing those carbs and protein allow for slow and steady digestion, which keeps you fuller longer than if you ate an apple by yourself.
3. Protein or granola bar
MmMm, this is a go-to option for me! Look for bars with simple ingredients. My favorites are RxBar's, Luna Bar, Lara Bar, Quest Bar, and Clean Bar. You can even be daring and try to make your own.
4. Hard boiled egg and slice of whole wheat toast
A simple, yet effective healthy snack. You can easily prep hard boiled eggs at the beginning of the week and throw a couple in your lunch to pair with fruit or a slice of toast.
5. Banana and nut butter
A classic I couldn't leave out. Who doesn't love a banana and peanut butter, or almond butter... or any kind of butter!
Instead of grabbing for your afternoon coffee for energy, try fueling with one of these snacks between lunch and dinner. These can be especially handy if you know you won't be having dinner until later in the evening.
1. Raw vegetables and hummus
A little crunch with a dip, yes please! Hummus is very satisfying since it's packed with tons of healthy fat.
2. Celery and peanut butter
Never too old for this one. Hey, why don't you just add some raisins and make it "ants on a log?"
3. Trail mix
The kind loaded with nuts and seeds and a little dried fruit. The M&M mix can get you in trouble ;) I've even built my own trail mix by buying all the ingredients separate and mixing together.
4. Roasted chickpeas
This is my personal favorite on this list! Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add in your rinsed chickpeas, along with some spices (I love cumin and cayenne pepper). Cook on medium heat until slightly crunchy on the outside.
5. Triscuits and avocado
Get yourself a box of plain old Triscuits (the ones that have like 4 ingredients) and top with avocado. YUM!
Late night snacks
There's no rule against late night snacking... unless you're getting out of control with it. This is a time of day where our tiredness tends to get the best of us and can make us think we're hungry. Be mindful and, if you're truly hungry, eat!
1. Cottage cheese with peaches
This is a nice, light combo! Simple cottage cheese with a little burst of flavor from the peaches.
Personal favorite! For the longest time I always claimed popcorn as my favorite food, until I was called out that was actually just a snack... ;)
3. Whole grain toast with avocado
A little crunchy and creamy combo is great before bed. Slow digesting carbs and healthy fats make it satisfying without all the added sugar.
For times when you can't tell if you're ACTUALLY hungry, start with tea. Sometimes a little something to spark the taste buds is just what we need.
5. Mini lettuce and turkey wrap
Simply wrap some deli turkey (the fresh kind) in romaine lettuce. Add cheese if you want! A light, healthy bedtime snack that's packed with protein.
Snacking can be a really good thing, if you do it right! Plan your healthy snacks ahead of time, so you're ready for busy days or late nights.
What did I miss? Would you add anything to this list? Share in the comments below!
Keep moving XX,
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