Are you a snacker? I’m sure many of you are! It wouldn’t surprise me if you find yourself making your way to the vending machines at work or munching on a late night snack long after you’ve already eaten dinner. There is nothing wrong with snacking, many trainers actually recommend it. Healthy snacks are the key to any health and wellness plan! Remember kindergarten? You would get fed breakfast before school, mid morning snack, then lunch, then after school snack and dinner! Wasn’t life grand? When trying to control your weight, eat proper portions and make better food choices, healthy snacks are essential.
People tend to believe that eating less is better. Quite to the contrary! Eating constantly throughout the day ensures your metabolism continues to function, and prevents extreme hunger at meal times. Extreme hunger at meal times can be dangerous to your healthy eating plan for several reasons. First, when a person is very hungry, they tend to lose their rationality and are less capable of making proper food choices; second, when a person experiences hunger their portion sizes at meal times tend to be larger to satiate that hunger; finally, hunger sends the body signals that there is potential starvation/famine along the way and the body tends to store fat. It is for these reasons that healthy snacking is actually good for you!
Almost any clean fresh food qualifies as a healthy snack- it all depends on what you like to eat! One of the biggest obstacles I find that clients face when revamping their diet is they really don’t know what healthy foods they even like. I typically suggest a person write a list of their top five favorite fruits and veggies, and then start creating meal and snack ideas from this list. Keep in mind, a snack is NOT a meal and therefore it must be lower in calories, but it should be substantial enough to hold off extreme hunger until your next meal.
The following is a list of twenty of my favorite healthy snack ideas! Keep in mind this list is not exclusive and can be added to or modified depending on your personal preferences.
Top 20 Healthy Snack Ideas:
1. Fat Free Greek Yogurt with granola or fresh fruit
2. Protein shake – with or without fresh fruit
3. Handful of nuts and fresh fruit
4. Unsweetened/unsalted trail mix
5. Sautéed spinach rolled in a Pita
6. Quartered cucumber with feta rolled up in whole wheat
7. Cottage cheese- with or without fresh fruit
8. Fresh raw veggies and hummus
9. Apple with 2 tablespoons nut butters like Peanut or Almond
10. Cup of soup
11. Left over portion from lunch or dinner
12. Turkey & Swiss roll ups (Sliced Honey Maple Turkey Breast rolled up with Swiss Cheese and wrapped in a full Romaine lettuce leaf
13. Whole grain pretzels
14. Cappachino or Latte with skim milk
15. Air popped popcorn
16. Low fat cheese and whole grain crackers
18. Rice cakes with sliced banana and a tea spoon of honey
19. Frozen fresh fruit
20. KIND nut bars