Snacks are one of the main downfalls of weight loss plans. Mainly because the unhealthy snacks are easily accessible in vending machines, convenience stores and cafeterias, where as healthy snacks typically need to be brought from home. When leaving the house for the day, be snack smart. Plan not only your main meals, but also your snacks. Many dietitians say that healthy snacking between meals can help you avoid over indulging at meals and encourage overall weight loss. Below are 18 healthy snacks to curb your hunger cravings without ruining your diet.
Not only do apples keep the doctor away, but they also keep your waistline healthy. Apples are full of soluble fiber which keeps you feeling full longer. They also help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and falling, by slowly releasing the sugars they contain. Not to mention they are easy to toss into your bag to keep handy for easy snacking.
Often called Potassium Sticks, bananas are a great snack throughout the day and before or after a workout. They are low in fat and full of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, and, of course, Potassium. The creamy, sweet flavor is great for those craving a sweet snack without all the added sugars of a candy bar.
Fresh, frozen or in a small smoothie, berries are a great snack. Not only are they naturally sweet for those sugar cravings, but they are also low in fat and high in vitamins and antioxidants. Toss a few raspberries, blueberries and strawberries together for a delicious, snack that you’ll love.
Sometimes those cravings for a snack aren’t induced by hunger, but rather boredom or habit. A great way to avoid eating additional unneeded calories is to chew on some sugar-free gum. More often than not you’ll find you didn’t actually want something to eat but just something to chew
Fresh cut vegetables, aka crudités, are a healthy, filling snack. Baby carrots are always a popular choice because they require essentially no prep time, but don’t feel limited to that. Make snacking easy by washing and slicing several days worth of cucumbers, bell peppers, jicama, broccoli, etc. into snack sizes. You can enjoy them plain or with a low fat dressing, hummus or natural peanut butter.
Cheese gets a bad reputation as a fattening snack, but if you choose a cheese made from skim or 2% milk you lower fat content significantly without drastically reducing the protein that keeps you feeling full longer. Enjoy it on its own or one some whole wheat crackers.
Bread gets a bad reputation because most breads are highly processed and don’t provide much nutritional benefit. Breads that are good for your include whole wheat, whole grain, pumpernickel, and others that don’t use white flour. These good breads contain good levels of dietary fiber, are considered complex carbohydrates that keep your blood sugar levels stable, and provide you with important nutrients like Manganese and Selenium. Enjoy it plain, toasted, or topped with a little natural peanut butter.
Most people never consider buying dates, but they’re missing out. Dates are a great low-fat energy boosting snack. They are full of great nutrients and minerals like Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron as well as dietary fiber. Dates are full of natural sugars, which makes them a wonderful pick-me-up, but don’t over indulge. Extra bonus unlike candy, dates won’t get you lectures from your dentist because they actually help strengthen your enamel.
There is a reason that grapefruit is encouraged in many diets. It is filling, low in fat and cholesterol, and high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Potassium. Those who want a sweet grapefruit should look for ones from Texas or Florida.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Creamy, versatile and just plain tasty, plain Greek yogurt is a great go-to snack. You can mix in spices and make it into a dip for vegetables or whole wheat crackers. It goes great mixed with berries or a bit of honey. Or just enjoy the flavor alone. You want to choose a plain yogurt, so you can control the sugar content and avoid any unnecessary things like added color or artificial flavor.
Air popped popcorn, unlike movie theater popcorn, is very healthy and filling. Instead of drowning the kernels in butter and salt, try just sprinkling a non-salt seasoning mix on them or even a bit of chili and lime spices. Air popped popcorn is great for those who are habitual nibblers because the serving size is surprisingly large when it is butter free, allowing for longer munching.
Small baked potato
Baked potatoes are not inherently fattening, it all the sour cream, butter and cheese added that makes them fattening. A small baked potato can make an excellent healthy snack when topped with salsa or even spaghetti sauce. They are easy to make in a microwave or oven and keep you feeling full and satisfied long after you’ve finished.
Trail mix is relied upon by hikers to provide them with long lasting, healthy energy, and in everyday life if offered the same kind of benefits. Make your own mix at home by swinging by the bulk food section of your grocery store and getting some unsalted almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and some unsweetened dried fruit. Mix it all together and keep handy for snack time. You can even toast the nuts and seeds to bring out a richer flavor.
Just remember a snack is just a little nibble between meals, not an additional meal. Be mindful of portion size. Snacking tends to get a bad reputation for causing weight gain, but those that snack smart know first-hand how it can help support weight loss.