In the past, snacks have had a bad reputation. It's not entirely undeserved since eating tons of candies or chips is definitely not the right nutritional decision. But then, new studies have shown that snacking can be very beneficial, provided you choose the right healthy snacks. It could even be as important as eating breakfast (which is very important, by the way).
The reason snacking is seeing a renaissance is because of research showing that ‘grazing,' or eating smaller meals throughout the day, can help people maintain a healthy weight and keep metabolisms ticking over. If we eat small amounts throughout the day rather than wait for mealtimes, we're less likely to become too hungry and consume massive amounts of calories just to feel satisfied.
Read on for some great healthy snacks!
Healthy Snacks 1: Fries (not the fried kind)
French fries might not be the first thing you think of when you think of the word ‘healthy,' but a few swaps can make them just that.
Switch standard potatoes for Vitamin A-packed sweet varieties, and bake instead of frying. Season with paprika, salt, and a little chili if you're feeling spicy.
Healthy Snacks 2: Crispy Kale
Ubiquitous in the language of healthy snacking, kale is jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K. Drizzle with olive oil (not too much), and bake for an easy-to-make, delicious, and healthy snack.
Healthy Snacks 3: Popcorn
Far healthier than potato chips, popcorn is super versatile, too. An excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, popcorn can be topped with pretty much whatever you fancy.
Just steer clear of too much sugar, salt, oil, or cheese, or you risk undoing your good work.
Healthy Snacks 4: Nuts
The ideal snack food, nuts have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and are thought to prevent depression, some cancers, and other diseases.
High in ‘good' fat and full of fiber, protein, and other vitamins, nuts are very filling, and when eaten in moderation, they can be a great tool for weight loss. Just don't choose chocolate-covered varieties, and try to eat them raw when you can as this preserves their nutritional content better.
They're also really easy to transport, so they're ideal to be brought wherever.
Healthy Snacks 5: Apple slices and peanut butter
A classic combo, apple slices, and peanut butter combine to make a high-fiber, antioxidant-rich snack. Despite being high in fat, peanut butter reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
That doesn’t mean you can eat the whole jar – a tablespoon or so for an apple should be more than enough.
Healthy Snacks 6: Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is full of flavonols, which can reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease, so if you're craving for a chocolate fix, put the milk chocolate away and reach for a few squares of this instead.
Add a few almonds for protein. They're also rich in monounsaturated ‘good' fat and fiber.
Healthy Snacks 7: Berries
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, reach for berries instead of chocolate or cookies. Berries are a unique source of antioxidants. If you mix them up rather than eating just one kind, you'll get even more antioxidant goodness.
Add plain, full-fat Greek yogurt for a protein hit to keep you feeling full.