Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Choosing Healthy Snacks (+36 Snack Ideas)

In the age of drive through restaurants, coffee shops, donut bakeries and ice cream parlors, it is tough to choose healthy snacks when convenience often outweighs common sense.  I can't lie - I often catch myself reaching for the corn chips and cheese dip when I'm looking for something to munch on.  The struggle is real!

Keeping a supply of healthy, grab 'n go snacks is key to setting yourself up for success when it comes to eating healthy.  Below, I am going to share some of my go-to foods I reach for when I'm feeling hungry.

When you want something crunchy...
  • Choose some broccoli and cauliflower florets and serve with hummus or light salad dressing.  They are super crunchy and will fill you up quicker than potato chips.
  • Get your favorite pretzels and whip up a mustard dipping sauce.  My favorite is found here
  • Snack on crackers and cheese.  Grab a few whole wheat crackers and a couple pieces of cheddar or swiss cheese (stay away from the processed stuff) and enjoy!
  • You can do some chips and dip.  Pick up some tortilla chips (just watch the salt) and your favorite salsa.  Check the labels and have one serving size.
  • Toast up a freezer waffle and spread on some crunchy nut butter.
  • Dole out a small portion of cereal (no sweet stuff) like multi-grain Cheerios and enjoy with just a splash of milk.
When you want something sweet...
  • Slice up an apple and serve with some peanut butter.
  • Pick up some Fig Newtons.  These "cookies" are now made with whole wheat and have real fruit in them and they are sure to satisfy a sweet tooth.
  • Enjoy a few pieces of dark chocolate.  My favorites are the Dove Promises.
  • Toast up some nuts and add cinnamon instead of salt.
When you want something quick...
  • Grab a piece of fruit.  Keep apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, nectarines, pears and plums washed and in a bowl on your kitchen counter or in your fridge.
  • Munch on veggies.  Keep washed and sliced veggies (carrots, celery, peppers) portioned out in baggies in your fridge.  Portion out hummus or light ranch in containers or buy single-serve options from the store.
  • Nosh on homemade trail mix.  Combine your favorite dried fruit, nuts and seeds (unsalted) to make homemade trail mix and portion out ahead of time.  Keep these portions in a basket in your pantry.
  • Eat an egg.  Hard-boil some eggs ahead of time and keep them in your fridge.  Don't forget to mark the shells of the cooked eggs so you don't grab a raw one when you're in a rush.
  • Take advantage of individual portions.  Next time you shop, grab some yogurt cups or pouches and cups of applesauce or fruit (no added sugar).  They are great serving sizes and you can prep them by taping a plastic spoon to the top of each before stacking them in a bin in the fridge.
  • Take a granola or protein bar.  These bars are so easy to grab and go and they come in so many flavors.  My favorites brands are from Luna and Clif.
  • Grab some yogurt, mix in some berries and sprinkle on some granola.
  • Whip up a chocolate flavored protein shake.

When you want something salty...

  • Get a (small) handful of nuts.  Just keep an eye on how much salt or get them un-salted.
  • Air pop some popcorn (skip the butter) and add some shredded Parmesan.  I promise it will taste amazing and your fingers won't turn orange with fake cheese flavoring.
  • Snack on pickles.  They are naturally low in calories and fat.  Just look for the low-sodium kind.
  • Grab a handful of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
  • Bake some sweet potato fries and serve with sesame-soy dipping sauce.
  • Roast some chickpeas.  Need I say more?  My favorite recipe is found here.

When you want something to fill you up...

  • Stuff half a pita with tuna, sliced cucumber and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  • Pick up some mini bagels and toast one up with some light cream cheese and sliced turkey.
  • Wrap a cheese stick in sliced turkey or ham.  Dip it in mustard or eat it plain.
  • Eat pizza.  Toast a whole wheat English muffin with a little tomato sauce, some Parmesan and your favorite veggies.  Ta da!  (and no waiting for delivery)
  • Smear a rice cake with a little cream cheese and top with sliced veggies and chopped chicken.
  • Enjoy half of a tuna salad sandwich made on whole grain bread and greek yogurt.
When you want something refreshing...
  • Keep baggies of grapes in your freezer.  They will be ice cold and will taste delicious!
  • Whip up a fruit smoothie - it's a great alternative to a milkshake.
  • Cut up some melon and enjoy!
  • Make homemade popsicles with berries and coconut water.
  • Enjoy a scoop of rainbow sherbet.   
  • Make a granita.  Pour your favorite fruit juice in a pan and pop it in the freezer.  Every hour, take a fork and scrape the contents to form little ice crystals.  It should look like a snowcone when it's ready.
Those are my tips on how to choose healthy snacks along with some great recipes to try.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?  What do you do to keep yourself from going for the junk food?  When you snack, do you find yourself looking for something sweet or salty?

The post Tone Up Tuesday - Choosing Healthy Snacks (+36 Snack Ideas) first appeared on A Simpler Grace.  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

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