Snacking gets a bad reputation, thanks to processed, packaged foods that do little besides provide excess calories to our diets. The good news is that there are lots of healthy, cost-effective options that don’t take a ton of time or prep.
Fruit, whole grains, beans, and starchy veggies offer up complex carbs to help keep you energized, and protein from sources like eggs, nuts, dairy products, and meat offer satisfying protein to keep you full for longer. This winning combination will keep you on your game.
Here are 10 ideas to get you set with healthy snacking!
1. Homemade trail mix: Combine ¼ cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, or dry-roasted edamame with 2 tablespoons dried fruit and 1 teaspoon dark chocolate chips. You can easily make a big patch and portion out into single serving bags so you can grab and go.
2. Piece of fruit or ½ cup grapes and a piece of cheese. The complex carbs in the fruit pairs perfectly with the protein in the cheese. Added bonus: fruit and cheese feels super-fancy.
3. Piece of fruit and 1 tablespoon nut butter. This classic combo will keep you full for hours, thanks to the fiber in the fruit and heart-healthy fats in the nut butter. Think beyond apples and try sliced pear, stone fruit like peaches and plums, or your favorite berries. Bananas are a delicious, convenient option as well.
4. A hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit makes a handy breakfast or snack. If you’re watching your saturated fat intake, you can always toss the egg yolks.
5. 1 slice whole wheat toast with ¼ cup cottage cheese and cinnamon on top will give you slow-burning energy, thanks to the fiber in the toast and the 8 grams of protein in the cottage cheese. If you don’t want a ton of sodium, look for a no-salt added cottage cheese.
6. Roasted Chickpeas. Along with filling fiber and complex carbs, beans also provide some protein. Toss a ½ cup of chickpeas with your favorite spices and a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to prevent sticking. You can make this ahead of time and place into an airtight container once cooler to take with you on your day.
7. Mason Jar Hummus & Veggies: Place ¼ cup of your favorite hummus in the bottom of a small mason jar. Arrange sliced vegetables in the jar and seal.
8. Half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Adding lettuce and tomato adds a little water for a hydration boost. For a vegan option, try peanut butter with jelly or your favorite fruit like sliced apple, pear, banana, or berries.
9. A fruit-and-nut bar. Look for one with a short ingredients and ideally at least 4 grams fiber and less than 5 grams sugar.
10. Plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup of berries will provide a good balance of protein and complex carbs. Not into plain? Stir in up to one teaspoon of your favorite jam, honey, or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life and a balanced relationship with food. For those in need of some healthy-eating inspiration, Jess created five day's worth of delicious make-ahead lunches to make it even easier to eat well on a busy day. For more information on Jess, check out her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Main Photo Credit: Syda Productions/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Vorontsova Anastasiia/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Anna Shepulova/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: souslapluie/shutterstock.com