When you get those snack cravings, it can be tough to say no. Whether you’re starting to feel peckish at 3 p.m. on a workday or dinner needs a little top-up later in the evening, snacks don’t have to be unhealthy, carb-loaded, sugary, or jam-packed with calories. There are healthier options you can turn to that won’t make you feel guilty.
#1 Fruits and Vegetables
If you’re looking for nutrient-rich, vitamin-packed, no-sugar-added snacks, it doesn’t get any more straightforward than fruits and vegetables.
You may have reservations about fruit’s naturally high sugar content, and you wouldn’t be totally off base. Too much of something can always be a problem. But fruit comes packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, water, minerals, etc.
Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about fruit’s sugar content, there are some very satisfying snacky vegetables, too. Pair raw celery, bell peppers, zucchini or broccoli with hummus for a healthy alternative to lunch.
#2 Plant Based Gummies
Let’s be honest, as much as fresh fruit and veggies may be the healthiest snack option around, sometimes you get a sweet craving that nothing but candy can satisfy. That’s okay – there are plenty of healthier, naturally-sweetened, and even vegan treats out there.
If you’re looking for that chewy burst of flavor, plant based gummies are sure to satisfy. Look for gummies that are naturally sweetened with fruit and vegetable juices and gummies that are vegan – meaning no animal-based gelatin. You can cut down on calories and sugar while still enjoying your favorite sweet treat.
When you’ve got that craving for salty and savory popcorn can be a better alternative to chips, but can is the operative word here.
It all depends on how much oil, salt, butter, and other ingredients (like sugar and caramel) you’re adding.
Popcorn is a whole grain with a number of benefits:
- Studies have linked it to preventing heart disease and some cancers.
- It’s high in fiber and antioxidants.
- It has plenty of minerals and vitamins.
That sounds great, but many popcorn products are just as bad as your average bag of chips when it comes to the fat it’s been cooked in and the salt and flavorings that have been added.
If you want to satisfy that salty craving without it being bad for your health, make it at home and control the amount of oil or salt you add to it carefully.
#4 Chocolate-Dipped Foods
Taking a big bite out of your favorite chocolate bar means ingesting a lot of sugar and calories, but for chocolate lovers, it’s a tough treat to give up.
But if you pair it with something a little healthier, it doesn’t hurt to indulge a little bit. Next time you get that chocolate craving, melt your own chocolate and dip in fresh fruit like strawberries. You can fill that dessert plate without getting that “too rich” feeling you get from eating calorie-laden cakes or pastries.
If you want protein, fiber, antioxidants, and more health benefits in a high-density food that will recharge your body, granola’s the way to go. It can be sweetened with honey or maple syrup to add richness to the flavor without going overboard.
Healthier snacking is possible. You don’t have to cut out everything you love about snacks, but there are smarter ways to enjoy your favorite kinds of treats.