If you’re at all like me, I go through phases with snacks. Basically, I’m really into one or two snacks for a week or so. I eat them all the time, but I eventually get bored with them and then it’s onto another snack. Of course, I have some go-to favorites that I eat time and time again, but I’m always on the lookout for new snack ideas.
That said, this week’s challenge is to discover some new healthy snacks or make over your current ones. I know in the past, I’d eat low-calorie, low-fat snacks that I thought were healthy, but did absolutely nothing for my hunger level. I’d want something else to eat less than 20 minutes later!
Over the years, I’ve learned that snacks with a balance of protein, fat, and carbs fill me up and satisfy me the best. I don’t really have a specific ratio or portion size in mind for my snacks—I pretty much just base them on my hunger level and activities for the day. But if you’re looking for a more concrete nutritional target, I found this “Optimal Snack Equation” on Real Simple awhile back that I thought was helpful:
About 200 calories: This is enough to keep your metabolism humming, says Bethany Thayer, a registered dietitian in Detroit.
At least 3 grams of fiber: Fiber is digested slowly and helps sustain your energy. It also absorbs water and expands in your stomach to keep you full.
At least 5 grams of protein: “Protein releases a hormone in the body that increases satiety,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian in New York City.
No more than 12 grams of fat: This will help ensure that you don’t get more than 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fat, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommendation
I included this snack equation because I thought it would help provide some straightforward guidelines for snacking, but, of course, we’re all different, and there’s no right or wrong way to snack. Personally, my snacks are closer to 300-350 calories, but I’m pregnant and honestly just like to eat. I’m also pretty active, so regular snacking makes sense for me. Be sure to do what’s best for you, and try not to get to wrapped up in the numbers. Instead, focus on nutrients and foods that will satisfy you.
Some of my favorite go-to snacks:
Homemade guacamole with rice crackers (the wasabi ones from Whole Foods are the bomb) and/or raw veggies (my favs: baby carrots, celery sticks, and cucumber slices)
Yogurt with fresh fruit and Paleo granola
A rice cake with nut butter and jam
All kinds of smoothies (often with protein powder)!
Sliced banana with nut butter, cinnamon, and raisins (or chocolate chips)
Other favorite snacks:
- Hummus + raw veggies
- Sliced apple + a thick piece of cheddar cheese
- Sliced apple (or pear) + melted nut butter for dipping
- Hardboiled egg with salt and pepper
- Baked pear with honey (slice pear in half, bake for 30 minutes on 375*F, top with honey, walnuts and/or almond butter)
- Celery + peanut butter
- A Larabar microwaved for 15-20 seconds and eaten with a spoon just like dessert
- Sweet potato wedges with melted almond butter drizzled on top
- Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt mixed with canned pumpkin and cinnamon
- Salt & vinegar roasted chickpeas
- Canned tuna mixed with relish or avocado (often eaten with rice crackers or celery sticks)
- Apple and Pear Salad
- Feta-Walnut Stuffed Cucumbers
- Lemon-Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bananas
Some posts that you might find helpful this week:
- 5 Satisfying Snacks That Won’t Wreck Your Diet
- 7 Nutritious Grab-And-Go Snacks
- 5 Great Snacks for Runners
- Find a New, Favorite Cheesy Snack
- Healthy, Travel-Friendly Snacks
Question of the Day
What is your current favorite snack that is both delicious and satisfying? Please share! I love finding new snack ideas!
P.S. Nikki’s Coconut Butter is currently offering a special Valentine’s Day promotion: Get 14% off today through Sunday and your package will arrive in time for Valentine’s Day! Use coupon code ‘Valentine’ at checkout to receive 14% off the entire store!