Snack Your Way Healthy

Done right, snacks can fill in nutritional gaps, help keep your blood sugar steady, and quell cravings. Experts say you should eat every few hours, which for me means that I need a bite to eat in the late afternoon to tide me over until dinner. I try to keep my snacks around 200 calories, and I choose them not only by what sounds good to me, but also by what else I’m eating that day in case I’m falling short in some area (usually fruits and vegetables). I also make sure that each snack has some protein, so my blood sugar doesn’t spike and crash. Here are some of my go-to bites, organized by type and with suggestions for yummy pairings, where applicable. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
  • Apple or pear slices (try with nut butter or cheese)
  • Small orange (serve with a handful of nuts)
  • Berries (excellent sprinkled over low-sugar/high-fiber cereal or lowfat yogurt)
  • Banana (sprinkle slices with cinnamon and stir into yogurt, or dip in dark chocolate for a treat)
  • All manner of sliced veggies—cucumbers, red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, radishes, jicama, green beans, etc.—go well with dips (ranch, hummus, white bean and rosemary, green goddess, salsa, roasted red pepper)
  • Radishes (slice over lightly buttered bread and sprinkle with salt)
  • Kale chips (also high in calcium)
  • Edamame (also high in calcium and healthy fats)
  • Nonfat or lowfat yogurt or cottage cheese (stick with plain, or watch out for added sugar; stir in fruit, nuts, or granola. I also like to stir a bit of natural peanut butter into vanilla yogurt as a dip for fruit slices)
  • String cheese (pair with whole-grain crackers or apple or pear slices)
  • Dried plums or figs
  • Canned salmon or sardines (okay, I don’t eat sardines, but Dan likes them in tomato sauce over brown rice)
Healthy Fats (watch portions!)
  • Nuts and nut butters (almonds also offer calcium)
  • Olive oil (sprinkle with dried herbs and a pinch of salt, dip bites of a whole-grain roll in the mixture)
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Whole Grains
  • Popcorn (preferably air-popped; drizzle with a little butter, or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with dried herbs and spices)
  • Oatmeal (ditch the flavored packets and go with old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, top with cinnamon, fruit, all-fruit jam, nuts, or a bit of brown sugar)
  • Multi-grain crackers (look for “whole grain” within the first three ingredients on the label; serve with cheese or a dip)
  • Whole wheat toast or English muffin (spread with nut butter and cinnamon, brie and pear slices, cheddar and tomato, or a small amount of butter and all-fruit jam)
  • Whole-grain cereal (sprinkle over yogurt, or have a half serving with milk)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Natural beef jerky (look for brands without nitrates at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods)
  • Roasted soybeans or chickpeas
Posted in cooking, eating well, fruits and vegetables, healthy choices, snacks

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