23 healthy snacks: plan & prepare!
Snacks are as good as you make them – they’re a way to add nutrients and foods you need to bump up, or a diet downfall that will add calories, but not truly nourish. The KEY to snacking is to plan ahead of time, stock good options, and have enough variety that you won’t get bored. I recommend making a list of 5-6 default snack choices that feature different flavors, textures, and even temperature so you always have a good selection.
We eat snacks that are convenient – and a whole lot of the most convenient snacks aren’t very nutritious, so you have to make your first option the best option. Choose some from this list that you’ll keep on hand to have between meals! Aim for a combo of protein + produce, like many of these below, to stay on target with high energy and metabolism throughout the day.
Veggies & dip – make a batch of this greek yogurt based dip early in the week, and dunk veggies for a perfect combo of protein & fiber (the fill-you-up nutrient combo). A cup of veggies is usually only 20-40 calories, so this is a light but filling snack that will knock out a serving of produce for the day!
Veggies & hummus – Same idea, different dip…grab a jar, add 1/3c hummus, or one of the other 6 dips featured in this post, and pop in your veggies for a portable snack that’s easy to store in the office fridge.
Berries & greek yogurt – Get plain greek yogurt (no added sugar!) and use berries or this berry sauce to add color and sweetness. Creamy & dessert-like – add toasted nuts for a crunch!
Cheese & pear – Mozzarella string cheese and a pear are a fab pairing, or you can take it next level with these little endive crostini – I would dice & combine all the ingredients into a container, then scoop out with the endives for easy weekday eats!
PB & apple or banana or celery – you’re not in elementary school anymore, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is still an awesome snack. So fast, and vegan! Make the peanut butter dip in this recipe, or just grab a jar and shmear on a tablespoon or two!
Nuts & dried fruit – My favorite for keeping in the car, office, or purse because it’s totally shelf stable. Check out the 7 trail mix recipes offered here, or create your own! Serving size = one palmful.
Crispy chickpeas – If you want a crunchy, salty snack, steer clear of chips and try fiber & protein rich chickpeas instead! Get em ready made here in tomato basil, or toast up your own in this recipe!
Chia pudding & fruit – There are LOTS of variations on this theme, but fiber-rich chia seeds are the miracle ingredient that makes a pudding without any cooking! This version contains coconut milk, but the recipe works with many different kinds of milk. Make a big batch, and pair with mango or pineapple for a tropical twist, or berries!
Popcorn – You knew popcorn would be on this list, didn’t you? Light and crispy and mostly made of air, you can enjoy 3 whole cups of homemade or pre-bagged popcorn (like SkinnyPop) for around 200 calories.
Energy bar – There are thousands of bars out there, and some are closer to candy bars than a nutritious snack! Use the Energy Bar Crawl to find one that’s right for you – aim for high protein, low sugar, and whatever other criteria is important to you! The database is totally responsive to your selections.
Hard boiled egg & bell pepper – Eggs are high quality protein, which means they have amino acids in similar ratios to the ones we need. Don’t throw away the yolk – almost half the protein and all the vitamins & minerals are in there! Boil a dozen on the weekend to last you throughout the week, and pair with your fav veggie and a dash of salt or get fancy with this recipe.
Healthy muffin – Most muffins are cupcakes in disguise…this recipe is made with mostly almond meal, a small amount of added sugar, and could be varied with the type of fruit or berry you bake in. Goes great with tea or coffee!
Energy bites – You could make a different energy bite recipe every week and still not get through them all in a decade! These are based on chickpeas, but many others use oats or nuts as the base. A delicious way to enjoy cookie flavors, without the sugar bomb of a cookie!
Roll ups – Whether you use a whole grain wrap, leafy lettuce, or a sliced veggie like cucumber or zucchini, making a spread and layering in some veggies to roll together is a great move. Cut sideways for a pinwheel effect to impress kids!
Smoothie – Skip the smoothie bar, and toss just 5 ingredients into a blender (ice optional!) to make any one of these 16 smoothies – each makes 2 snack-sized or one meal-sized serving! This gives you way more control over ingredient quality, and ensures no added sugars or syrups are used.
Tuna & crackers – If you’re into a really simple combo, try using canned or bagged tuna with a dash of seasoning on whole grain crackers, cucumbers, or a rice cake. Or use this easy recipe to make a batch to scoop into. It’s fishy in all the right ways!
Avocado toast – I know, avocado toast had its moment in 2016…but there’s no reason this should ever go out of style! Avocados are rich in fiber, vitamin K, and monounsaturated fats. Use a whole grain, high fiber bread like Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekiel bread.
Cottage cheese salad – Cottage cheese can go savory or sweet, so add fruit or try this simple salad that uses crunch cucs and cherry tomatoes – a dash of pepper is all it needs!
Banana ice cream – Want a sweet snack for a hot day? Make a batch of this faux ice cream (many versions based on bananas are out there!) to satisfy your sweet tooth…chocolate chips optional, but recommended.
Caprese salad – When there’s no lettuce in play, a dressed salad can refrigerate for 4-5 days to enjoy all week. Cheese + veggies = protein + produce! Best in high summer, when tomatoes are in season. Easy, caprese!
Ricotta & fruit on toast – Ricotta is a fresh cheese that’s high in protein, low in fat, and spreads over toast in savory or sweet combinations. Bring on tomatoes & pesto, or strawberries and pistachios!
Frozen grapes – So simple, so delicious! Another hot weather fav that just takes a little planning…freeze plain, or try this dipped chia version for a fancier (and more nutritious) snack.