The key is to pick the right foods to snack on and to keep the portions small. It’s meant to be a snack not an extra meal. A small handful of nuts is a healthy snack but a whole bag full will only add extra calories!
To keep energy levels going and avoid empty calories stay away from foods with simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars or soda and high fat processed foods like fast food and packaged convenience foods. Be sure to read labels. Just because a label claims the product is “all natural, or “pure” doesn’t mean that it's nutritious. Many of these foods can still be full of sugars and high in calories with very little nutritional value. You even need to look closely at organic labels – just because it has organic corn syrup in it doesn’t mean you want to eat it!
Other items to avoid are: food colorings (all dyes), Benzoate preservatives, artificial sweeteners (usually in anything “sugar-free”), all sodas, diet sodas, sweetened ice teas, vitamin waters, sports drinks, as they are full of sugar and food colorings, trans fats, which are found in shortenings, margarines, processed foods that have a long shelf life and foods made with partially hydrogenated oils, excessive amounts of sugar and all items with high fructose corn syrup.
Here are some healthy snack ideas and many are easy to pack up and take with you when you are on the go!
Chopped raw vegetables or baked pita chips with hummus or other healthy dips
Chunks of avocado sprinkled with Herbamare
Olives and a small piece of cheese or some cherry tomatoes
Grilled vegetables (sweet potato, beets, zucchini, red pepper)
Air popped popcorn (avoid microwave bags)
Organic tortilla chips with bean dip or guacamole
Granola or trail mix (homemade: mix nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
Toasted whole grain breads or rice crackers with fruit spread or nut butters
Whole grain bread, toasted & cut into four strips dipped in unsweetened applesauce w/cinnamon
Mini rice cakes with organic peanut butter or other nut butters
Apple slices with hazelnut butter
Fresh fruits (fruit kabobs are fun!)
Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, figs, dates)
Frozen bananas dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, rolled in coconut or chopped nuts
Crispy nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
Unsweetened whole milk yogurt with fruit & a little sweetener (look for raw or non ultra-pasteurized dairy products)
Homemade muffins or cornbread
Fresh soybeans (edamame)
Cup of homemade soup
½ chicken or turkey sandwich w/mustard
Healthy snack bars – check ingredients carefully! Lara Bars are a good brand.
Baked mochi (made w/sweet brown rice) baked and dipped in apple butter or with goat cheese & herbs.
Small smoothie made with almond milk, frozen berries, & ½ banana
Small piece of dark chocolate preferably with 70% or more cocoa and with the first ingredient listed as cocoa mass
Bottom Line: Try to plan ahead to have some healthy snacks on hand so you won’t be tempted to visit the vending machine or convenience store when hunger sets in. Only snack when you are hungry and keep portions small. Be sure to read package labels carefully.
Rebecca Haines, Certified Nutritional Consultant & Certified Holistic Health Coach