Between-meal snacking is either forbidden or essential, depending on which diet you choose to follow. Either way, most quick and available snack foods are decidedly weight-loss and nutrition unfriendly. Try these eight alternatives for your late morning, afternoon and after dinner munchies.
1. Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts (Gorp)
There’s a reason hikers and campers make this a staple of their food supply. Even small portions of unsalted peanuts and raisins combine to give you protein, fat and carbohydrates in a healthy balance that takes the edge off. It’s pretty calorie-dense, so stick to just a handful for a serving.
2. Celery and Peanut Butter
Lucky people might recall this one from their school lunch boxes. Simply take a stick of celery and spread unsalted peanut butter into the trough. The low-calorie celery combines with the fat and protein from the peanut butter with a fun texture. Some brave souls dab a little Tabasco sauce on top for spice.
3. Apples and Bananas (and Pears, and Oranges, and …)
No list of healthy snack options would be complete without mentioning fruits. They’re as yummy as prepackaged snack cakes, and packed with a variety of important vitamins and micronutrients. For snacks, the best choices are durable and easy to carry around. Apples are a great choice. Grapes, less so.
If you’re one of those people who eats just to have something to do with your hands, popcorn may be your solution. Air-popped, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn carries lots of fiber and very few calories for the volume. Munch to your tummy’s content.
5. Veggie Sticks
Vegetables have all the health advantages of fruits, but tend to have fewer calories and more nutrition per ounce. You can cut up some broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, or bell pepper and put them in a zipper bag for portable, healthy snacking.
6. Baked Pita Chips
If you’re a serial potato chip killer, there’s something to that crunch that other snacks simply can’t replace. Pick up some pitas at your local health food market and bake them crisp in the oven. You’ll get all the crunch with none of the salt or chemical preservatives. You can buy pita chips pre-baked, but check the label for the salt and chemicals you’re trying to avoid.
7. Boiled Egg
Eggs are full of protein, which is the key nutrient in curbing hunger for the next several hours. Boil your eggs while going through your morning routine, then plop them in with your lunch for a quick-and-easy alternative to that midmorning coffee run.
8. Green Tea
Tea bags are easy to stash in your purse, briefcase or desk drawer. Hot water is available almost anywhere. Drinking unsweetened tea fills your tummy to stave off hunger without loading in the calories of another snack option. Really any tea works for this, but green tea in particular has been recently linked with a variety of other health benefits.
Like your regular meals, portion control is key to healthy snacking. If you gorge yourself on fruits and peanut butter celery, your results won’t be any better than if you’d eaten a candy bar. Remember, when it comes to diet, moderation is the only thing it’s smart to be extreme about.