If you want to eat healthier, don’t forget to include healthy snacks in your diet. Giving up snacks can actually cause you to gain weight. Planned healthy snacks can help you feel more energetic, so you’ll burn more calories. They can help keep you from being ravenous at your next meal, so you’ll eat less. They also can aid in preventing you from grabbing that last donut in the office lounge or a candy bar at the gas station, which offer just empty calories.
Plan ahead and have fruit ready.
Fruit is so versatile and many are easy to store. Apples, for instance, are fruits you can keep in your desk or on the shelf for quite a while and when you need a snack, it’s ready to munch. If you have a jar of peanut butter handy, spread some peanut butter on the apple to get filling fat and protein. One tablespoon contains about 100 calories. Make sure it’s only ingredient is peanuts. Cutting up fresh fruit, such as cantaloupe, ready to put into a plastic bag is another healthy option.
Combine veggies and dip and have them ready to go.
There’s nothing like those little disposable plastic portion cups with lids to be ready for your next grab and go snack. You can put a tablespoon of ranch or two tablespoons of hummus as your veggie dip in the containers and have plastic bags filled with fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peppers or celery. Slice a red pepper in half and fill a container with mashed hard-boiled egg and some yogurt to fill the pepper later or have it ready to eat on the go. Make your own low calorie veggie dip with Greek yogurt, dill, garlic powder, lemon juice, pepper and salt.
Grab a protein ball for energy.
Protein balls can be made ahead. You can combine several tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter that contains only peanuts with a small amount of honey. Add enough wheat germ to make it easy to roll into balls and then roll the balls in more wheat germ to make them less sticky and refrigerate. Another recipe requires a blender or food processor. Mix a half cup of cashews, 1 ½ C almonds, 3 cups of dates, 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, ½ cup of cocoa powder (optional) and 2 TBS of coconut oil. Roll into balls and store in the refrigerator.
- Mushrooms can be added to your veggies for dipping. They boost your immune system and contain Vitamins D, C, B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, phosphorus, thiamin, folate, iron, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese.
- If you have the ingredients ahead of time, making this snack is quick. Have coarsely chopped frozen fruit, my preference is dark red cherries, chopped nuts (I love walnuts or almonds) and a half cup Greek yogurt. When mixed at the last minute before eating, the frozen cherries make it like ice cream.
- Create individual serving sizes of nuts, dried fruit, grains of your own healthy trail mix. Making homemade unsweetened applesauce plain or one made with beets, carrots, apples and cinnamon. Fill up those small plastic individual containers for a grab and go snack.
- Make your own microwave popcorn without oil. Just put between a fourth and a half cup of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag. Fold the top twice and microwave for two or three minutes until popping stops. Season with Parmesan cheese or other low cal seasoning.
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