We have an almost unfailing tendency to regard snacks as something necessarily unhealthy. This is chiefly due to the fact that when we hear the word snack, we tend to think in terms of chips, candy, instant noodles and the like. However, we ought not to confuse snacks with junk foods. There are lots of healthy snacks that can sustain our energy levels between meals and keep hunger at bay without causing us to gain weight. In fact, the ideas we’re going to discuss below will actually help you lose weight, and not gain it.
So, What Makes for a Healthy Snack?
When it comes to snack foods, there are mainly two things to watch out for: the calorie count of the portion you’re eating and whether or not it’s nutrient-rich. Protein and fiber are two main ingredients that make for a healthy snack. Protein plays an essential role in the growth of lean muscle mass, thus boosting metabolic rate that speeds up the process of calorie burn. Fiber and/or fat, on the other hand, take longer to digest, thus making us feel filled up for longer, which means we won’t feel the urge to binge on sugar- and carb-rich foods. Carbs are never a good idea for a snack meal since they get used up rather fast and thus making us feel hungry sooner than we’ll want. Ideally, any healthy snack portion will be in the 150-200 calories range with about 5 grams of fiber and close to 7-10 grams of protein.
Well, keeping that in mind, here are our favorite healthy snack ideas that will keep your hunger in check between meals and will also aid in excess calorie burn. In this article, we’ll mainly list some standalone foods (but a few combos as well) that work best as snack ideas. They also work great as quick, on-the-go, portable snacks. However, you can always experiment with mixing and matching them or pairing them with something else (but, of course, keeping the calorie count in mind) for the purpose of making your snack more savory and appetizing. And don’t worry, as we go about our task, we’ll help you with some pairing suggestions as well.
Snack Ideas for Losing Weight
A whole grapefruit packs 4 grams of fiber, enough vitamin C and comes with a calorie count of 100. Research says that grapefruits help us manage appetite by bringing down our insulin levels. What is more, according to one study, people who ate one whole grapefruit every time they took a meal lost as much as three and a half pounds in about three months’ time. So, pretty self-explanatory why we include it in our healthy snacks list.
Nuts, although high in fat, still make for great snacks. And almonds especially are rich in healthy fats, protein and filling fiber. They will improve your heart health and will keep hunger in check. Research also says that almonds actually help people get rid of belly fat. If munching simply on almonds appear to be a little boring, pair them with some dark chocolate (chocolate, yes, but we’ll come to that soon) or dried fruit. You can also smear an apple with some almond butter for a healthy and savory combo snack.
And FYI, 1 ounce of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber and has 164 calories.
3. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a great source of omega-3s and lean protein. Eat them alone or pair them with some whole-wheat crackers t0 make them more appetizing and filling. Six crackers and 3 ounces of canned tuna will be about 200 calories and will contain 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein.
Keep some pre-cooked shrimp or shellfish handy and they will serve as a great healthy grab-and-go snack option. Add some avocado and Greek yogurt (or a simple one, if you want to keep it somewhat low-profile) and you’ve a veritable protein stack on your hand. A small serving will account for no more than 130 calories (with about 4 grams of fiber and 9 grams protein).
5. White Bean Dip
Again, prepare a batch of roasted garlic and white bean dip and it will serve as the base for a variety of healthy snack combos. You may, for example, eat it with veggies or spread it on crackers for quick and healthy treats. To give you an idea, a quarter-cup serving of the dip with two cups of finely chopped cauliflower will be 190 calories with 8 grams fiber and 11 grams protein in it.
Take note, too, that both the shrimp and the white bean dip will also work great as late night, after-dinner snack ideas.
6. Frosted Grapes
Grapes make for a filling and savory snack since you eat them slowly and individually, tossing them one after another in the mouth. Yes, they are high in sugar; but that’s why frosted grapes are better since they bring down the sugar and water contents of the fruit.
Calorie count: one cup averages about 100 calories.
7. Yogurt with Fruits
Yogurt coupled with the fruit of your choice delivers enough fiber and calcium, plus healthy probiotics and protein. Choose whatever suits you—plain, low-fat, or whole milk yogurt, or even flavored yogurt—and you won’t go high in calories. Or go for Greek yogurt if you want a protein boost.
8. Dried Fruit
Another healthy and highly portable snack. Dried fruits work great when it comes to weight-loss as they are packed with healthy fibers, in addition to vital minerals and vitamins. Just make sure you choose products with no added sweeteners. And you can pair the dried fruits with a variety of nuts to get the right balance of protein and healthy carbs.
If your primary concern is to lose weight, stock up on chickpeas. Roasted chickpeas make for a great crunchy snack and they are high on healthy fibers and some little protein as well. Half a cup will equal to about 100 calories, 5 g fiber and 5 g protein.
Okay, don’t wince. The idea of losing weight with healthy snacks isn’t all about staying completely away from the indulgence path. In fact, trying to be “too strict” with your diet plans can actually be counterproductive. So, now and then, you CAN and SHOULD indulge in foods you love, albeit in moderation. So, make room for a little wine or after-dinner dessert once in a while since healthy eating is not only about counting calories or keeping track of the right nutrients; it’s also about making you happy and satiated.
This is why we list chocolate. That said, we prefer you go for dark chocolate whenever you have that cocoa craving. Studies have shown that dark chocolate comes with a number of legit health benefits: they reduce risk of diabetes; lower blood pressure; improve heart health; and finally, boost our mental sharpness.
11. Use a Healthy Snack Box
Ever heard of bento? That’s a rectangular box with small compartments that Japanese use to pack their lunch. Consider using a similar item to pack a number of different healthy, portable snacks. Keep a Snacks With Bite office pack handy at your desk or even at home. That way, you can munch a little of different healthy snacks without having to leaving your desk. This way, you’ll be able to carry on with your work all focused and undisturbed, with sustained energy levels and without any hunger nag to make you leave your worktable.