Healthy eating is made so much more difficult when there is a lack of healthy snack options, making finding something to fill in between meals that won’t contribute too many calories to your overall daily intake. Snacking can be a great way to increase vitamin and mineral intake throughout the day if you get it right. With that in mind, we’re giving you a few healthy snack ideas.
If you struggle to think of good snack ideas when on a diet, worry not! These snacks are healthy, varied and don’t cost much money so tick a number of boxes for you. So, onto the healthy snack ideas…
I could give this a generic title, but there is so much more to fruit as snack options that I thought I’d break it down and explain why certain fruits can be useful snacks.
Bananas – at around 100 calories, a banana is a perfect snack for anyone on the go. It’s cheap, full of energy and requires no preparation. I will often have a banana in the hour or so before training, so it’s a perfect energy alternative to a chocolate bar and comes in at less than half of the calories.
Berries – I think of berries as nature’s alternative to crisps! Hear me out – they’re small, are eaten from a bag or tub and as a result, take longer to eat than other fruit. This gives the psychological impression that you’re eating more, because it takes longer. Berries are high in antioxidants and fibre, taste great and a portion is often around 50 calories.
Apples – the quintessential English fruit, apples are a great snack. Again, they pack a fibre punch, taste great and come in at around 100 calories each (depending on size). Not only that, there are some who suggest the apples are a great way of waking up and stimulating alertness, so may be a healthy alternative to a coffee.
A smoothie is a great way of packing a lot of fruit and vegetables into a single serving. They’ve grown massively in popularity over the last few years, probably because they are healthy, easy to carry and take seconds to make. You simply throw your ingredients into the food processor, add some water or juice and blitz it to a smoothie consistency. Simple as that!
Smoothies are particularly good because you can manipulate the recipe significantly to include all kinds of things such as vegetables (carrots, spinach and kale are regularly used in smoothies), herbs (various types of mint are used) and in plenty of cases, milk or protein powders are used – this increases the amount of protein and in the case of milk, essential fats and calcium.
Once seen as the reserve of the bodybuilders, protein shakes have become popular with all kinds of people who want to lead a healthy life. There’s a number of reasons for this…
- Protein is an important macronutrient in the diet and some people just don’t eat enough. To get around this, they drink it!
- A protein shake can be made with water or milk, meaning it can be changed for people who either want to lose or gain weight.
- Most protein shakes are fortified with vitamins and iron, meaning they contribute to your overall intake.
- Protein powders are a relatively cheap way to increase protein intake.
- Protein is very satiating, so it keeps you full for a long time.
For these reasons, protein shakes can be a great snack. Vitamins, minerals, protein and not many calories!
Vegetable Crudités and Dips
A quick and very healthy snack is simply to chop a wide variety of vegetables and eat them with a dip – the lower calorie, the better. Personally, I love hummus – it’s not the healthiest, but it’s certainly tasty! You can go for a lower fat or lower calorie hummus, or stick with the real thing but eat less of it.
Carrots, cucumber, peppers, broccoli and a stiff lettuce such as little gem make great crudités vegetables. They need to be stiff enough to dip into a sauce, but easy enough to eat without cooking.
Low calorie, high fibre, high in vitamins and minerals. Vegetable crudités may be the healthiest snacks of all!
If you’ve got the time, a breakfast cereal can be a great snack. They’re usually high fibre, fortified with vitamins and iron, low calorie and thanks to the milk, high protein. They feel like a meal in themselves but often come in at less than 200 calories per serving, so hardly super high calorie!
You just have to be careful that you don’t go for one of the high sugar, high calorie breakfast cereals that will leave you feeling really hungry again in a couple of hours!
Healthy Snack Ideas – Concluded
Hopefully this article has shown you that snacking on a diet needn’t be a dietary nightmare. You can make a lot of healthy and interesting choices without blowing your calorie allowance for the day. Do you have any of your own healthy snack ideas? We’d love to hear them!