Our Top 10 Healthy Snacks
Across Ireland and the UK, the average number of snacks consumed per day is 2.5. Snacking gets a bit of a bad rap, but snacks can be beneficial in that they can increase nutrient intake and sustain energy levels. They can also be a great way of working more healthy foods into the diet and prevent overeating at mealtimes. However, a lot of grab-and-go snacks are high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt, offering little nutritional value. Lower-carb, higher-fibre snacks have shown to have a better effect on blood sugar and insulin levels than high-carb snacks. The ideal snack will provide a mix of protein and healthy carbohydrates.
Here are some tips for healthy snacking:
- Pay attention to the amount of saturated fat, sugar, and salt
- Use portion control, buying individual packs can help with this
- Listen to your natural hunger cues
- Keep an eye on the number of snacks your eating, it’s easy to mindlessly graze on snacks throughout the day, but using a food tracker like MyFitnessPal can help to snack more mindfully
- Prep in advance, if you know you tend to feel hungry mid-morning or have an energy dip late afternoon, prep healthy snacks in advance to avoid reaching for a junk food fix when you’re craving
When cravings do hit and you’re short on time, it’s easy to reach for a bag of crisps or cereal bar, but it’s always best to opt for whole foods over highly processed foods where possible. Here are some quick and easy healthy snacks you can prep at home or grab on the go.
1. Mixed Nuts
These are a great nutritious snack, as they don’t require any prep and are very filling. They provide a balance of healthy fat, protein, and fibre.
2. Celery Sticks
Celery sticks are brilliant because they’re a low carb, filling snack. They also contain luteolin, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and may help prevent cancer. You can combine them with different dips to mix up things up, like hummus or cream cheese.
3. Kale Chips
If you’re a crisp lover then kale chips are a healthy alternative. Kale is loaded with fibre and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, which decrease blood pressure.
Edamame beans are a great on-the-go snack, as they don’t require any prep. They’re also high in folate and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and manganese.
5. Falafel with Hummus
Falafel is another easy grab and go snack, high in micronutrients and a good source of fibre and protein. Hummus is naturally high in good fat because of its sesame seed and olive oil content.
6. Baby Carrots with Blue Cheese
Carrots are one of the best sources of carotenoids. Pairing them with a creamy salad dressing or dip heightens those benefits as the fat increases your absorption of the carotenoids.
7. Greek Yoghurt with Mixed Berries
Greek yoghurt is a great source of calcium, potassium and is high in protein. Berries add some more flavour and are high in antioxidants.
Healthy snacking can still be simple!
9. Protein Shake
Protein shakes are low in sugar, and you’ve already guessed it, high in protein. They make for a great substantial snack between meals.
10. Dark Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth and need a chocolate fix then dark chocolate is a great alternative. It generally contains less sugar than milk chocolate and is a powerful source of antioxidants.
Next up, we bust some of the most common weight loss myths here.