10 Healthy Snack Ideas
With all the attention on reducing sugar and processed foods in our diets, I feel like there is a lot of talk but less solutions! So here is a list of 10 great snack foods and ideas which have: no added sugars, minimal processing and are healthy and fulfilling. Plus 2 swap ‘this for this’ ideas.
1. Plain Greek yogurt
When looking at nutrition labels, yogurt appears to be high in sugar, but unsweetened natural yogurts contain only naturally occurring sugars called lactose. Many types DO have added sugar (even vanilla!), and it is hard to figure it out these days, so I just avoid any flavoured yoghurts as they will almost always have added sugar. Check the ingredients for any 'added sugars' and try to stick to ‘plain’ types and add your own favourite fruits, grains or nuts for a yummy snack.
While fruit contains sugar (called fructose), it is also a naturally occurring type of sugar, and fruit also contains beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Fruit also contains fibre which will help you feel full without excess calories, and keep your digestion moving, a great whole-food snack!
3. Nut butters
Spread a tablespoon of natural almond or natural peanut butter on a cut up apple, banana or some celery sticks for a nice treat while also getting a dose of healthy fats and nutrients. Don’t buy the sugar-sweetened peanut butters. Stick to the plain natural varieties that don’t have many other ingredients (there are many to choose from at the supermarket, check the health section).
4. A simple salad
Fresh vegetables of all kind contain nutrients, vitamins, fibre, high water content, and fairly low calories. Mix some green leaves with your favourite fresh or cooked veggies, and top with a homemade salad dressing (found below). Add an egg, some cheese or a can of tuna in olive oil or brine. Or you could use fruit and nuts to liven them up.
Image from NY times-For 101 salad ideas click here!
5. Avocado on wholegrain
Spread some avocado on a slice of wholegrain toast with some lemon and a pinch of salt. Have some avo on some wholegrain rice thin crackers, or chop up into a salad. Wholegrain toast is filling, and contains a balance of healthy carbs, protein and great fibre. Avocado contains healthy monounsaturated fat, lots of vitamins and also good amounts of fibre.
Find what breads are best to choose here: Best types of bread
6. Handful of nuts
Boring, but convenient! It’s easy to go overboard on nuts so just keep it to about 30 g or a small handful a day. Nuts are a healthy plant food because they are high in healthy fats, protein and fibre. Some of the healthiest people in the world eat nuts every day, and they are linked to good heart health.
7. Hummus and veggies
Hummus contains protein and fibre which helps you feel full. Check my recipe section to make your own! Enjoy this nice chickpea spread with your favourite fresh vegetables cut up into sticks.
8. Air-popped popcorn
Hungry for a snack? Skip the vending machine and choose air-popped popcorn instead. Air-popped popcorn is low in sugar, calories and contains fibre which will help you feel full. You can pop your own for the most natural type, or this is a good packaged type I recommend
9. Your latté/Cappuccino/flat-white etc.
If you enjoy coffee - I think looking to ordering your flat white or latte as a snack is smart. I see people order a coffee with their lunch or breakfast and have it with their meal, which is fine if you are including it in your daily intake and if you are not needing to watch your weight. But if you are needing to reduce your calories, a latte or cappuccino contains calories from the milk in it, so why not enjoy one as a snack instead of washing one down with your meal. I like to order a cup of tea with my breakfast if I eat out, and save a coffee for midmorning.
10. Make a smoothie
- A cup of ice and cup of water
- With a cup of berries/or a banana/or your favourite fruit
- With a handful of spinach or some greens (if you like! You can’t really taste them in the mix)
- With ½ a cup of some almond milk, ½ cup of Greek yogurt, or a serve of natural protein powder.
- Blend for 30 secs to a minute. Pour. Delish!
If you have been active that day a serve of natural protein powder could be beneficial for recovery. You can buy natural protein powders which don’t have too many ingredients in them that are whey, pea or rice protein.
Simple but beneficial SWAP 'this for this' ideas-
Sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime
A glass of wine/beer or a soft drink isn’t the only beverage you have to go for when out. Sometimes try to order a sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime instead of the usual alcoholic or soft drinks; it’s healthier and much more hydrating! Adding a twist of fresh lemon or lime will add a hint of flavour.
Homemade salad dressing
To skip the added sugar and fat which is found in store-bought bottled salad dressings, try making your own! So easy, use ingredients such as a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar, mustard, fresh lemon juice, pepper, salt, and herbs/spices.