Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or just eat better, it often helps to look at what you’re eating between your meals. Healthy snacking is important if you want to stay on track, and yes, that means saving that sugary cereal bar or bag of chips for a treat, rather than something you reach for every day.
Studies have shown that snacking between meals can actually help you reach your weight loss goals, as it helps you manage hunger and improves blood sugar regulation. It can also be a great way of getting more healthy fruits and vegetables in your diet.
One problem with ready-made snacks, however, is that they are often packed with things you don’t really need, like added sugar, salt, or unhealthy sweeteners. Instead, it’s often better to plan ahead and make your own healthy snacks. Here are a few ideas to add to your meal prep and keep in the fridge or freezer for when you need them.
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Healthy snack ideas to add to your routine
If you need help working out what you should, or shouldn’t be eating, it’s a good idea to chat to your doctor or nutritionist. That said, if you’re looking for some healthy snacking ideas, here are some of my favorites:
1. Apple and peanut butter
If reaching for an apple doesn’t sound like much fun, why not add peanut butter? When paired together, peanut butter and apple become a nutritious snack, packed with protein, fat, and fiber. If you can, opt for peanut butter that doesn’t have added salt, sugar, and oils, and be sure not to go overboard with your portion size — aim for two tablespoons of peanut butter and one apple.
2. Frozen fruit bark
If you’re craving something sweet, these should satisfy your sweet tooth, while still keeping you on track. You’ll only need two ingredients — fruit and yogurt. I normally buy a bag of frozen fruits, scatter them over a baking tray, then pour the yogurt over the top and freeze. When it comes to eating, break the frozen bark up into bite-sized pieces. You can also make this snack vegan by using vegan yogurt.
3. Rice cake pizzas
Ok, bear with me with this one — I promise they are nicer than they sound! I use the rice cake as you would a pizza base and add tomato paste and cheese, then pop it in the oven for a few minutes. You can also skip the oven step, and use the rice cake as the bread in an open sandwich and top with tomato and mozzarella cheese.
4. Greek yogurt with fruit and honey
Another healthy snack idea, or a low-carb breakfast option, simply top a portion of Greek yogurt with fruit and honey. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of dairy, but it also normally contains more protein and less sugar than other yogurt options.
5. Hummus and vegetables
Not only does hummus taste great, but it’s also a brilliant source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. If you don’t have time to make your own, opt for a low-fat store-bought option. For dipping, cut up a mix of cucumber, carrots, and celery rather than reaching for chips.
6. Edamame beans
As well as being a source of protein, edamame beans are rich in healthy fibers, antioxidants, and vitamin K. If you can’t find the beans in their pods in the supermarket, opt for regular frozen beans and serve them with a sprinkling of salt or soy sauce for a healthy snack between meals.
7. Kale chips
You might hate raw kale, but kale chips are a healthy, low-calorie snack worth trying. Simply massage (yes, massage) the kale with olive oil and lie out on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the seasoning of your choice, and pop into the oven for around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the kale, and stop halfway through to move it around. Mix up the seasoning to keep this snack interesting — I mix between salt and black better, cumin, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast.
8. Roasted chickpeas
Another easy, but healthy and high-protein snack idea — roasted chickpeas. This one is super simple, just drain a can of chickpeas, dry with a paper towel, and lay them out on a baking tray. Cover in an oil of your choice (I tend to opt for olive oil) and season, before roasting for 20-30 minutes, moving halfway through. Mix up the seasonings — I tend to use paprika or cumin, as well as sprinkling with a little salt.
9. Hard-boiled eggs
Another high-protein option for snacking on the go, hard-boiled eggs are easy to prep and carry in a Tupperware. Simply boil a couple of eggs in a pan of water for 12 minutes, peel them, cut them in half, and sprinkle with a little salt.
Nuts make for a quick and easy snack on the move, but remember, we’re talking about raw, unsalted nuts. It’s also a good idea to weigh out snacking portions, as nuts can be high in calories (and it’s easy to get carried away!) Opt for macadamia, walnuts, and almonds.
11. Bliss balls
If you’re a fan of those little protein balls that cost a fortune in the store, why not make your own? Bliss balls are super easy to make, and you can mix up the ingredients to keep snack time interesting. There are lots of different recipes out there, but I tend to use mashed dates, peanut butter, some crushed nuts, and a little honey, which I coat in different toppings and store in the fridge.
12. Frozen banana bites
Last, but by no means least, another healthy snack I often have ready in the freezer for a quick, healthy dessert, or when I want to reach for that bag of chocolate buttons — frozen banana bites. Simply cut up a banana, dip half in dark chocolate, sprinkle with chopped nuts (this step is optional!), and freeze. Yum.