- Christine Angelica
5 Healthy Snacks to Curb Your Cravings Without Blowing Your Diet
If you're like me and most of the world, you regularly get the urge to snack. But are you able to snack without guilt most of the time? Those of us who are able to outsmart our cravings and snack healthy most of the time, live by a simple wisdom:
A good snack defense is a good snack offense.
That means, we figure out when and where we usually get the urge to snack and keep healthy (and satisfying) snack foods in those places. For most people that's at home and at work.
Healthy snacking takes just a little bit of effort, but it's fairly easy to do, as I hope to demonstrate in this post. I will be using five of my current favorite snack foods to share how I make my healthy snack decisions and how you can too. The goal for you and me when snacking, is to snack healthy, feel satisfied, and have zero guilt afterward.
Here's what I mean.
Why they're healthy: Pistachios are a storehouse of unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and minerals and have anti-inflammatory properties, so nutritionally, they make the grade as a go-to snack food for me. I usually keep a small pack in my car and store some in glass containers at home so that I always have pistachios nearby. If I'm on the road or traveling, I can pick up pistachios at virtually every 7-11, every convenience store, or airport shop.
The tip here is to find your "go-to" snack. My nephew loves bananas, my sister loves dark chocolate, and my girlfriend, for some reason, loves oatmeal. Go figure. But as you can see, each of these foods are versatile. We can have them right out their containers or combine them with other snack foods.
2. Skyr Yogurt and Fruit
Why they're healthy: Yogurt has the calcium we need. Some yogurt brands have a healthy serving of probiotics making them good for digestion. They are high in protein, which satisfies hunger, and yogurt has a ton of other health and beauty benefits. I like Skyr yogurt because they have a thick creamy taste and are low in sugar.
To make your Skyr or other plain yogurts more filling and tastier, you can add half of a banana, some berries, pomegranate seeds, or other fruits you like. You can also add a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter, Nutella, honey, granola mix, seeds, chocolate or coconut flakes.
The tip here is to satisfy sugar cravings with low-sugar foods as the base and add natural sugars to sweeten. For added texture — creaminess or crunchiness — add bananas or granola, respectively.
Why they're healthy: Dietitian Anna Nielsen says that avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which is the good fat that we should be eating more of. Avocados are also loaded with potassium and antioxidants and are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. As a snack, I like to make a tub of guacamole for 4-5 servings—the amount I know I can eat in under a week. I may eat it alone or spread it on top of toasted cinnamon raisin bread when what I'm craving is something with a little crunchiness and a mix of savory and sweet, and when I can afford to splurge on carbs.
The tips here are to satisfy your cravings with the good fats that we don't get enough of in our normal diet, and if you are someone who usually craves carbs, pair it with protein for balanced nutrition.
4. Cucumber and Chili Lime Seasoning
Why they're healthy: I recently discovered this snack, and let me tell you, it's easy to love! The main ingredient, cucumbers, contain several antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and has very few calories. They're a great way to add hydration to your diet if you're not drinking enough water. For people who, like me, are prone to digestive issues like IBS, cucumbers can have a calming effect on the stomach, largely due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Full disclosure (so keep this in mind if you have a sensitive stomach), it's also true that some people don't tolerate cucumbers very well.
The tip here is if you have digestive issues, which so many people do these days, snack with your condition in mind. Whether it's eating cucumbers or gluten-free foods, cooking with ghee, or adding ginger to your foods, consider how you'll feel an hour after eating when you decide what to eat and how to prepare it. Because healthy snacking doesn't just mean eating healthy foods, it's also eating foods that don't cause you discomfort afterward.
To prepare the Cucumber and Chili Lime Seasoning snack, all you need are chopped cucumbers and your favorite (preferably low sodium) chili-lime seasoning to sprinkle on it, and voila!
5. Store-Bought Cauliflower Pizza
Why they're healthy: As you can see from the Trader Joe’s nutrition label above, cauliflower pizza crusts are fairly low in sugar, cholesterol, calories, and carbs. Because they are gluten-free, they're well tolerated by most people and prevent the stomach bloat and discomfort you might get after eating traditional pizza dough. When topped with fresh grated Parmesan or Feta, greens, and a couple of other vegetables, you'll have a super tasty hot homemade snack.
One of the benefits of snacking on a cauliflower-crust pizza is that it's a healthy swap for regular pizza. Because if your healthy eating is to be sustainable, you don't want to feel deprived or eat foods that taste like cardboard.
Okay... so these are the five foods that I turn to when I snack. Like you, I want to eat better, and the number one way to do that I find, is to focus on nutrition. Because nutrition education equips people with skills and resources to make better nutritional decisions, it's a central component of our Wellness Club where the goal is to help our clients build lifelong skills that truly transform behavior.