When the cravings hit, it's easy to reach for a quick unhealthy snack, especially if it’s habit and your healthy options are running low. Thankfully, there are plenty of smarter options that will leave you feeling satisfied—without the guilt. All it takes is a little planning ahead at the grocery store. Try picking up some of the following snacks, so when your stomach growls, you have a healthy choice to grab.
If you’re craving salt, air-pop some popcorn. It provides you fiber that helps with fullness and digestion while being low-calorie (three cups have less than 100 calories). When you air-pop the kernels, you can add any flavor you like(without the chemicals)! Try adding your favorite spices, seasonings, or even a little stevia, cayenne pepper, or Parmesan cheese.
Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts contain protein and fiber while providing heart-healthy benefits and satiate hunger, and pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie options. Portion some out each morning, so you can reach for them when hunger strikes! Also watch your sodium - consider unsalted, or roasted versions if you’re looking to cut salt.
Veggies and Hummus
Hummus makes a delicious addition to any veggie snack. The Mediterranean dip is full of protein and healthy fats, as well as offers some extra flavor. Some brands offer cups in to-go sizes, so you can toss them in your bag with some baby carrots or sugar snap peas. You can save time by prepping the veggies once a week, or buying them pre-cut, so they’re easy for snacking.
Hardboiled eggs make a smart snack because they offer a good amount of protein, and once you’ve done the "hard" work—you can boil a big batch once a week—you can just peel and eat one in less than a minute. You can also mix it up by pairing with some salsa, pink salt and chives, or avocado slices for different tastes.
It’s easy to make your own energy balls, and the best ones don’t require much aside from dried fruit, honey and nuts of your choosing. You can add peanut butter or chocolate chips for extra sweetness, or coconut and chia seeds for a healthy kick. These can be made in batches, and frozen for up to 2 months for a quick, frozen treat.
If you’re craving something sweet, reach for some high-quality, unsweetened yogurt. Flavored varieties can add up to 20 grams of sugar per serving, which isn’t ideal in any situation. You can easily create and sweeten the flavor yourself with a lot less unnecessary sugar. Think seasonal—some fresh berries, for flavor and fiber, honey or homegrown herbs. Add nuts, chia or flax seeds, or granola for additional protein and crunch. And don't forget those heart-healthy fats!