Who doesn’t love a good snack? They’re essential for staving off hunger between meals and keeping you fueled from your early morning workout until your late night dinner with friends. But small bites can also be a nutritional trap, providing few nutrients and tons of unnecessary calories. A 2012 study examining the diets of nearly 5,000 adults found that almost a third of their daily calorie intake was from “empty,” or nutritionally void, snack calories.
Ditch the store-bought granola brands (which are often packed with artificial ingredients) for this delicious DIY bar. Made with chunks of dried apple, pecans, toasted oats and cinnamon, each bite will satisfy your apple pie cravings. The other good news is that it serves up only five grams of sugar. Make a batch ahead of time and then stash some in your desk so you’ll always have something to nosh on. Photo and recipe: Carmen Sturdy / Life by Daily Burn
Dried fruit is a portable, healthy snack. Eating fruit helps with weight-loss because it's packed with filling fiber (and important vitamins and minerals). Look for fruit with no sugar or sweeteners added and pair dried fruit with nuts for a snack with a balance of healthy carbs and protein. Dried fruit is also a great option to keep at your desk at work.
Protein: Studies show that women are less likely to munch mindlessly when they include protein in meals and snacks. For reasons not entirely understood, protein makes your belly feel full longer, and research suggests you're less likely to crave treats when you're satisfied. We've designed the diet to give you extra protein in simple forms — like a hardcooked egg or nuts — throughout the day.
Freekeh is a cereal made from roasted green wheat. That's the one and only ingredient in this snack's original blend, making it an ideal packaged snack. With zero sodium, four grams of fiber, six grams of protein, and only 130 calories per quarter-cup serving, you can help yourself to an extra-large serving. Try rosemary sage or tamari when you want to mix things up.
If you have issues with sodium and salt, this is not a good option for you. However, if you are generally healthy, salt has some health benefits, just make sure you are hydrated adequately. Also, check the ingredients carefully on commercial packets of soup – many may have additives that are derived from animals. This is a vegan snack under 100 calories that you should only enjoy every now and then.
Healthy choices start in the grocery store. For me, I like to pretend that I do all of my shopping at Whole Foods. It’s basically a dreamland for anyone, but especially plant based vegans and is probably my favorite place, ever. I feel healthier just by being there!! I don’t buy all of my groceries from there quite yet – only the special superfood or vegan items I can’t find anywhere else, along with the 10 other things I didn’t plan on buying, but had to have. Must be the abundance of organic everything and fancy gourmet goodies that are actually vegan! Anyone else?!!! I know you’re obsessed too..
Snacks can absolutely fit in your diet if you're trying to lose weight. Having ideas for healthy snacks to pack for work snacks, grab and go snacks, store-bought snacks and snacks you can make yourself will help vary the nutrients you get and keep you from going hangry between meals. Remember, think nutrient-dense (fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals) and your snacks will help you get the nutrition your body needs and keep you full.
Tomato soup is full of disease-fighting nutrients, but contains as little as 74 calories per cup, no cholesterol, and less than 1 gram of saturated fat. Just keep in mind that there are many varieties. Cream of tomato is significantly higher in fat and calories. When buying canned soup, look for labels that say "low sodium" and check the calorie count.
And its cheap too. I was buying my chickpeas and processing them myself (resulting in a somewhat less than fine flour) as I thought that would be the cheapest way to get chickpea flour (as you do) and then I checked out the price difference at the health food shop and it was at least a dollar cheaper to buy the flour. Now I just buy the flour that is super fine and perfect for just about everything.
Known for being a cheap staple, rice and beans is a classic lazy person’s meal that’s also good for you! Brown rice is packed with hardy nutrients and can be made in large batches to last for a few days worth of meals. If you don’t have the time to cook rice on the stove, opt for using instant. Although the texture will be different, this is still a healthier option for the time-crunched than processed foods and breads. Beans make a killer counterpart to rice as they are incredibly cheap and will keep you full for hours. Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or black-eyed peas are all quality options and are easy because you can buy them in a can. Make sure to rinse them well before using. Check out this White Bean Wild Rice Hash or this Cilantro, Lime and Black Bean Rice for either a side dish or a main course, and see Easy Ways to Spruce Up Classic Rice and Beans for more help to those feeling lackadaisical.
Making your own raisins at home might sound silly, but these oven-dried grapes are a cut above the sad, shriveled raisins you buy in a box. Plumper and juicier, they have a flavor that's more similar to fresh grapes—just concentrated, and with a little caramelization. Try playing around with different varieties and cooking times to find the flavor and texture that you like.
A mini-meal snack is a good idea when dinner is a long way off. The combo of tomato soup and baby carrots is not just filling; it also gives you lots of body-healthy nutrients, like potassium, cancer-fighting lycopene, and beta-carotene. Try a microwavable soup cup that you can stash in your car's cup holder. (Concerned about sodium? Pour about a quarter of the soup down the drain and dilute the rest with water, says McLachlan.)