One of the biggest challenges that most Americans face is eating healthy.
Part of the reason that it’s so difficult to make smarter choices about the food we eat is that there are so many unhealthy options out there that call to us on a constant basis. Whether it’s fried, salty, or sugary food, it can feel impossible to avoid.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that you should give up.
It may take some time to get yourself on good habits, but the work will be well worth it as you will notice a change in your body for the better - not just in how it looks but also in how you feel.
We all know that eating healthy is important, but it’s just a matter of forming habits so that we can stick with it for the long term.
So, to help you get started, we are going to focus on snacks.
Most of us like to eat on a regular basis throughout the day, but little snacks can add up to some big calories if we’re not careful. We are less likely to “count” things like chips, cookies, or candy bars, but they will create excess fat in our systems without us even realizing it.
Therefore, if you can change your snacking habits and start to eat healthier options, that is a fantastic starting point from which to change your health for the better.
Avoiding the Term “Diet”
For most of us, the idea of going on a diet means that we are sacrificing our taste buds in an effort to lose weight.
Unfortunately, the concept of dieting stacks the deck against us because of two reasons:
- We believe that it is only temporary until we reach a certain goal
- It implies that we have to drastically change our eating habits to make something happen.
Thinking of a diet as a temporary change is bad for most people because then it becomes easier to get off of it. How many times have you cheated on a diet to then decide that you’ll start tomorrow or the next week? This cycle continues endlessly and causes us to eat more because, after all, we’re really beginning our diet at the beginning of the month, when things are fresh.
Making drastic changes to our eating habits will only force us to cheat more often as our bodies crave stability and making such changes disrupts our focus. Unfortunately, things like sugar and salt are highly addictive, so quitting cold turkey means that we can have withdrawal symptoms and crave them even more after starting a diet.
Think of it this way, if you wanted to quit smoking would you suddenly stop and expect that to work?
Healthy Snack Ideas
So, how can we break this cycle of dieting and fooling ourselves into thinking that’s the only way to lose weight?
Well, the first step is to start thinking about food differently and making conscious changes on a regular basis.
If you can start by making snack time healthier, then you can start to incorporate better eating habits into other parts of your day. Before you know it, you’ll be eating healthier overall without ever feeling like you’re “on a diet.”
One thing to keep in mind here is that you shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of anything. If you like sweets, for example, swap out candy and chocolate for healthier alternatives like yogurt and fruit. It may take some extra willpower at first to stop craving your old snacks, but over time your tastes will change until you start looking forward to your new healthier alternatives.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at fifteen snack options that can set you on the path to a more nutritious lifestyle.
#1 Greek Yogurt w/ Berries
Most of us are not getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients in our diets, and most of it is caused by not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Calcium is another thing that many people lack if they don’t drink enough milk, which is why this snack is so right for you. Greek yogurt has better nutrition than standard yogurt, and the addition of berries gives it a nice sweet kick.
#2 Cottage Cheese with Honey and Nuts
For some people, cottage cheese is less than desirable, so if you’re one of them, then you can replace it with either regular or Greek yogurt. Adding honey, nuts or some pomegranate seeds makes it more of a parfait, and you get a lot of healthy fat in this snack. While most people think that high-fat foods are bad for you, when it’s naturally occurring like this it can actually be perfect for your system. It will keep you fuller longer, and it will also help things like cholesterol and heart health.
#3 Fruit Smoothie
One of the best ways to get your vitamins and minerals is to drink them, so make a smoothie that has fruit, veggies, and other boosters like chia seeds or nuts. If you can maximize your nutrient intake with a smoothie, you will notice immediate results. Plus, it’s super delicious and easy to make.
#4 String Cheese with Almonds
One of the best ways to snack is to have a diverse range of flavors and textures. This way the experience is much more enjoyable and your brain will start to get a lot more pleasure out of it than just the flavor. In this case, having the softness of the cheese paired with the crunchiness of the almonds makes this a winning combination. Plus, you get added calcium and omega-3 fatty acids from the almonds.
#5 Salted Edamame
For those who have a salt tooth, this is a fantastic way to sate your hunger without resorting to traditional standbys like chips or pretzels. Edamame is a decadent dish that can be spiced up as much as you want. Add a little chili powder for some extra flavor and go to town.
#6 Peanut Butter on Toast
As we mentioned, eating high-fat foods is not always bad for you as long as they are the right kind of food. In this case, peanut butter can be a fantastic snack choice because it will keep you full for longer. Spreading it on toast creates that dichotomy of different mouth feels, which will make this a worthy snack that you can look forward to all day.
#7 Avocado Toast
This is a snack that is fast becoming a favorite among the younger crowd, and it’s easy to see why. Avocados are already rich and creamy, so adding it to crunchy toast creates a savory treat that is sure to satisfy. Best of all, you can add toppings like salt, pepper, and light mayo to make the whole thing even more decadent without adding a ton of extra empty calories.
#8 Light Kettle Corn
Whether you like the light sweetness of kettle corn or you want something saltier, popcorn is an excellent way to go as it’s light and filling at the same time. If you want a quick and easy snack, you can put a bag in the microwave and have it ready to go in no time. Just be sure to get packages with less salt and fat, and you’ll be golden.
#9 Kale Chips
Almost everyone likes to snack on chips, so why not make it a more healthy option by using chips that aren’t fried and salted to death? Whether it’s kale chips or some other alternative, you can still get the same experience with a lot less empty calories and a lot more nutrients.
#10 Flaxseed Crackers with Hummus
As far as snack foods go, hummus is one of the best you can have. It is already naturally full of vitamins and nutrients, and the flavor is divine. Best of all, you can find different varieties of hummus to fit your taste buds. Just be sure to use healthy dippers like pita chips or crackers so that you aren’t contributing a bunch of empty calories.
#11 Salted Cucumber Slices
This may seem a bit extreme, but after a few times of trying them, you will see that this is actually a good idea. Fresh cucumber is a bit bland on its own, but it can be refreshing due to the snap and crunch as well as the water inside. Adding a bit of salt or chili powder makes it much more palatable without adding extra calories.
#12 Fruit Salad
If you want to get a full serving of fruit every day, this is a fantastic way to do it. Make it yourself or buy it from any grocery store or fruit stand.
If you’re only familiar with black olives, then you’re missing out on a world of flavor. Try different varieties and see what you like the most. Best of all, olives work well by themselves or as a dipper for things like olive oil or hummus.
#14 Bananas with Almond Butter
While a fresh banana is a great snack by itself, adding a bit of peanut or almond butter to it makes it much more rich and rewarding. The creaminess of the butter mixes well with the texture of the banana to make it almost like a dessert.
#15 Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups
If you love meat and cheese, then making quick and easy roll-ups is an excellent way to go for an afternoon snack that will satisfy. Best of all, you can mix things up as much as you want. Try different cheeses and meats to see which combinations work best. It’s like a charcuterie plate rolled into itself!
Bonus - Don’t Drink Your Calories
If you change your diet but still glug back a can of soda or red bull in the afternoon then that could be a reason why you are not feeling better.
Similarly, cappuccino or lattes from the local coffee shop are loaded with much more calories than you would expect.
Try to avoid having too many fatty and sugary drinks.
Even swapping out one afternoon drink, such as a can of soda, for some water with a caffeine stir stick to give you an energy boost and add a little bit of flavour.