People have differing ideas of what constitutes healthy eating. There are more studies, trends and ideas on this topic than a person could possibly keep track of. With the goal of promoting good health, we’ve compiled some suggestions for healthy snacks you can turn to when you are sitting at work and your stomach starts growling, after your daily workout, or anytime you or your family need an energy boost.
The best healthy snacks contain a mix of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber. Rather than just snacking on a piece of fruit, why not add a protein to make a more well - rounded option? Remember, some of the things you already love can be upgraded to “healthy snack” status with some recipe modifications. We started out by asking some "professional healthy snackers" how to successfully snack healthy and reap the health benefits of their food choices. Their go-to suggestions are listed below. What could be better than some tried and tested options for nutritional snacking?
Apple Slices with Natural Peanut Butter
Slice one apple of choice and pair it with a natural nut butter. Natural nut butters typically do not have added sugar, hydrogenated oils or high levels of sodium. Their ingredient list is short and simple while packing 8g of protein in just one tablespoon. Medium Fuji apple = 80 calories 1 TBSP Natural peanut butter = 95 calories
Apple Slices with Sharp White Cheddar Cheese or Parmesan Shaves
The tart apple varieties tend to pair best with cheeses. This is another great option that combines carbs and protein for a quick, healthy snack. 1 oz sharp white cheddar = 110 calories, 7g of protein and is high in calcium, while 1 oz of parmesan cheese = 122 calories, 10.9g of protein and 31% of the daily requirement of calcium. I medium granny smith apple = 80 calories.
Cantaloupe Wedges Wrapped in Prosciutto
Slice ¼ of a medium cantaloupe into small wedges, then wrap each wedge with a small piece of prosciutto for a satisfying combination of sweet and savory flavors filled with vitamins, minerals and protein. ¼ medium cantaloupe = 38 calories, 84% of the daily requirement of vitamin c. 1 oz prosciutto (2 thin slices) = 70 calories, 8g of protein.
Medium Orange with Almonds
Oranges are packed with Vitamin C, dietary fiber and B vitamins such as: B1, pantothenic acid, and folate. Vitamin A, calcium and potassium are also contained in this healthy fruit. A medium orange contains an average of 45-60 calories. Pair it with a handful of almonds, and you have a complete, healthy snack. ¼ cup of almonds = 132 calories, 5g protein and many additional health-boosting benefits.
Grapes and Cheese
A classic pairing for healthy snacking. Layer ½ cup grapes on toothpicks with cubes of cheese for a portable, health conscious snack, or enjoy ½ cup grapes and one stick of light mozzarella string cheese = 102 calories, 1g of fiber and 7g of protein. More great ideas on snack pairings with cheese can be found at: http://mini-babybel.com/snacks
Cottage Cheese with Tomatoes, Mandarin Oranges, Peaches or Pineapple
cottage cheese and fruit complement one another very well and the options are endless. One friend says when she needs a sweet snack she mixes sugar-free jello into the cottage cheese and it satisfies her craving. 1C 1% milkfat cottage cheese = 163 calories, 2g fat, and 28g protein.
String Cheese and Pistachios
A protein-rich pairing with measurable health-boosting properties. Just a hand full of pistachios a day provides the daily recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein. For more information on the nutrition of pistachios visit http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pistachio.html
Whole-Grain Bread Slice with Natural Nut Butter
Choose whole grain breads to ensure you the most nutrients and health benefits in your snack. Natural nut butters are also preferred for healthy snacking. One slice of whole grain bread averages about 69 calories. If you want to go to the next healthy snack level, make your own whole grain bread.
Carrots and Celery with Hummus
Hummus has grown in popularity over the last 15 years, and has now become a staple in many diets. Actress Natalie Portman joked that she eats her weight in hummus every day. While we are not suggesting that, it is a perfect snack for anyone looking to fight hunger, balance blood sugar levels and boost energy due to the high content of protein and iron.
Baked Tortilla Chips with Salsa/Guacamole
Avocado has long been praised for it’s health-promoting benefits. Whether eaten plain, or as guacamole, it makes our healthy snack list. Partner with baked tortilla chips; 4 calories per 1oz serving, and salsa for a heart healthy treat.
Other honorable mentions by professional healthy-snackers include: 100% fruit leather and rice crackers with cheese.