We all know what it’s like to feel super hungry, especially when you’re on a diet. As much as you probably hate the four-letter word, you have to watch what you eat to maintain proper nutrition and keep your waistline in check. Fortunately, there are delicious, healthy snacks that you can eat guilt-free that will help you make it through a workout session or until the next meal without ruining your diet.
In this post, we’ve rounded up the best healthy foods and snacks that can satisfy your tastebuds and curb your cravings while keeping your diet in check.
The Role of Healthy Snacks in Maintaining Proper Nutrition
Many people, especially those on a weight loss or cleansing diet, avoid snacks because they’re afraid they will ruin their progress and contribute to weight gain. However, most dietitians recommend healthy snacks as they provide several benefits, including maintaining consistent blood sugar and energy levels. So, as long as you don’t consider a doughnut, ice cream, candy, and French fries health snacks, here are some of the benefits you can reap:
More Nutrient Intake
As long as you snack on light foods with more proteins and carbs than fat, you can improve your essential nutrients intake. For example, opting for fruits and vegetables to curb your cravings can add Vitamin A and C, both crucial for a healthy immune system, wound healing, and better blood circulation. In contrast, foods like low-fat cheese, lean meats, and whole-grain bread can improve your protein intake for better cellular regeneration and muscle growth. Small amounts of fats from nuts and seeds can improve brain and heart function.
Better Appetite Control
Having a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner can prevent you from unnecessarily eating more or reaching unhealthy fast food. Healthy snacks make you feel sated at all times and allow you to limit your food intake in the next meal. This way, you can maintain your overall calorie intake by effectively controlling your appetite.
Consistent Energy Levels
Healthy snacks are generally made up of complex carbs and protein with minimal levels of healthy fats. They can increase your energy levels for more extended periods than doughnuts, cupcakes, chips, hot dogs, and other sugary snacks and junk food items. Unhealthy snacks increase your blood sugar levels temporarily, leaving you hungry again in less than an hour. In contrast, healthy snacks pack complex carbohydrates that are much more stable and break down slower.
Including healthy snacks in your diet can enhance your overall brain function and increase focus. Snacks like peanut butter sticks, low-fat cheese, and protein bars are popular in schools and workplaces as they get students and employees through their tasks.
7 Healthy Snacks that Don’t Ruin Your Diet
If you find getting through your day with just three meals complicated, try adding these 7 healthy snacks to your diet without ruining it:
If you didn’t already know, popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks you can eat, as long as you don’t add butter or caramel. One cup of popcorn only packs 31 calories, and you can make them in a couple of minutes using a hot pan with a lid.
Hummus is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dipping sauce made from chickpea paste, olive oil, and tahini (sesame seed paste). You can dip anything into it to maximize the flavour, including grilled chicken, kebabs, and pita bread. However, if you’re on a fitness or weight loss diet, you might want to stick to raw or roasted vegetables, such as carrots, celery, beetroot, and peppers.
3. Cereal or Protein Bars
Cereal or protein bars are often the go-to snacks for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Plus, you get many options to choose from in terms of flavour, price, active ingredients, and calories. Many people also opt for sugar-free or honey options to further reduce calories.
4. Dark Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth and love chocolate, you can curb your cravings with dark chocolate products, as long as they’re no more than an ounce. Even though dark chocolate is a much healthier alternative, you’ll still be consuming unnecessary calories. Dark chocolate can improve brain function and lower blood pressure. It’s also a great source of antioxidants. So, munching on a small bar once a week or twice is not a bad idea.
5. Peanut Butter Cookies
If you like peanut butter, skip a sandwich and make delicious cookies. You can avoid the access calories from the break and use honey or maple syrup for a sweeter taste. Add any optional ingredients, such as sesame seeds, flax seeds, or oats, and mix the batter with some salt and bake. Enjoy with a warm glass of milk or protein shake.
6. Fruit and Vegetable Chips
If your idea of snacking is munching on something crunchy like potato chips, then try vegetable chips. They pack fewer calories and are significantly lower in sodium and fat. You can also make them at home using your oven or an air fryer. Unripe banana chips, sweet potato chips, carrot fries, and zucchini chips are all worth trying.
Sometimes, we’re not craving snacks but a refreshing drink to cool us off on a hot day. While there’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned protein shake, it doesn’t pack the same nutrition as smoothies. All you need is a blender, and you can toss your favourite fruits and vegetables with yoghurt, honey, and low-fat milk.
No matter how strict your diet is, eventually, you’re going to break. However, you can ensure that instead of munching on junk foods or foods laden with sugar, you choose healthy snacks to curb your cravings and keep your diet in check. The snacks on our list may not be your go-to choices right now, but trying them once could change your mind and help maintain proper nutrition and fitness.