Favourite Healthy Snacks
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
What’s better than a good snack? Snacking unhealthily is a large contributor to weight gain, but at Homestyle Fitness we think snacks can also be a good thing!
First, let’s define snacks: snacks are foods eaten between meals, generally in small portions.
Healthy snacking (eating small portions of nutritious, protein dense foods between meals to curb hunger pains) promotes fibre and antioxidant intake and gives you a boost of energy to power through until your next meal. Unhealthy snacking (mindlessly eating high calorie foods and/or large quantities of food because of boredom, stress, or habit) often contributes to weight gain. This is because the amount of calories eaten while snacking often does not affect the amount of calories eaten during a meal. This is due to the mindlessness of the snacking, or possibly emotional dependence (eating to avoid stress or other negative feelings.)
Now that we have a clear understanding of what snacking is and how your mindset and the foods you choose can impact your weight for good or bad, let’s talk about what makes a good snack.
Ideally, a good snack will keep you satiated until your next meal without increasing your calorie intake above the necessary requirement. This means it will be fairly low-calorie and high in protein and fibre. Throw in some other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and you’ve got yourself a stellar snack.
The following are some examples of good snacks that Kenton and I enjoy on a regular basis:
1. Apple and Natural Peanut Butter OR Banana and Natural Peanut Butter
Pretty basic. Fruits are nutrient dense, low calorie foods and peanut butter has protein to fill you up. Plus, they taste good together. How you choose to combine them is up to you. Just remember that peanut butter is not supposed to be the star of the show, as it is fairly calorie dense.
2. Hard Boiled Eggs
Yes, the smell bad. But they taste good, are easy to prepare ahead of time, and contain lots of high quality protein and other nutrients. Check out this article for a recipe with a whole gradient of yolk doneness.
3. Yogourt Parfaits
Combine ¼ cup plain greek yogourt, 1 tsp of maple syrup (or not if you don’t mind it a bit sour) and a couple berries of your choice. Sprinkle with Homemade Granola if you wish. Such a yummy sweet treat that’s high in protein, fibre, and antioxidants. Pro Tip: Buy your berries frozen. They are cheaper and often contain more nutrients than when you buy them fresh.
4. Homemade Granola Bars
Granola Bars are hearty and delicious. Making them yourself is much healthier than buying them pre-packaged. If you keep the bars simple enough, the cost can even be comparable. Below you will find our favourite tried and true method. The main ingredient in this snack is oats. Oats are high in soluble and insoluble fibre, which means you will feel full longer, and they contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are high in protein and lots of other nutrients. These granola bars are nutrient dense but also contain quite a few calories, so just keep in mind this is supposed to be the entirety of your snack, not the side dish.
Granola Bar Recipe:
● ½ cup peanut butter
● ½ cup honey (works better than maple syrup to keep the bars from being crumbly)
● ¼ tsp salt
● 1 tsp cinnamon
● 2 tsp vanilla
Melt the above ingredients in a saucepan. When the liquid mixture melts and becomes a bit foamy, turn the heat down and add the remaining ingredients:
● 3 cups oats
● 1 cup nuts/seeds/coconut
Continue cooking on low for a few minutes to allow the mixture to stick together. Meanwhile, line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper, with extra paper on the sides to fold over later. Add the mixture to the pan and press down firmly with large spoon or firm spatula. Then, fold the edges of the parchment paper so the top is covered. Press down firmly on the parchment paper until the mixture is packed well. The harder you pack them, the better they will turn out. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.
5. Popcorn and Apple Slices
Sometimes you need a good ole bowl of popcorn on movie night! Popcorn, untainted, is a healthy snack. It’s high in fibre and low in fat. That is, until you start loading on the butter. Keep the butter and salt to a minimum and you're good to go. Pair it with sliced apples for that irresistible juicy-dry combo.
Popcorn is one circumstance where snacking in high volumes is acceptable, because let's be honest, who only eats one handful of popcorn? To keep our calorie intake from exceeding the limit on movie night, we often have a low calorie soup for supper. This leaves room in our bellies and our calorie count for a cozy evening of popcorn, apple slices and a movie.
So there you have it! 5 of our favourite snacks to keep you going strong throughout your day (and maybe even give you something to look forward to!) Do you have any good snack ideas you'd like to share with me? Send me a message, I would love to hear from you.