A girl can eat only so many chips with dip before it starts showing in the waistline. It doesn’t matter if the chips are potato, tortilla, corn, sea salt, vegetable, sweet potato, multigrain, or mini round—there are dozens of different kinds out there, and I love them all.
For Tom and me, the most difficult part of simplifying our eating habits and eating healthy is snacking. It would be great if every time we felt the urge to nibble while watching TV, we would choose a handful of celery sticks or raw carrots. But no. Tom loves his chocolate bars while I prefer something salty like potato chips or the salty-sweet crunchy goodness of kettle corn.
Most snack foods sold today are pure junk. They taste great, but are loaded with calories and have no real nutritional value. I know this, yet who can resist supermarket snack foods when it’s so easy to open a bag and grab a handful. This reminds me of an old Rhoda joke (for those who remember Rhoda) where she says, “Why do I even bother to eat it? I should just put it on my hips right away since that’s where it’s going to go.”
Junk food is not necessarily the only culprit when it comes to packing on pounds. No matter what you’re munching on, think moderation. Even healthy snacks aren’t going to be good for you if you eat eat eat too much.
Here’s what to look for in a snack:
- Enough calories to be satisfying, but not so many that the snack becomes a meal.
- Less fat and saturated fat than other similar snacks.
- Whole grain and fiber, protein, and/or other nutrients that give the snack staying power.
- Something satisfying that appeals to your taste buds.
Healthy snacks that taste good and are good for you
This is so simple. Slice a medium apple . . . add ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese topped with a dash of cinnamon . . . and voilá! At just 185 calories, the pairing is a healthy dose of protein, calcium, and fiber; and, according to Dutch research, apples prevent strokes. Perfect. (Recipe/Photo: Trainer Momma)
Craving cheesecake? Try this combo: ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1 cup strawberries. The strawberries will satisfy your sweet tooth and serve up some Vitamin C; the protein and fat in the cottage cheese will satisfy your hunger. FYI . . . Breakstone has 4-ounce single serving sizes that make it easy to control portions. (Photo: Run Eat Play)
The next time you seriously crave a marathon munching session, reach for cucumber. A ½ cup of cucumber contains only 8 calories, so you can eat until you feel full without filling out. Add low-fat cottage cheese, a little basil and cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. (Recipe/Photo: Susie Freaking Homemaker)
Apples and Brie are a classic combination. Slice a medium apple, pair each slice with a thin slice of Brie, and top with a walnut. Bake just long enough for the cheese to melt . . . and ooh la la! This elegant combo will deliver fiber, antioxidants, and pure satisfaction. (Recipe/Photo: Project Granola Mom)
Try pairing ten multi-grain wheat crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter. So good . . . and just 193 calories. The fiber in the crackers slows digestion and leads to a steadier release of blood sugar. Smear with peanut butter, and you’ve got a heart-healthy gourmet treat. (Photo: Lee Harrelson, Cooking Light)
If you’re craving cheesy chips—split a whole wheat pita into eight wedges. Lightly coat the wedge tops with olive oil, and sprinkle with a combo of Mrs. Dash’s Italian Medley seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until light brown and crispy. Omigod good! (Recipe/Photo: Food.com)
This is simplicity at it’s finest! Banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, and goji berries. If you don’t have the nibs or berries, try a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips—remember, just a few—and dried cranberries. Or top with granola. This snack is packed with energy and so so good. (Recipe/Photo: Clean and Delicious)
Toss cooked edamame (soybean) pods with a bit of course salt for a quick, low-calorie snack. One cup of edamame delivers nearly 15 grams of protein, as well as significant amounts of fiber and heart-healthy folate. It’s just salty enough and a satisfying alternative to other sodium-packed bites. (Recipe/Photo: Delish)
If you can resist slathering it with butter and salt, popcorn is an ideal snack—low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants. Air pop the fat-free variety and sprinkle on freshly grated Parmesan and a bit of cayenne. Two cups is just 150 calories. If you prefer, snack on it plain for even less calories. (Recipe/Photo: Cooking Light)
When roasted in a hot oven, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) become super-crunchy. They’re a great low-fat substitute for nuts if you’re craving something salty. Just toss the chickpeas with olive oil and some smoked paprika. Or spice them up with cumin, dried marjoram, and ground allspice. (Recipe/Photo: Delish)
Roasted kale chips are the latest rage. So easy to make! Just toss kale leaves with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until crisp. It doesn’t get much easier than that . . . and it’s 100% guilt-free, healthy, and dee-licious! (Recipe/Photo: A Cozy Kitchen)
Craving something sweet? This will make you feel like you’re eating a decadent dessert. While the pear, full of fiber and vitamins, and the walnuts, loaded heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, add a satisfying crunch, this flavorful combo gets its rich taste from the honey and cheese. A MUST try! (Recipe/Photo: Clearly Delicious)
Any one of these will give you a lot of snack for under 200 calories. Try one or all . . . and enjoy.