The main function of snacking is to satisfy natural cravings between meals and help keep your metabolism going strong. But you shouldn’t grab just any food and start munching.
Instead, your first step should be to identify exactly you have a craving for, which will prevent you from wasting calories on things your body doesn’t really want. Your second step? Figure out what healthy food will satisfy that craving.
Use the below guide to help you make every snack healthier and more delicious.
Do you crave something…CRUNCHY?
1. Raw almonds. Today you can find them in so many different varieties, including just plain, fresh almonds. Each is about 7 calories, so eat 15 or so for a healthy snack. Savor them, one at a time.
2. Kashi TLC Crunchy Granola Bars. These bars have joined Nature Valley as the go-to granola bar for health and flavor. Two bars (per package) total about 180 calories, and are available in different flavors, including Honey Toasted 7-Grain, Pumpkin Spice Flax, or Roasted Almond Crunch.
3. Cut vegetables. To make things a little more interesting, try red peppers, green peppers, carrots, celery, cauliflower, radishes, jicama, green beans, cucumbers and/or asparagus. Still not tempted? Another plus about veggies? Their calorie counts are generally so low, and nutrition so high, that it’s hard to eat too many of them.
Do you crave something…CHEWY?
1. Dried fruit. Dried apricots are probably most popular, but have you tried dried mango or papaya slices? Like apricots, they’re marvelously sweet and chewy. Too sweet? You can have roughly 10 rings of dried apple for the same calorie count, and they’re even chewier.
2. Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Bar (Fruit & Nut). This popular choice from Nature Valley is 140 calories, 25 per cent from fat. It’s filled with oats, rice, almonds, sunflower seeds and more, held together with sticky corn syrup.
3. Edamame. A half-cup of boiled soybeans is just 100 calories, but immensely satisfying and healthy. For a twist, sprinkle a little salt on top, and then several grinds of pepper.
Do you crave something…JUICY?
1. Peaches. A large peach might weigh a quarter pound or more, but it will only be 60 to 70 calories, since it’s mostly water. The trick: Buy locally grown peaches, or stop at a farm stand on your next summer road trip (we particularly love Carolina and Georgia peaches).
2. Clementines. It’s hard to believe that 14 years ago, hardly anyone knew about these marvelous citrus fruits, which are a form of mandarin orange that came in little crates from Spain each winter. Today, clementines are being grown far more widely, so expect to see them available more frequently. At 35 calories per fruit, you can eat three and that’s still a light snack, calorie-wise.
3. Cantaloupe chunks. A classic choice that always satisfying. An entire medium-size cantaloupe is…