This is a guest post by Radha Vanga from Health Beckon
Snacking is an important part of a healthy diet. Munching on snacks with the right amount of nutrients will provide you with extra energy to carry on with your daily activities.
It fuels the growth of lean muscles, boosting the metabolic rate. Snacking also helps to improve digestion and prevents you from binging on fatty foods and sugars. Healthy snacking helps to combat hunger in between meals. Munching in between your meals can reduce the calorie intake by preventing overeating at the next meal.
While snacking, you should avoid consuming sugary items like candies and soda. Choose nutrient-rich, fiber-filled foods for your snacks. Fruits and vegetables can also be considered for snacking, as they are low in fat and calories.
Here are 15 healthy snacking options that you can try out:
1. Whole Fruits:
Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, grapes and oranges can be considered for healthy snacking. Each of these is a great source of fiber, which will keep you full for a longer time. Keep an assortment of fruits handy at your home and office. Bananas come packed with the goodness of fiber and potassium, which will prevent irregular hunger pangs. Combine banana with dark chocolate for an energizing snack.
A bowl of popcorn is a healthy and guilt-free snack to satisfy your cravings. Air-popped popcorn is low in fat and calories, and contains a hefty amount of fiber to keep you full all evening. Toss some popcorn kernels in a paper bag and microwave them for a few minutes. You can top this with garlic, cheese, salt, butter and caramel. When purchasing, look for popcorn with low sodium and fat content.
Oatmeal is not just great for breakfast, but can make a perfect snack between meals too. Top oatmeal with bananas and almond butter for a sweet and antioxidant rich treat. This comforting treat is rich in magnesium, antioxidants, carbohydrates and potassium. Half a cup of oatmeal with one teaspoon of almond butter and half a banana is more than enough for an evening snack.
Yoghurt not just tastes good, but it also provides you with 20% of the recommended dietary allowance of calcium and Vitamin D. Add chopped kiwi, mango or any other seasonal fruit and sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped nuts on the yoghurt. You can also add the berries of your choice to it.
5. Granola Bar:
Granola bar is a nutritious and filling evening snack. It is rich in dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds and raisins. It provides you with ample energy to keep you energized throughout the day. These tangy and sweet bars come packed with antioxidants, Vitamin A, C, E and 115 calories.
6. Whole Grain Tortillas:
High in fiber, whole grain tortillas provide energy and staying power to carry out the day to day activities. While purchasing tortillas, avoid the ones containing excessive sugar, salt and com. You can use tortillas with almond butter, chicken or paneer bhurji. This will make a perfect afternoon snack.
7. Peanut Butter:
Spread peanut butter on apples, celery, bananas and other fresh fruits for a quick snack. Apple will boost the immune system, while peanut butter will provide you with protein. This easy-to-prepare food will make a warm, filling snack.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, prepare a tropical fruit smoothie using fresh and seasonal fruits. Whip the fruits, yoghurt and skimmed milk, and mix until smooth. This healthy milkshake will provide you with protein, Vitamin C, calcium and Vitamin A.
9. Cottage Cheese:
Cottage cheese contains high amounts of casein protein, which coagulates the stomach. It is a slow digesting food that keeps hunger at bay. Cottage cheese is versatile and can be used in a number of dishes. A half-cup serving of cottage cheese provides less than hundred calories and 14 grams of protein.
Edamame is an excellent source of protein and fiber. Buy a huge pack of edamame beans and store it at home or in your office refrigerator. Thaw them in a microwave, and add some cherry tomatoes and capsicum for a wholesome snack.
Cucumber sandwich is an excellent option for snacking. Cucumber comes packed with Vitamin K, while cheese is loaded with calcium, which is needed for stronger bones. Spread cream cheese on brown bread and lay cucumber slices on it. The kids will love you for this.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip prepared with chickpeas. Chickpeas are packed with Vitamin B6, a nutrient required for the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Serve hummus with carrots, cucumber and broccoli. You can also prepare hummus with soybeans, black-eyed peas and other beans.
13. Sweet Potato Fries:
Ditch the regular French fries and opt for the healthier sweet potato fries instead. The complex carbohydrate present in sweet potato primes the brain to absorb tryptophan. They are also packed with potassium, which helps to relax the muscles.
14. Cereal and Milk:
Cereals have enough crunch to satisfy cravings and ample fiber to keep you satisfied until the next meal. Opt for whole grain cereals that come packed with complex carbohydrates. Do not add sugar to the cereals, as it can increase your calorie intake. Choose a cereal that has at least 6 grams of fiber.
Sprouts are rich in protein, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, which can be very beneficial for the health. Make the sprouts at home or pick them up from your nearest grocery store. Prepare a quick snack by combining chopped onions, tomatoes, lemon juice and chat masala. This tasty, nutritious and low calorie snack will satiate you for a long time.
Note: Just like the rest of your meals, moderation is crucial while snacking too.
Which of these snacks are you going to try out? Do leave us a comment below.
Radha Vanga is a new blogger from India. She is a nutrition lover & ayurveda practitioner. She recently started a new blog www.healthbeckon.com to share what she has learnt with health conscious people. Follow @nutrition_in.