Let’s face it: Everybody loves to snack. Whether you want a 3:00 PM pick me up or just a few moment’s break in your busy work day, snacking can be a quick and easy energy fix.
When we think of snacking, though, our minds too often turn to candy bars, potato chips and other unhealthy and waistline-busting foods. But snacking doesn’t need to be unhealthy! In fact, the right snacks can be an integral part of your overall nutritional picture. Here are a few ideas for some easy do-it-yourself snack treats that are healthy for you. Mix them up on a Sunday and enjoy healthy snacking the whole week long.
Make Your Own Nut Mix or Trail Mix
One of the best parts about the proliferation of grocery stores focused on healthy eating is that you can create your own healthy snack mixes in the bulk section. No more do you need to compromise for pre-made snack mixes that you pick and choose your favorites out of, leaving the rest to go to waste.
For a quick protein and magnesium fix to help the 3:00 PM energy crash, try including nuts such as almonds or Brazil nuts. For a speedy burst of energy, include some dried fruit. Needing to increase your dairy intake and have a sweet tooth? Yogurt-coated raisins make a great addition to the mix. For even more healthy fats, include sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds to the mix.
Skinny Mini Pizzas
Everybody loves pizza, but not everyone loves the impact eating it can make on your health. Get the great pizza taste without the unhealthy amount of calories by making your own skinny mini-pizzas! All you’ll need are some whole grain tortillas, a jar of pizza sauce, low-fat cheese and your choice of toppings.
For an added nutritional boost, opt for toppings that are nutritionally dense. Topping such as spinach and peppers add necessary vitamins and minerals, and lean proteins such as turkey ham or chicken keep you full longer.
Gummies are a fun treat, but the high corn syrup content in traditional brands can lead to a blood sugar high, and then an ensuing crash, that leaves you craving more. Many people don’t know, though, that gummy candies are actually easy to DIY, and by making them yourself, you can cut out much of that sugary harm.
To enjoy the childlike goodness of gummies without the sugar, look up some super easy recipes for sugar-free gummies. Be sure to make plenty extra—they are sure to quickly become a fave amongst your family, friends and roommates.
Frozen Yogurt Made Fresh
We all know yogurt can be a great source of calcium as well as a delicious treat, but the problem with many commercial yogurt brands is the high sugar content, as well as potential preservatives. To enjoy a more natural yogurt treat, make your own! While this specific recipe calls for strawberries, once you have the super easy process down, you can easily experiment with your own fruit variations. You’ll get all the bone and probiotic goodness of yogurt without the added sugar or preservatives.
Flavored Mini Popcorn Bags
Popcorn can be a delish lo-cal treat, but many commercial bags are loaded with added oils and calories. Instead, invest in an air popper to make your own popcorn at home! For a grab-and-go snack, pre-fill sandwich baggies with your own flavored popcorn blends. Instead of the traditional butter and salt, try seasoning your popcorn with cinnamon, garlic and herbs, cayenne pepper or other bold flavors. Experiment and find a light and healthy herbed popcorn treat that you love.
Make Your Own Fruit and Veggie Chips
We all know chips are high in fat and added salt. But you can enjoy the savory crunch of chips without the fat and calories by using the oven and a bit of creativity with fruits and veggies! For a chip on the sweet side, simply slice apples, pears or bananas, coat lightly with sugar (or sugar substitute) and cinnamon and bake till crispy.
Craving a more traditional salty chip snack? Slice veggies such as squash and zucchini, lightly sprinkle with sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, add your favorite herb blend and bake till crispy on low in a 350-degree oven. Enjoy the salty crunch without the calories.
Get Creative with Veggie Dip
When it comes to quick, simple snacks, you can’t go wrong with raw veggies, such as carrots, cauliflower or radishes, and a nice healthy dip. You can avoid the preservatives present in commercial dips by making your own. There are many great recipes for dips from hummus to dill that will make your veggie noshing a delight.
Photo by Mc Jefferson Agloro
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