In the spirit of healthy starts on the glorious fall Monday, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite healthy snacks. Let’s kick off the week on the right foot!
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I’m a huge snacker. They sometimes replace my meals, so it’s important for me to get a lot of nutrition from my snacks. In general, most of my snacks will have 250 calories and contain at least one important dietary requirement, like protein or fiber. Another requirement is that they don’t involve a lot of preparation and are easy to bring with me everywhere (especially since I’m no longer sitting in an office these days).
1. SOMETIMES HEALTHY STAPLE: VEGGIES + DIP
Perfect For: Pretty much any occasion. I nibble on these babies whenever I want, with one important exception: before workouts. If I eat them before i workout, I feel them jumbling around the entire time.
How to Make It: Every Sunday, I chop up a whole bunch of vegetables, which I then throw in a plastic bag and take with my everywhere, along with some dips in small Tupperware. Favorite veggies include tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, carrots, snap peas and green beans.
Combinations: I try to add more nutrition with the dips, and here are some of my favorites:
- Greek Yogurt + Honey Mustard (protein bonus)
- Greek Yogurt + Avocado (healthy fats, protein bonus)
- Cottage Cheese (protein bonus)
- Peanut Butter (vitamin, protein bonus)
- Laughing Cow Cheese
2. FOR A PROTEIN KICK: EGG MUFFINS
Perfect For: Breakfast and any meal in between. I often eat a couple before working out and feel very full and energized throughout a long workout.
How to Make It: Egg Muffins are featured pretty frequently on the SHLB, and that’s because they are that genius. They’re so easy to make, and more importantly, you can make a pan in a flash and take them everywhere. Simply mix your favorite veggies or meats with 1 carton of egg beaters, pour into a greased muffin pan (1 cartons fills 1 muffin pan) and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. I usually try to make a pan every Monday morning.
Combinations: The possibilities here are endless, and I’ve written about this in the past. Here are some of my favorites:
- Laughing Cow Cheese + Sautéed peppers, mushrooms and onions + Mozzarella
- Cream Cheese + Raisins + Beets
- Ham + Peppers + Onions
- Avocado + Tomatoes + Mushrooms
- Taco Seasoning + Turkey Meat + Low fat Cheddar Cheese + Mushrooms
Nutrition: One muffin usually runs at about 50 calories, so I usually eat about 3 for a snack and to ensure I’m getting enough protein.I’m also a huge fan of hard boiled eggs for a quick protein kick when I’m on the run.
If you Want to Buy It: If you’re the ultimate lazy person (and sometimes I am), you can actually just buy them already boiled.
3. IF YOU’RE CRAVING SOMETHING SALTY: TRISCUITS + LOWFAT CHEESE OR LAUGHING COW CHEESE + PRETZELS
Perfect For: A pre-workout boost of carbs or just an afternoon pick-me-up.
How to Make It: Well, this one is pretty obvious. Cut the cheese or grab the cheese, throw salty snacks in a bag and go.
Combinations: I usually pair low fat white cheddar cheese with the Triscuits, but lately, I’ve been varying the flavor of Triscuits. Check out the new flavors on Pinterest.Brown Rice baked with Sweet Potato Roasted Sweet Onion, Brown Rice Tomato & Sweet Basil, Brown Rice baked with Red Bean Roasted Red Pepper. Yum.
It took me a hot minute to get on the Laughing Cow bandwagon, but now I’m totally there. So much variety in the light cheese wedges, and you can cook with them too. Currently, I’m hooked on Mozzarella and Sun-Dried Tomato, but I’m also excited to try their newest flavor: Light White Cheddar.
Nutrition: The power is in the protein and calcium of the cheese. Triscuits and Pretzel Goldfish aren’t going to bring you that much nutrition, but if you’re an active person, you need to eat carbs to stay energized. 1 serving of this snack is usually about 250 calories.
4. IF YOU’RE CRAVING SOMETHING SWEET: COTTAGE CHEESE + HONEY + SPICE
Perfect For: A pre-workout snack, an afternoon pick-me-up, breakfast on-the-go. You can eat this power food any time!
How to Make It: Place 1 serving cottage cheese in Tupperware, add 1 tbsp of honey, plus any spices and flavoring.
Combination: The best part of these snacks is playing with the flavor. Here are some of my faves:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice + Cinnamon
- Vanilla Extract + Cinnamon
- Apple Butter + Cinnamon
- Fruit Preserves (take out honey)
Nutrition: Cottage cheese = protein powerhouse, with 1 cup of fat free cottage cheese running at 160 calories and a whopping 26 grams of protein. That’s about half of what you need per day.
If You Want To Buy It: Chobani Flips. They don’t contain as much protein as cottage cheese, and they have A LOT of extra sugar. But, they sure are delicious. I often substitute the Key Lime Flip for dessert.
5. FOR A SWEET AND SALTY KICK: HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX
Perfect For: A long road trip, throwing in your purse and eating throughout the day. Grab a handful before a workout, too. Store-bought trail mixes are almost always too salty and fatty, so making it yourself is a much better option.
How to Make It: The key here is the popcorn, which adds volume, but doesn’t take away from the nutrition. This particular mix has Blue Diamond Blueberry and Raspberry Almonds with a little bit of dark chocolate. I happened to find this AMAZING guide on Pinterest last night that helps you think of every trail mix combination under the sun.
Nutrition: It’s all about what you put in that trail mix. Almonds and dark chocolate both offer plenty of nutritional value, and they taste good too. The Blue Diamond flavored varieties do add a bit of extra sugar, but to me, the taste is worth it. If sugar is a concern, stick with the unflavored almonds.
6. FAVORITE PRE-PACKAGED/FAST FOOD SNACKS:
Special K Pastry Crisps: These little babies taste like Pop-Tarts , without all the sugar. They don’t really ADD much, and since they run at 100 calories, I’ll usually grab for an early morning pick-me-up. They aren’t substantial enough to fill me up for more than an hour though.
Clif Kid Z Bars: A regular Cliff bar doesn’t really satisfy me in the taste department, and since these bars are created for kids, they have much better flavor. They also have a decent amount of nutritious vitamins, protein AND fiber. One bar runs at 110 – 130 calories and can fill me up easily for a few hours. Buy ‘em for you and the kiddos.
Swedish Fish: No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I’m concluding my “healthy snacks” with candy. I always carry these in my purse, because whenever I just need a sugar kick, I can grab a couple and be satisfied until its time for a meal or a more substantial snack. I’m not advocating candy on a daily basis, but sometimes a lil’ sugar goes a long way.
So, there you have it! All of my super secret, super-special Sometimes Healthy snacks!
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YOUR TURN: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SOMETIMES HEALTHY SNACK ON THE GO?