While I am more of a 3 meals a day kind of gal, snacks always have a time and a place. These are 5 of my favorite go-to healthy snacks when I need a pick-me-up before a soccer game or late meal.
Snacking is one of those things that seems so simple. If you’re hungry, eat! Some people snack all day long; others (like my dad) never snack. I’m not much of a snacker either – I tend to eat 3 meals a day – but there are definitely times when I will pop in a snack to get me to dinner. Since we usually eat on the earlier side, I never want something very big. Typically, I’ll have a snack before a 5:30pm soccer game as I know I will be eating a later dinner and definitely need the fuel.
Here are a few of my favorites in order of lightest to heaviest (most filling).
My 5 Favorite Healthy Snacks
1. Handful of nuts or trail mix
When I just need the littlest of something to tide me over, I grab a handful of nuts or trail mix. Why? It’s the ideal snack in my opinion. For one, nuts are full of healthy fats and protein, so I find them to be more satisfying than straight carbs. Also, trail mix is delicious – whether it’s a favorite mix from Trader Joe’s, or one I throw together myself in a large mason jar, I love the mix of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy – and yes, sometimes it includes chocolate!
2. Apple with peanut butter
A plain ol’ apple, while refreshing, is a bit one dimensional and gone too fast. But eaten with a big spoonful of peanut butter it’s one of my favorite sweet-salty-crunchy snacks! Not only does the PB add flavor, but the fat and protein in the peanut butter (or any nut butter, really) helps to steady your blood sugar instead of just eating the apple carbs plain. Apple + PB is also one of Mazen’s favorites, so we share this one a lot. I’ll slice up the apple on a cutting board with a serving spoon’s worth of PB and we dip in. Birch gets apple cut in matchsticks and a tiny peanut butter spoon himself.
3. Greek yogurt with something crunchy on top
I know Greek yogurt is not a novel snack idea. But why do I consider it one of my top 5 favorite snacks? Well, for one, the water content in the yogurt sits “heavier” in my stomach, so it helps to fill me up. Between the high protein content in the yogurt plus whatever granola or granola bar I choose to crumble on top, I know I’m getting a solid ratio of macronutrients: carbs, protein, and healthy fat. I’ll only reach for this when I know dinner is a long while away because this little bowl has a tendency to take away my appetite for dinner!
4. Toast with peanut butter
If I’m headed to the gym for a morning workout and have some time between waking up and working out, peanut butter toast is my favorite mini morning meal. It always sits well in my stomach, meaning I never have to worry about if I’ll digest it well before bouncing around in class. We always have nut butter(s) and some sort of whole grain bread on hand. Plus, the complex carbs in the toast mixed with the fat and protein in the peanut butter keeps my blood sugar stable during my workout and prevents me from getting too hungry in the middle of my workout.
5. A mug of cereal
Cold cereal for breakfast isn’t one of my regular, but I love cereal as a snack. It’s also the snack I’m most likely to reach for after dinner. Maybe I had a lighter dinner and am still hungry or had to split dinner in two, sandwiching an evening workout (likely a soccer game). While it’s heavier on the carbs, the milk provides some protein and fat. (And I actually drink my milk at the end for this reason – do you?) Most of the cold cereals we keep on hand have a decent amount of fiber, so that’s always helpful to when trying to fill yourself up. And why a mug? It’s an easy way to portion control for a snack serving and I think the tall sides prevent splashing!
What are your favorite go-to snacks? Anything weird?