When you serve these goodies to your kids, don’t call them healthy snacks. Teach them healthy eating, and say they’re a treat and watch them disappear!
Some people do best eating small meals during the day to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Others stay slim by eating within a window of time like 12 hours, or even 8 hours. That may mean no snacks in the evening.
Either way, healthy snacks beat candy bars, nachos, or chocolate cake as a regular afternoon pick-me-up.
Here are some healthy snacks your family will love.
Mixed nuts. Nuts have many virtues. For starters, they stay good in your purse or car for quite a while. They fill you up. And because they balance healthy fat, protein, and fiber, they can help you lose weight. Adopt nuts as a daily habit, and you may even live longer. According to a study of more than 120,000 Dutch adults, people who ate at least 10 grams of nuts a day were less likely to have died of cancer, diabetes, heart trouble, and other common causes over the next decade.
A sliced boiled egg or sunny side up egg on whole-grain toast or a whole-wheat pita or corn tortilla. You’ll get a good dose of protein (about 11 grams) and healthy carbs, and you’ll feel like you’ve had a real meal.
Edamame. These steamed unripened soybeans are packed with the antioxidant kaempferol, and are high in folate and minerals, as well as protein.
Red bell peppers with guacamole dip. Red bell peppers are sweet and crunchy, but unlike sugar and chips they fill you with vitamin C and other antioxidants like beta carotene, capsanthin, and quercetin.
If you add guacamole dip (made from avocados), you’ll get a dose of oleic acid, which is also plentiful in olive oil — one of the healthiest fats. Oleic acid may lower your body’s level of inflammation — especially important if you’re overweight or have allergies, two conditions associated with chronic inflammation. Avocados are also high in fiber.
Greek yogurt and mixed berries. Thick Greek yogurt is high in protein as well as calcium and potassium. The berries will provide antioxidants.
Apple slices with peanut butter. Apples are sweet and peanut butter is fatty — but these foods are also nutritious and high in fiber. Peanut butter may shift your cholesterol balance for the better.
Try cottage cheese with apple slices, berries, or flax seed. Cottage cheese is high in protein and contains desirable fatty acids.
Kale chips. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around, full of fiber and antioxidants. To make chips, mix bite-sized kale leaves with olive oil and salt and bake them for no more than 15 minutes.
Dark chocolate almonds. For chocolate to be truly healthy, it needs to be very dark, at least 70 percent cocoa solids. Almonds can cut your appetite and balance your blood sugar. Paired, you’ll get lots of magnesium. Dark chocolate contains nutritious plant-based compounds called flavonoids, especially epicatechin. In a study following nearly 21,000 participants over around 12 years, those who regularly ate dark chocolate cut their chances for heart disease and stroke. Chocolate seems to reduce “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol and lower blood pressure in people with a problem, a meta-analysis of 13 studies concluded. It can also help you avoid diabetes and boost mood.
The kids aside, you need a treat too. Keep olives or olive tapenade at hand. You can mix the olives with white beans and scoop up the mixture with red pepper, carrots, or cucumber slices. You’ll be getting healthy fat, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
Other possibilities include roasted chickpeas, slices of turkey breast, sun-dried tomatoes, and ricotta cheese.
November 11, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN