If you like to nibble between meals, having healthy and easy snacks on hand can help you stick to your eating plan.
Snacking between meals can boost your energy levels and curb your appetite so you’re less likely to overeat at mealtimes. The key is choosing low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods that taste good.
And eating healthy doesn’t require endless hours of meal prep. With a few basic ingredients, you can make easy, quick healthy snacks in the time it takes to watch a sitcom episode.
Whip up the following snack ideas on a weekend and store them in the refrigerator for munching during the week.
Baked kale chips
Packed with vitamins K and C as well as antioxidants, kale is a nutrient-dense choice for a snack. It also makes a great, low-calorie replacement for potato chips.
All you need is a bunch of kale, one tablespoon of olive oil and some seasoned salt. Remove the leaves from the stems. Then wash and dry the leaves. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and season to taste. Bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the edges are brown.
Homemade granola bars
In less than one hour, you’ll have your own granola bars made to order.
Combine two cups of rolled oats, one-half of a cup of shredded coconut, one-fourth of a cup of chopped nuts and two tablespoons of orange juice and mix well. Heat one-half of a cup of honey, two tablespoons of nut butter and one teaspoon of vanilla extract over low heat until well blended. Stir into the oats mixture and spread into a greased square baking dish, pressing the mixture with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.
No-bake energy bites
Combine 1 cup of rolled oats, one-half of a cup of chocolate chips, one-half of a cup of ground flax seeds, one-half of a cup of crunchy peanut butter, one-third of a cup of honey and one teaspoon of vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix until completely combined. Scoop pieces out of the mixture and shape them into balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and freeze until they are solid.
If you don’t have the time to make your own snacks, you can always buy healthy snacks to stock the refrigerator or bring to work.
One seven-ounce serving contains 20 grams of protein, 146 calories and nearly one-half of your daily B12 value.
One ounce of mixed nuts gives you 5 grams of protein, more than half of your daily requirement of selenium and one-fourth of the daily requirement of copper and manganese.
Give yourself a dose of fiber, potassium and antioxidants with a serving of in-season fruit. Fresh fruit is easy to carry and doesn’t need refrigeration.
Tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Toss a couple of pouches in your bag or lunch box for a quick snack. Eat it right out of the bag or use it as a topping for rice cakes or crackers.
Fresh vegetables are an important source of fiber and vitamins. Choose pre-cut vegetables for a quick and easy snack with minimal prep.
Toss a bag in the microwave, and in less than two minutes, you have a hot, high-fiber snack. Top with parmesan cheese for extra flavor. The healthiest microwave popcorns are low in saturated fats and have minimal ingredients.
Sliced apples with peanut butter
Slice one medium apple and pair it with one tablespoon of your favorite nut butter for a quick and easy snack for home or on the go.
Eating well is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. So are checkups with your health care provider.
Learn more about the primary care services we offer at Mercy Health.