Chips, cookies, soda and doughnuts—not the kind of snacks I’m talking about. Snacking does the body good; however, choosing the right snacks can sometimes be difficult. Snacking every couple of hours helps to control your appetite throughout the day. Starving yourself and diving into dinner on an empty stomach will result in overeating and consuming more calories than you need. Selecting nutritious snacks filled with fiber is key in preventing overeating. Here are seven feel good snacks that are worth trying.
Red, vibrant and sweet! Strawberries make a delicious snack and are a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Filled with antioxidants, one cup of these scrumptious berries only has 50 calories, three grams of fiber and 149% of your recommended Vitamin C intake.
I’m not talking about the carton of popcorn you purchase from the movie theater smothered with butter and grease. Did you know that a large tub of popcorn from Regal Cinemas contains 1,200 calories, 980 milligrams of sodium and 60 grams of saturated (aka bad) fat? Adding just one tablespoon of butter is an additional 130 calories. When prepared with the right ingredients, popcorn can make a very healthy snack. Steer clear of butter, oil and salt and you’ve got yourself a hearty snack. In three cups of popped popcorn there are 100 calories, one gram of fat and almost four grams of fiber.
Not the almond joy candy bar covered with chocolate and stuffed with coconut. No ma’am. I’m talking about plain old almonds. Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all nuts. Not only do they taste good, they are also very good for you. They have antioxidants, a cancer-fighting quality. These tasty delicacies contain calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E. They also have unsaturated (good) fats, which help lower your cholesterol level as well.
A handful of carrots will do the trick. Sometimes I marinate carrots in lemon juice for more flavor. The citrusy taste is quite delicious. One cup of carrots has about 60 calories and four grams of fiber. Carrots are also very abundant in Vitamin A and have some Vitamin C, as well.
Dip carrots, broccoli or your favorite vegetable in hummus. There are so many ways you can eat hummus and it’s delicious with practically anything. Hummus is an Arabic word, “himmas,” meaning chickpeas. Although very popular in the Middle East, hummus has only recently made its way to just about everyone’s refrigerator. Hummus has about 30 calories per tablespoon and is filled with great nutrients: iron, B Vitamins, calcium, fiber, protein, monosaturated fats and Vitamin C.
Rice cakes also make a wonderful little treat. I usually spread one tablespoon of peanut butter on top for more protein. Two rice cakes have 70 calories and almost two grams of fiber. Peanut butter and rice cakes are a match made in heaven.
Yogurt makes for another excellent snack. Avoid the yogurt with the fruit and syrup already added—they tend to have more sugar. Instead, jazz up your yogurt with a handful of fresh blueberries, strawberries or bananas. Yogurt is a good source of protein, Vitamin B12, potassium and zinc, to name a few.
So avoid the soda and candy machine in the afternoon for your daily “pick-me-up.” Prevent the 2 p.m. crash with one of these delicious and feel good snacks. And remember, snacks can be satisfying and nutritious—without all the unnecessary calories and guilty conscience.
By Susan Lupackino, MHS, RD, LDN | Photography by Marie McLean