**Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m still in Brazil (if all goes as planned, I’m now in Trancoso). I’m excited to share another great guest post with you for today’s Foodie Friday. Enjoy!**
Hello friends of The Lyons’ Share Wellness! I’m Caroline, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, freelance writer, media spokesperson, and blogger at Sweet Foodie. I believe that good nutrition should be stress-free and fun! Megan and I were sorority sisters at Harvard and recently reconnected over our shared passion for wholesome food and healthy living.
Speaking of wholesome food, we thought it’d be helpful if I shared some of my favorite snack tips and recipes for the workweek. With a little prep, you can eat healthy all week long. Nourishing snacks help you stay awake and alert at your desk, have energy for post-work exercise, and avoid nighttime bingeing.
What are healthy snacks?
#1. They’re Balanced: Choose a mix of foods that are close to their natural state and provide at least two of three of these components: complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source (and your brain’s favorite fuel) and the fiber in complex carbs helps keep you full, prevents cancer, and regulates your bowel movements; healthy fats improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease risk of heart disease, and help you absorb certain vitamins and minerals; and protein is satisfying, important for muscle repair and growth, and may bump up your metabolism to burn extra calories.
Healthy sources of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein:
- Complex Carbs: (if there’s a label, look for at least 3g fiber per serving): Whole grain bread, cereal, crackers, tortillas, flatbreads, English muffins, frozen waffles; cooked whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, barley); oats; whole grain corn tortillas; popcorn; baked potatoes; canned pureed pumpkin; fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried); vegetables (fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried); canned beans; hummus
- Healthy Fats: Nuts and nut butters; Seeds and seed butters; ground flax seeds; flax oil; chia seeds; avocado; olives; olive oil
- Protein: Low-fat dairy (milk, plain Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese); calcium-fortified soy milk; canned beans; canned fish like tuna and salmon; edamame; soy nuts
(Remember: Snacks should combine food from at least 2 categories).
#2. They’re Big Enough: Don’t skimp on snacking with 100 calorie packs of processed sugar air. Choose nourishing snacks that are 150-200 calories if you’re following a diet below 2,000 calories/day, or 200-250 calories if your calorie needs are over 2,000 calories/day.
#3: They Fit Into Your Lifestyle: Pick snacks that taste good to you, look appealing, and are easy for you to prepare, assemble, and/or carry. Experiment with different combinations and find out what you like the best.
Here’s a list of healthy ~150-200 calorie snacks that are easy to assemble with just a few ingredients you can keep at work, or grab and go on your way out the door.
- 1/2 cup guacamole + 1 medium bell pepper, sliced
- 1 hardboiled egg + 15 Kashi 7 Grain crackers
- 2 Fiber Wasa Crispbreads + 2 tablespoons hummus + 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 1 plain non-fat Greek yogurt + 1 teaspoon honey + 12 roasted almonds
- 1 medium apple + 2 tablespoons natural nut butter
- 1 part-skim mozzarella cheese stick + 12 Kashi 7 Grain crackers
- 1 cooked sweet potato (5″ size) + 1/2 container of Greek yogurt + sprinkle of cinnamon, mashed
- 1 Doctor Kracker Klassic 3 Seed Crispbread + 1 Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light cheese
- 1 non-fat latte (12 ounces or a Starbucks Tall)
- 2 mini whole wheat pitas + 2 tablespoons hummus
- 1/2 cup carrot sticks + 1/2 cup jicama sticks raw + 1 cup celery sticks + 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat Ranch dressing, hummus, or salsa
- 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss on 2 celery sticks + 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese + 1/2 whole wheat English muffin + 1 teaspoon fruit preserves
- 1 small banana (or 1/2 medium) + 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
For more recipes, healthy stress-free tips, and inspiration, you can follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. And check out my website and blog for everything you could want to know about my writing and nutrition services.
(This post is inspired by a C&J Nutrition post – thanks to them for their starter list of healthy sources of protein, carbs, and fat.)
So tell us in the comments … What is your favorite healthy snack?