We are inundated with food choices each day and at times it can be extremely difficult choosing healthy options. According to the trade group Food Marketing Institute, between 1975 and 2008, the number of products in the average supermarket swelled from an average of 8,948 to almost 47,000. Before choosing the right type of healthy snacks, you should first have an understanding on what actually makes up a healthy diet. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (soon to be updated), a healthy eating plan includes:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
- Stays within your daily calorie needs.
Here are three of my personal favorites when it comes to healthy snack options. They are all quick, healthy options that you may want to check out.
Healthy Snack Bar: The Kind Bar (Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt). I like the fact that there is a high amount of fiber (7 grams) in this tasty bar. That is the highest allotment of fiber in a bar that I have come across. Your goal should be to eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories of food you consume. It also has 6 grams of protein, only 5 grams of added sugar and is gluten-free. Be aware that it contains 200 calories though, so avoid eating multiple bars in a day. You can also eat just half-a-bar if you’re calorie conscious that will reduce your intake by 100 calories. A great time to enjoy it – in my opinion – is in the afternoon, because of the nuts and high fiber content it should hold you until dinner.
Yogurt: Chobani Plain Vanilla. First thing to note – it has to be plain because anything else has a ton of added sugar, so beware. I also like the small containers rather scooping from a bigger container because it can help monitor your portion size. A small container of plain, vanilla has 100 calories including 18 grams of protein and 7 grams of added sugar. You should be eating a handful of nuts a day – so add those walnuts, almonds etc. into the mix, and for that matter why not add a scoop of plant-based protein powder in order to more than triple your protein intake. A good goal to shoot for is 20 grams of protein in meals and snacks.
Peanut butter and banana (optional: on Ezekiel bread). Just a banana with peanut butter might be your best bet. You can also put it on an a piece of Ezekiel bread (toasted) or their english muffin (both have no added sugar). Keep in mind Ezekiel bread is not gluten-free. A banana is high in vitamins and minerals and offers many health benefits while peanut butter adds some protein and healthy fat to the mix. Peanut butter is high in fat, with 16 grams in 2 tablespoons (80 percent of the total fat, however, consists of unsaturated fats). According to Harvard School of Public Health, these types of “healthy” fats can help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease because they lower cholesterol and ease inflammation. There is a reason why NBA teams, like the Boston Celtics, eat a similar, peanut butter and jam sandwich a few hours before their games.
These are three quick, healthy snack options for you that can help bridge the gap between meals especially when those hunger pangs persist. Be mindful of the amount of food you’re eating during designated snack times. Don’t turn snacking into a fourth or fifth meal which can typically happen. Enjoy!