When you need a quick pick me up these six healthy and tasty snacks will help you battle the afternoon slump.
(via Prevention) Over the years, snacking has gotten a bit of a bad reputation. But keep in mind it’s not the doing — it’s the choosing. If you select nutritious foods, healthy snacking is not only a good way to stay energized throughout the day, but it will keep you feeling full and help decrease overeating during meals.
So before you bite into that candy bar during your midday slump, try one of these simple, healthy snacks. Bonus: They are fiber-rich and contain fewer than 200 calories.
Avocados may look like nothing special, but this delightful fruit packs a healthy punch — 4 grams of protein; low sugar; and loaded with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats (“good fat”). With their creamy texture avocados make a wonderful addition to salads and sandwiches, or spread some avocado on crackers and toast for a convenient snack on the go.
For a simple guacamole dip, combine 1/3 mashed avocado with 2 tablespoons chopped tomato, 1 tablespoon chopped onion and 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lime juice. Add in a pinch of garlic powder and sea salt. Serve with sliced vegetables or a handful of tortilla chips.
2. Olive Tapenade Topped Crackers
Black, green or purple, olives offer another nutritious, flavorful snack option. Not only does this fruit eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood and control blood pressure, olives supply large doses of fiber and vitamin E and function as an antioxidant.
For a tasty olive tapenade spread, pulse 8 kalamata olives, ½ teaspoon capers, ½ teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and a pinch of pepper in a blender until almost smooth. Spoon the mixture onto whole grain crackers or use as a veggie dip.
3. Peanut-Pretzel Trail Mix
For many, the ideal snack is a little salty and a little sweet. And if you want to throw something with a little crunch in, making your own trail mix is a great way to go. If you want a touch more decadent sweetness, add some dark chocolate chips — cacao is packed with flavonoids, fiber, and nutrients such as iron and magnesium.
For a peanut-pretzel trail mix combine 8 broken pretzel twists and 1 tablespoon each of peanuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cherries.
4. Parmesan-Chive Popcorn
Recent studies have shown popcorn to be an ideal healthy snack, loaded with fiber, whole grains and antioxidants — just hold off on the butter and caramel sauce! For a no-hassle, delicious addition to plain, just-popped popcorn, whisk 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons water, 2 pinches of garlic powder and 1 pinch of sea salt into a small bowl. Microwave 10 seconds and drizzle over popcorn. Toss well. Top off those fluffy kernels of yumminess with 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives.
5. Granola Bars (No Baking Required!)
Granola has long been regarded as a healthy, high-fiber breakfast staple, but don’t limit your options to a bowl — make your own granola bars. You can choose your favorite grains, nuts and fruits for an easy snack that travels well.
To make a simple, no-bake pan of bars, line an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with wax paper. Combine 1 cup each of rolled oats and organic brown rice cereal. Add ½ cup chopped pecans, 1 ½ cup dried cherries and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter with 6 tablespoons brown sugar and 3 tablespoons honey in a saucepan. Stir well, bringing to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir into granola mixture and fold in ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Transfer to the pan, cover with wax paper and press into the pan. Chill ½ hour. Makes 12 bars.
6. Berries and Yogurt
Good as a midmorning snack or a treat after dinner, yogurt is a convenient, healthy way to satisfy a sweet or savory craving. It contains nutrients including calcium and magnesium, and a single serving provides about 9 grams of protein (more if it’s Greek yogurt). The high concentration of probiotics found in yogurt also aids the digestive tract.
For a light, sweet dish, top 7 ounces of plain yogurt with ½ cup of fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and/or raspberries.
Find more nutritious (and tasty!) snack ideas at Prevention.com.