Healthy Snack Attack

Have you ever been so hungry you morphed into an evil witch? Rather than cautious, the driver ahead of you seems irritating-tortoise-like slow. No—criminal. And if she doesn’t get her act together soon, you might provide a subtle NUDGE. Or worse…

Don’t worry. If you answered ‘yes,’ you’re not alone. More likely, you’re normal. ;) Healthy snack habits can not only prevent mood mayhem, but help keep our brains sharp and energy high between meals. Choosing mostly whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, also boosts our overall nutrient intake and physical health. (Sign me up, right???) Whether you’re a veteran healthy eater or taking initial baby steps, exploring a variety of nutritious snacks can go a long way toward fulfilling your physical and emotional appetites.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Yogurt and berry parfait
  • Fresh fruit and/or veggie smoothies
  • Air-popped popcorn, seasoned with natural herbs
  • Whole grain pita chips with hummus
  • Fresh fruit salad with yogurt or nuts
  • Mixed nuts—roasted or raw
  • Whole grain toast topped with almond butter and banana slices
  • Leftover whole grain/veggie pizza
  • Yogurt, topped with granola, ground flaxseeds or trail mix
  • Mini-portion of veggie chili or lentil soup
  • Snap-peas and carrot sticks with dip
  • Fresh fruit, veggie and cheese (or tofu) plate
  • Whole grain crackers topped with hummus and tomato slices
  • Apple and banana slices topped with almond or peanut butter
  • Natural PBJ on whole grain bread, English muffin or tortilla
  • Kale chips with salsa or hummus
  • Oatmeal raisin cookie served with low-fat milk (any variety)
  • Oatmeal made with un-sweetened cocoa, cinnamon, raisins and a touch of stevia or pure maple syrup

Baked sweet potato “fries”: Slice a sweet potato into rounds or wedges. Place on a pan, coated with olive oil spray. Top with spray and desired seasoning, then bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cucumber boats: Slice a cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Fill each “boat” with healthy tuna or chicken salad.

Kale smoothie: Combine 8 oz milk of choice, 1 banana, 1 cup chopped kale, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries and a tsp of pure maple syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth, then serve over ice.

Love cooking? Try these tasty, nutritious recipes:
MayoClinic.com: Muesli Breakfast Bars
EatBetterAmerica: Whole Grain Snack Mix
Mary Elizabeth Cohen: Tortilla Wrap Chicken Salad
EatingWell magazine: Quick and Healthy Smoothie Recipes and Tips
Sally’s Baking Addiction: Apricot Pecan Granola Bars (Vegan) 

And remember—your snack choices need not always be healthy. To prevent blood sugar imbalances associated with sugary and refined grain products, like candy, pretzels and enriched bagels, pair them with protein or fiber-rich foods. In either case, moderation and pleasure are important ingredients of all diets, IMHO. ;)

Do you consider yourself a healthy snacker? What’s your favorite? Any tips or challenges to share? I love hearing from you.

Leave a comment

54 Comments

  1. I strive to be a healthy snacker (some days I am less successful). I find the key is starting at the grocery store. If I don’t stock the house with junk, I don’t eat it. Buying healthy snacks that are easy to throw together makes snacking a breeze.

    I love savory things, particularly dip, so I started mixing this yummy pesto (from Costco) in Greek yogurt. I dip veggies, whole grain tortilla chips, crackers, just about anything really, in it. The little guy thinks it is delicious. :)

    Reply
  2. The first picture with the fruit and yogurt looks sooo good!!

    Reply
  3. Okay now I am really hungry! I have a jar of walnuts on my counter for snacking. It gets me through my afternoon crash along with green tea!

    Reply
  4. I just ate breakfast and you made me hungry again! But yeah, I get REALLY moody if I don’t eat every few hours.

    Amber’s idea of pesto in greek yogurt sounds fantastic! I’m going to have to try that.

    Reply
    • LOL Guess I should’ve waited til mid-morning to post this. We humans are a persuasive bunch! Bon appetite, Susie and Samantha! Hope your cravings meet ample nutrients. ;)

      Reply
  5. Great list of healthy snacks! I often have organic baby carrots with goat cheese or organic apple slices with peanut butter. I love nuts but they have a lot of calories do I normally fon’t eat more than a few a day :-) Tea with honey is a fabulous appetite suppressor (when I had enough snacks but my brain thinks I’m still hungry).

    Reply
  6. Atkins bars–the ones with lots of protein. Oh, and an occasional HBG. :)

    Reply
  7. Love all these! My snack attack that’s healthy is Chobani raspberry yogurt…I dont know how they make something non fat so creamy! I make the sweet potator fries just like the ones above too. Yum. I simply cant buy beer either. I love creamy, heavy beer and have no willpower when its in the house..that and donuts. LOL.

    Reply
    • Knowing what snacks we can eat and enjoy without going off the deep end is wise, Donna. Hope you treat yourself to that beer elsewhere. ;) That yogurt sounds scrumptious!

      Reply
  8. I will say, I haven’t always been a healthy snacker but I am trying to convert. I think Amber said it best when she said the key is to not buy junk to begin with. For me, if it’s not in the house, I won’t bother with it. I’ve been doing a banana with 6 almonds and a pear with 6 almonds for my morning and afternoon snack and so far so good. But having a list of other options is AWESOME and yours is fab!
    One quick question, when I look at the calories in whole grain crackers or chips, they are still quite high in calories and sodium – any healthy ones you’d recommend? Cause I am a total cracker girl…
    GREAT post August! YUMMY!

    Reply
    • Natalie, I love Ry Krisp crackers and they are fairly low in calories. If you get the seasoned ones they are super yum with hummus or even cottage cheese.

      Reply
      • I like Ry Krisps, too, Tameri. And that banana/almond combo sounds terrific, Natalie!

        I prefer to look at what we get from our food and calories, rather than limit or count them. Ry Krisps work well in this regard, as they have rich amounts of fiber, which is satiating. They don’t have much in terms of vitamins and minerals—not a big issue if you’re eating lots of nutritious foods overall. Top them with veggies and hummus, and vwa-la! ;)

        A few more nutritious alternatives to salty commercial crackers:
        - Popcorn, which is a whole grain, super high in antioxidants
        - Homemade crackers
        - Homemade “chips” — slice a whole grain tortilla into triangles and bake it, spritzed with olive oil and seasoning, at about 350 F.
        - Kale chips (Look for “low-sodium” if you have high blood pressure.)
        -Kashi TLC crackers: http://www.kashi.com/products/tlc_crackers_original_7_grain

        In general, whole grain chips and crackers aren’t high in calories if you stick to reasonable portion sizes. Make sure whole grains are listed as the top ingredients, and make sure they contain fiber. Pairing them with other foods is also helpful appetite, enjoyment and nutrition-wise. Hope that helps!

      • Fahhhbulous!! Thanks to both of you for the amazing suggestions and notes. I’ll definitely fear the healthy cracker/chips less and will look for whole grain and fiber. Tks both…squeeee!!

      • I vote for Ry Krisp too!

  9. My kids know never to mess with Momma when she’s hungry or tired…

    If I need something quick and easy that I know will sustain me, a handful of nuts is perfect. Yogurt with berries is also a quick fix (provided I have a bowl of washed fresh berries available which I usually do.)

    Reply
    • Nuts make for awesome snacks! Great sources of fiber, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also have a positive impact on blood sugar levels. And you can’t go wrong with berries. :)

      Reply
  10. My downfall is snacking. I try really hard to think healthy when I go grocery shopping, but it never fails that when I reach for a snack – I grab the comfort food first. :o
    But I’m working on that bad habit by stocking my fridge with fresh fruit. Its a wonderful way to give a quick afternoon boost and its so refreshing in the summer sun. Great post and scrumptious snack recipes!

    Reply
  11. I make protein/fruit/vege smoothies every day after I run and this makes all the difference to my diet. I can be an opportunity-snacker, so I love all the ideas you listed. The key is keeping the healthy (and tasty) snacks readily available.

    Reply
  12. You’ve got some great recipes here. My fave quick snack is half a cup of low fat cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes. Yum. I’m going to try the cucumber boats today, though. They sound super delish. You have snap peas with hummus, my fave is bell peppers with hummus. Especially red peppers. Okay, now I’m hungry!

    Reply
  13. inkspeare

     /  April 24, 2012

    Thanks for sharing these. I can relate to being evil hungry. One time I waited at the doctor’s office from early morning until almost 2 pm and since I needed a blood test also I was starving. When he finally showed up all I could say was “It’s about time, your posters are looking so yummy.” He looked at me as if I was some kind of savage or cannibal and did not smile at all. I don’t go to that doctor anymore. :)

    Reply
  14. These are great ideas. Thank you! I love that cumcumber boat idea. :-)

    Reply
  15. So, you just made me hungry. LOL. Where’s the “jolt me awake” juice? That’s what I need right now. So many of your snacks looks super yummy and I think I need to try the Kale smoothie. Mmmm.

    Reply
  16. Coleen Patrick

     /  April 24, 2012

    Yum. Love all those snack ideas. If i’m hungry and need veggies/fruit, then I drop frozen fruit and some frozen kale in my vitamix. It’s quick and refreshing and then I’m not so starving that I can think more calmly about what I want to eat. Also I love a spoonful of cinnamon raisin peanut butter!

    Reply
  17. mgmillerbooks

     /  April 24, 2012

    So eating Froot Loops right out of the box isn’t healthy? Well, I do eat a lot of yogurt and trail mix to even it out ;) Great ideas here.

    Reply
  18. I love mixing yoghurt and small cut fruit. If I only chose an apple I use to walk around during snacking…. is that considered to be unhealthy?

    Reply
  19. Great ideas. Now I’m hungry too! :)

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  20. These are all great ideas August! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  21. Stacy S. Jensen

     /  April 24, 2012

    My downfall is always no or little breakfast, then snacking. Thanks for this list of ideas.

    Reply
  22. Great information, well presented. thanks august

    Reply
  23. Good info, August. Why do I read your blog every time I’m hungry? Or is it the other way around? I’ve never tried kale in a smoothie, might have to try that.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  24. What a great post and comments! This is the healthy snack mecca! Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Great post! I get hungry mid-morning and mid-afternoon and I thought that was abnormal… now I see that I am not! I will most definitely try some of these snacks – thanks August!

    Reply
  26. I am SO not a healthy snacker. Ugh. But I’m working on it….trying popcorn in a paper bag rather than Orville Redenbacher and eating yogurt every day!

    Reply
  27. Oh dear. Me? A healthy snacker? Does a cereal bar with choc chips in it count? He he ;)
    I have to say that wholegrain crackers with low-fat cottage cheese can be very yummy, although I still feel hungry afterwards ;(

    Reply
  28. This week I made up a healthy version of Waldorf salad (not high in fat and sugar like the traditional version) using yogurt. I normally don’t like nuts, but mixed together with the green apples, pineapple, apricots, and raisins I used, I find I’m enjoying them (I chose almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds). The best part is that it’s very filling for a snack, so I’m less likely to keep popping things in my mouth.

    Reply
  29. When I think about it, I am definitely a healthy snacker. I love nuts and fruit, but hummus and veggies is one of my favorites. I must admit that more often than not I will grab the potato chip bag though.

    I’m going to try the cucumber boats and the green smoothie thing. Sounds good!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Reply
  30. lynnkelleyauthor

     /  April 25, 2012

    Thanks for this post, August. Your list of healthy snacks is great. I’ll have to try some of them. I forgot about snap peas. They’re so yummy to snack on. I love to snack on almonds. Raw veggies, too. But I also like the junk, so I’m like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide snacker! Go figure!

    Reply
  31. My daughter would like that kale smoothie. I’ll give her the recipe. Thanks.

    Reply
  32. Really good stuff here! Thanks, August!

    Reply
  33. Sometimes when I’m deeply into a novel, I’ll “forget” to eat – and it’s happening more often than it used to.

    So, I end up eating “supper” early — really early — because I’m so hungry. I’ve had to add a smoothie later in the evening as my dinner, just so I don’t wake up bear-hungry — I put a lot of fruit – a lot! – and some flaxseed, yogurt, almond and soy milk (or coconut milk), and ice – blend, drink, yum! I haven’t tried kale in it yet — I’ll have to try that!

    Reply
  34. Very informative post. I turnip to a fire breathing dragon with a growling belly when I’m hungry. Conferences are the worst. Getting up early makes me more hungry. If they provide snacks it’s always sugar and bagels. I have to pack snacks like pumpkin seeds and shortbread to sustain me. :)

    Reply
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