Snacking can be a very healthy habit, promoting desirable changes to your weight. Incorporating snacks between your meals can help you to feel energized and prevent you from overeating at night. However, mindless snacking can lead to unwanted weight gain if snacks are too large or unhealthy choices. I’ve created this guide to provide you with the information you need to make healthy choices, along with a list of my top 12 favorite snacks!
*The portion sizes of the snacks shown are geared towards weight maintenance, not weight gain. If you're an athlete wanting to put on weight, simply increase the portion sizes of your snacks and read more here.
- Avoid grazing; be aware of what/how much you are eating. Measure out your servings rather than eating directly out of a bag or box. For example, if you are snacking on whole wheat crackers, measure out one portion from the box and put the rest away-rather than sitting with the entire box unaware of how many you’re grabbing.
- Try to include a fruit or vegetable into each snack. The fiber helps keep you full, and they contain essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Include a source of healthy fats or protein with each snack to help keep you full longer. For example, rather than having just a piece of fruit, add some nuts or nut butter to it.
- A very basic guideline for what your snacks should contain is 200-250 calories, 3g fiber or more, and 5g protein or more (note: everyone has very different needs, meet with me for your specific recommendations. For those of you looking to gain weight, read my blog here.)
- Processed and packaged “Snack foods” (i.e. chips, cookies, crackers, 100-calorie packs, etc.) tend to be very high in refined carbohydrates and low in actual nutritional value. Check out my list below for better snack options…and remember, low-calorie doesn't always mean it’s a healthy choice!
- Monitor calories coming from drinks (i.e. juice, soda, sports drinks) at snack times. Check out my blog here on rethinking your drinks...these calories can pile on! Try to stick to mostly water and unsweetened teas.
- Put a basket in your pantry for pre-portioned, ready-to-grab snacks. If you struggle with sticking to a single serving, use measuring cups and Ziploc bags to separate your own portions of nuts, seeds, air-popped popcorn, cereal, granola, etc. This way you won’t be as likely to overeat straight from the containers, and you’ll always have the right portion ready to grab on your way out the door.
To watch my video on healthy snacking, click here.
My Top 12 favorite snacks
Chia Pudding - recipe here top with your favorite fruit and either unsweetened coconut or nuts
PB + Banana Toast - 1 slice whole grain bread with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter, banana slices, and a sprinkle of hemp seeds
Hard-boiled Eggs + fresh fruit (like a cup of grapes) + sliced cucumbers (or your favorite raw veggies)
Hummus + Veggies + Cracker plate (your favorite whole grain crackers + raw veggies)
Avocado Toast - 1 slice whole grain bread + ½ an avocado + 1 egg + red pepper flakes
3 Energy balls - recipe here. Could otherwise do a pre-made fruit & nut-based bar like Larabar or RXbar.
Apple with 2 Tbsp almond butter + dark chocolate shavings on top
Apple chips (dried apples) with ~1/4 cup mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios)
Yogurt (dairy-free such as coconut or soymilk, or Siggi's dairy) with a few spoonfuls sliced almonds and fresh fruit
Plantain chips (easy to make homemade or you can find them at Trader Joe's) + “lazy guacamole” (I mash ½ an avocado with a fork and mix in garlic powder, lime juice, pepper, & the occasional diced onion)
Green Smoothie (I mix it up quite a bit, but love either soy milk/almond milk with banana/mango, almond butter/hemp seeds, & spinach/kale)
Air-popped popcorn with a small handful of nuts