It’s no surprise that Americans love snacks. In fact, two-thirds of American adults now snack two or more times per day. But snacking doesn’t have to sabotage your diet if you make up your mind to become a smarter snacker. Preparing snacks at home is an effective way to promote satiety, which is the feeling of fullness. Check out these healthy homemade snacks and start snacking smarter today.
Power Up With Popcorn
When was the last time you ate popcorn? If it was from the greasy, salty popcorn bucket at the movie theatre, it’s time to rethink this powerful midday pick-me-up. Popcorn is a whole grain and, provided you don’t muck it up with unhealthy add-ons, it can be quite a healthy snack.
Five cups of air popped popcorn contains 6 grams of fiber and just 150 calories. You can air pop kernels in a brown paper bag in your microwave, or use a simple counter-top air popper. If plain popcorn isn’t your passion, add Brewer’s yeast or Cajun seasoning to kick it up a notch.
Why Not Make a Mini Meal?
There’s no need to get fancy with your in-between meal snacks. Snacks can be just smaller versions of healthy meals you would make at home. Choose smaller portions of your typical entrees as an innovative way to curb those mid-day hunger pains.
Here are a few mini-meal ideas that can easily be subbed as snacks:
- Mini pizza on whole-wheat English muffin
- Almond butter and banana on whole-wheat toast
- Oatmeal made with soymilk and berries
- Reduced-fat cheese quesadilla with avocado
Bake Your Own Bars
Other than convenience, there’s no real benefit to buying bars. Granola bars tend to be high in both fat and added sugar, and protein and fiber bars often add sugars to mask the taste of their unpalatable protein and fiber powders. But if you like the portability of a bar, why not make your own? Homemade bars are a great excuse to use whole grains like whole-wheat flour, quinoa and buckwheat.
For a great on-the-go bar recipe, check out these delicious Quinoa Breakfast Bars from Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean blog.
There’s no need to spend a lot of money to have someone else prepare you a smoothie. Homemade smoothies can be among the healthiest snacks, and are a great way to use some of your purchased produce as well. But don’t limit your smoothies to just fruits and vegetables. Adding protein and fat, such as peanut butter, almond butter or avocado, can also help promote satiety.
Here’s an easy recipe from the California Avocado Association that incorporates avocados, mango and yogurt:
Power Hour Pick Me Up Smoothie
- ¼ ripe avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
- 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
- ½ cup frozen mango cubes
- 1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
- Serve immediately
When it comes to serving up snacks, you have the power to prepare healthy options in your own home. Try to incorporate whole grains, healthy fats and fresh fruits and vegetables for the perfect between-meal pick-me-up.