Snacking seems to be the pastime of every person who ever maneuvered a sofa in front of a favorite TV show or sporting event. Most people love to snack and there are literally thousands upon thousands of choices for snack foods. Almost any sort of flavor in just about any sort of food in any sort of quantity is available out there. But there are other things to consider when deciding to indulge in a snack.
Healthy Snacks Can Be Tasty While Being Good For You
Yeah, it’s time to start thinking like a big boy or girl and taking some snack food accountability. Sure, snacking can be a wonderful, enjoyable, blissful, next-best-thing to heaven sort of a thing, but all that indulging is most likely going to have some effect on your health, and maybe your waistline.
Healthy snacks don’t have to tasteless chunks of sawdust in some inert, flavorless sauce. If all snacks were like that, nobody would have a problem with eating too many snacks. The problem and challenge for serious snackers is combining superb flavor with the benefits of healthy eating. My mission, and I did decide to accept it, was to find the top 10 best tasting, healthiest snacks out there today.
1) Sweet Maple Popcorn
Oh, this is one of my favorites. It’s simple to make and it tastes so good. Pop about 2 cups of some good air-popped popcorn. Take about 5 tablespoons of maple syrup and using a spoon, lightly drizzle the syrup over the still hot popcorn. Hot popcorn will help the maple syrup to cover more of the popcorn evenly. Add salt if you want. This healthy snack is about 150-200 calories.
2) Apple Chips
These delicious cinnamon apple treats are about 60-80 calories per ounce with 0 grams of fat. They have about 2.4 grams of fiber and have no added sugar. These chips give me the crunch I crave and have a light dusting of cinnamon. The apple available in my area are lightly salted. These are a good, healthy snack alternative to traditional, fatty potato chips.
3) Bagel Pizzas
I love this one when I really, really want that pizza taste, but not all the bad stuff that comes along with it. Take a standard size bagel, cut it in half, add tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and anything that could be used as toppings (this is where you can get pretty creative and try some new stuff). Season to taste with oregano, basil, and pepper. Pop those bad boys in a 350 degree oven or toaster oven for about five minutes and they’re ready. 2 pizzas are about 200-250 calories, depending on your toppings. That’s a lot healthier than ordering a whole pizza.
4) Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Less than 200 calories and 1 gram of fat, this is a delicious and healthy snack that can be made easily. In a cup, put some of your favorite fresh fruit in the bottom third of the cup. I like strawberries for mine. Next, add some lemon juice and some lemon zest if you like. Mix it all together so the lemon juice coats the fruit. Next, add about 10 ounces of plain non fat yogurt on top of the fruit. Sprinkle your favorite granola over the top and that’s it. These are best served while the granola is still crunchy.
5) Taco Flavored Popcorn
Similar to the maple popcorn above but with a definite difference. Pop your popcorn as usual in the microwave. Empty the popcorn into a large bowl and spritz with butter spray. Sprinkle on your favorite taco seasoning to taste. I like to add some Tabasco® or some other type of hot sauce before I add the seasoning. This gives it a really spicy flavor and it only takes a few minute to make.
6) Healthy Trail Mix
Another easy recipe, if you can really call it that. Simply combine whole-wheat pretzels, Wheat Chex®, raisins, chocolate chips, and nuts. I like pecans, but any favorite nut will do. This is so easy to make and is loaded with high-energy protein. This is another of those recipes which really lends itself to adding a dusting of your favorite seasoning.
7) Baked French Fries
Well who doesn’t love french fries? The problem with most processed or fast food french fries is they’re loaded with trans fat and contain about 600 calories or more. This quick recipe is easy to make and gives the indulgence of fries without all the fat and calories. Slice the potatoes thinly, leaving the skins intact. The potato skins contain all the essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and protein. Spray non-stick coating onto a cookie sheet, add the potato slices on the sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes. Turn these about every 15 minutes to make them crispy all over. The best part of this snack is you can add any sort of seasoning you like. I like to combine sweet potatoes with regular potatoes adding a mixture of red pepper, garlic salt, and Cajun seasoning.
8) Indoor S’Mores
Take 2 whole graham crackers and break them into four equal square sections. Take the four graham cracker sections and add a marshmallow to each one. Place these on a cookie sheet in the oven. Use only the broiler in the oven (or a toaster oven). Carefully monitor the marshmallows and when they start to toast, pull them out quickly. They can get over-toasted and burn within a few seconds. Take about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips placed in a coffee cup and microwave on medium for about a minute. Keep heating the chips in 20 second intervals until they are melted, stirring each time to avoid scorching. Drizzle the melted chocolate chips on top of each of the four marshmallow graham crackers. Fast, and easy low calorie snack that really satisfies my craving for chocolate.
9) Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwich
This one is so easy and delicious while being healthy at the same time. In a bowl combine cream cheese with about 1/4 teaspoon of honey (Note: the original recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon orange zest, but that’s not an easy thing for me. It tastes fine without the orange zest). Lightly toast two thin pieces of whole wheat bread. Spread about a tablespoon of reduced-fat cream cheese on each slice of wheat toast. Slice up two good sized strawberries and place onto the toast, combining the pieces of toast to make a sandwich. This also works well with apricots and raspberries. It’s low-fat and high in vitamin C. One of my quick and easy favorites.
10) Pimiento Cheese Spread
Another easy, quick recipe. Combine about 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 3 to 4 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise, a small jar of drained, sliced, and chopped pimientos, minced onion (to taste), and some red pepper. Combine them all together in a bowl and enjoy with low-fat wheat crackers or your celery sticks. Makes a great sandwich on whole wheat toast, too.
The key to healthy snacking is to make yourself get up and prepare food before it is eaten. The preparation is part of the whole healthy snacking experience. Also, if you have to make your snacks, its a lot less likely that you’ll want to have a snack due to the time in preparation. But if you must snack, these healthy snacks are a lot better for you than the over-processed, fatty, sugary, or salty stuff like chips, cookies, cake, or sodas.
Self.com; Light TV Munchies (accessed May 3, 2010)
KidsHealth.org; Smart Snacking (accessed May 3, 2010)
WholeLiving.com; Papaya-Berry Yogurt Parfaits (accessed May 3, 2010)
CookieMag.com; Ten Smart Healthy Snacks for Moms and Kids
Eating Well.com; Quick and Healthy Snack Recipes and Cooking Tips (accessed May 3, 2010)