Who doesn’t love snacks? Just go down the chip aisle in a grocery store and you will see how popular snacks are to Americans. I find the majority of snack foods to be high in fat grams and calories, many are simply empty calories. Finding healthy snacks often means taking the time to read the nutrition labels on packages, which can be time consuming, but you will soon learn which snacks are healthy and which ones to avoid.
Just today my husband wanted to buy a glazed nut snack, but when I pointed out that only one fourth cup contained 11 grams of fat and 140 calories he immediately placed it back on the shelf. Come on! Who eats only 1/4 cup? That is deceptive marketing in my opinion.
Not only are raw almonds delicious, but they are a healthy snack as well. I find that when I feel the munchies coming on a simple handful of almonds can make me feel full and satisfied and they stave off those hunger pangs. Raw nuts are specifically recommended by our family doctor.
Almonds are full of nutrients such as vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, selenium, copper and niacin. Studies show they can assist in regularing cholesterol levels, making them a heart smart snack. They are also high in fiber, helping to make you regular. If you have issues with constipation, almonds just might help.
One of my favorite snacks are ham roll-ups. Using sliced ham that is 98% fat free, I spread each slice with a mixture of fat free cream cheese and chopped green onions. Sometimes I will add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
I can quickly spread a fine layer of the cream cheese mixture onto the ham, roll-up and cut into slices. These will look like spirals, and the sticky cream cheese allows the roll ups to remain intact without using toothpicks. This snack is not only healthy, but it gives you needed protein.
I love beef jerky. It is flavorful, and just a few pieces satisfy my craving for a snack. Since the meat is generally a bit chewy, one bite lasts a long time, meaning I eat less and consume fewer calories.
The last time I purchased beef jerky I was amazed by how low in fat and calories it was, while being high in protein. You do have to watch the salt and the use of preservatives if you are on a low sodium diet, but these are a great snack to take while hiking or travelling.
Low Fat Popcorn
Eating a bag of popcorn that contains salt and butter is not a snack I will even consider. Instead of buying expensive microwave popcorn, I make my own for pennies. I just place popcorn kernels in a white paper bag and heat them up in the microwave. A little bit of Parmesan cheese adds nice flavor without adding many fat grams or calories, and again I am adding some protein.
Eden Vegetable Chips are a good alternative for those who crave a crispy salty bag of potato chips. I get so frustrated when I read the nutritional information on some bags of potato chips, the serving sizes are so small it can be deceptive.
Twenty five Vegetable Chips is a generous serving, and these contain only 140 calories. They contain none of those unhealthy hydrogenated oils or artificial ingredients. Instead, these chips offer healthy ingredients such as carrots, cabbage, spinach, bell peppers, parsley and lettuce, and they are seasoned with sea salt.
Homemade Juice Popsicles
Since I was a child I have enjoyed homemade popsicles. My mother used Tupperware Ice Tupps Popsicle Molds for making our own healthy popsicles, but many versions of popsicle molds are available today.
You can make them from any kinds of juices, such as orange, apple or grape. I buy frozen concentrated juices and I don’t dilute them according to the instructions. My popsicles always come out too watery when I add the recommended amount of water to my juice.
If you don’t mind consuming artificial sweeteners, you can make your popsicles from sugar free powdered drink mixes.
Make your own healthy smoothies. They are so satisfying on a hot summer day, but much healthier than a milkshake. You can buy frozen fruit puree, or simply mix your own frozen fruits with low fat yogurt, fruit juice and a banana. One of my favorite smoothies blends strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, honey and ice. It is a delicious and nutritious beverage that is very filling. If you are diabetic you need to watch the sugar content of ingredients such as honey, but you could add your own sugar alternatives.
As with all things, eat in moderation!