Healthy Snacks & Recipe Tips

Healthy Snacks & Recipe Tips

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In this day and age, healthy snacking is the way to go. Not only are they good for your health, but they’re good for your tummy too!

If you’re struggling to eat well, know that you’re not alone. Here, you will find great ideas for healthy snacks – as well as the delicious recipes you can make with them.

What are Healthy Snacks?

Snacks are small amounts of food that you eat between meals. They are said to be healthy if they come with a lesser amount of calories, saturated/trans fat, added sugars, and/or salt.

Healthy snacks are ideally nutrient-dense, meaning they should be low in calories yet rich in vitamins and minerals. As such, the best healthy snacks to buy are fruits, vegetables, grains, and select dairy products.

Why is Healthy Snacking Important?

While some snacks have gotten a bad rep for their high calorie or fat content, snacking (as long as it’s healthy) is actually essential for your day-to-day life.

For one, it provides that much-needed energy in the middle of the day – especially if you have highly-physical work or are planning on exercising. At the same time, it can keep you ‘full’ so that you don’t overeat during your next meal.

Determining Healthy Snack Options

To quantify what really goes into a healthy snack, an Ohio Hospital developed the Snackwise nutrition rating system in 2004. It aims to measure the quality of each snack by evaluating 11 factors, namely:

  • Calories
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Fibre
  • Sugar
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Sodium

Whenever you buy a snack somewhere, remember that those marked green are considered the healthiest choice. Yellow snacks have average nutritional density, which means they should be eaten occasionally. As for red snacks, they are poor in nutrients and should be eaten very rarely.

What are Healthy Snacks to Buy?

What are Healthy Snacks to Buy?

Now that you know what goes in healthy snack foods, it’s time for you to go ahead and buy them. If you’re looking for healthy snacks on the go – one that you can eat right away – or even use in nutritious recipes – then make sure to stock your pantry with the following:

1. Carrots

No healthy snacks list is complete without carrots. First grown in Afghanistan in the year 900 AD, these orange-hued veggies (hint: some come in red, purple, white, or yellow) have been established staples in cuisines worldwide.

Half a cup of carrots – which are slightly sweet (though some describe them to be bitter or earthy) – contain the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 25
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Protein: 0.5 grams
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin A: 73% RDA
  • Vitamin K: 9% RDA
  • Potassium: 8% RDA
  • Vitamin C: 5% RDA
  • Calcium: 2% RDA
  • Iron: 2% RDA

2. Cauliflower

If you want to eat healthy, then you need to have cauliflower on your healthy snacks list. This Mediterranean veggie is highly versatile, as you can eat it either cooked or raw. With its nutty, mildly sweet taste, you can use it to make a variety of homemade healthy snacks, such as mash, tots – even pizza dough.

Each serving cup of cauliflower is packed with the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 25
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 100% RDA
  • Vitamin K: 25% RDA
  • Potassium: 6% RDA
  • Magnesium: 3% RDA
  • Calcium: 2% RDA
  • Iron: 2% RDA

3. Eggplant

Technically a fruit, eggplants or aubergines make for delicious yet nutritious recipes. While they’re mostly garbed in violet, some eggplants come with green, black, or red skins.

Whether you eat eggplant by itself – or add it to your recipes – you’re bound to get the following nutrients with every cup:

  • Calories: 20
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Manganese: 10% RDA
  • Folate: 5% RDA
  • Potassium: 5% RDA

4. Avocadoes

Avocadoes, which hail from Mexico, are the stars of many Latin American snacks. While it may be rich in fats – these are healthy fats that help fight inflammation, arthritis, osteoporosis, even cancer.

Even though a cup of avocadoes is high in calories, it makes up for it with this rich content:

  • Calories: 234
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Protein: 2.9 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Fibre: 3.1 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 20% RDA
  • Potassium: 20% RDA
  • Magnesium: 10% RDA

5. Bananas

Bananas, which have been cultivated since the early times, are rich in potassium and fibre. You can eat them by themselves, or use them to make bread, muffins, and smoothies.

As healthy snacks on the go, you can easily store them – or take them with you wherever you wish to go. They’re also available all year long, so they’re not subject to seasonal price increases.

Whenever you eat a medium-sized banana, you can take hold of the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 105
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Protein: 1.3 grams
  • Vitamin B6: 20% RDA
  • Vitamin C: 17%
  • Potassium: 12% RDA
  • Magnesium: 8% RDA

6. Raspberries

Raspberries are sweet, tarty fruits that come in various colours. Although the red variant remains the most popular, you can get these healthy snacks in purple, black, even gold.

Raspberries are great healthy snacks for weight loss since they are rich in fibre, antioxidants, and nutrients. To wit, each tarty fruit cup contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 65
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Fibre: 8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 53% RDA
  • Magnesium: 6% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 5% RDA
  • Iron: 4% RDA
  • Calcium: 3% RDA

7. Grapes

Raspberries, Grapes and Watermelon snacks

Grapes come in either red or green, seedless or with seed. They are some of the oldest fruits out there, having been cultivated as far back as 7,000 years ago.

No matter what colour you choose, you’ll enjoy snacking on grapes – or using them in many healthy snack recipes. After all, each cup is filled to the brim with the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 62
  • Carbohydrates: 16 grams
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Fibre: 0.8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 6% RDA
  • Potassium: 5% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 5% RDA

8. Watermelon

Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that you can eat on its own – or add to smoothies, salads, and other recipes. With its high water content, it can keep you hydrated in a delicious and healthy way.

For every cup of diced watermelon, you get a rich serving of:

  • Calories: 42
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Protein: 0.9 gram
  • Fat: 0.2 gram
  • Fibre: 0.6 gram
  • Vitamin C: 20% RDA
  • Vitamin A: 17% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 5% RDA

9. Dates

Dates, which are available in the Zahidi, Medjool, and Deglet Noor variants, are very popular in the Middle East where they are eaten during the fasting month of Ramadan.

As for the Western world, dates have become the centrepieces of many yummy pastries. As such, they are very popular ingredients especially for people in search of healthy snacks to bake.

Generally speaking, 2 pieces of dried dates contain the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 133
  • Carbohydrates: 36 grams
  • Protein: 0.8 grams
  • Fibre: 3.2 grams
  • Copper: 19% RDA
  • Potassium: 7% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 7% RDA
  • Magnesium: 6% RDA

10. Walnuts

Walnuts, which were first grown in Central Asia and the Mediterranean, are antioxidant-rich tree nuts. Apart from being healthy snacks on the go, they make for good recipe ingredients as well. From soups, cereals, to pastries, walnuts can make your meals nutritious – and delicious.

For every ounce of walnuts, you are bound to get:

  • Calories: 185
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 grams
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Fibre: 1.9 grams
  • Magnesium: 11% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 10% RDA
  • Iron: 4% RDA
  • Potassium: 3% RDA

12. Almonds

Almonds are tree nuts that have been grown since 3,000 BC. Heralded as a prized food gift in the bible, its importance is not surprising given its many health benefits. After all, reports suggest that it may help lower cholesterol levels, which in turn can decrease one’s risk of developing heart disease.

Although almonds high in calories, each ounce makes up for it with the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 165
  • Carbohydrates:  6 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Phosphorous: 11% RDA
  • Iron: 6% RDA
  • Calcium: 6% RDA
  • Potassium: 4% RDA

13. Beans

Beans are pod-borne seeds that are considered staple food sources in many cultures.  As they are rich in fibre and plant-based protein, they are good healthy snacks for kids – and adults as well.

Apart from being affordable, beans can help you make nutrient-dense snacks. To wit, a cup of boiled pinto beans contains the following:

  • Calories: 245
  • Carbohydrates: 45 grams
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Fibre: 15 grams
  • Folate: 74% RDA
  • Phosphorous: 25% RDA
  • Magnesium: 21% RDA
  • Potassium: 21% RDA
  • Iron: 20% RDA

14. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, Chia Seeds and Oatmeal snacks

Chickpeas are legumes that possess buttery, nutty, and creamy flavours. They can be snacked independently, although they are often used to make hummus.

Chickpeas are healthy snacks that come in many variants, including Desi – which is often found in India and the Middle East. Another is the Kabuli, which is frequently eaten in the US.

For every half a cup of chickpeas, you will get:

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  • Calories: 364
  • Carbohydrates: 61 grams
  • Protein: 19 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Fibre: 17 grams
  • Iron: 34% RDA
  • Magnesium: 28% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 25% RDA
  • Calcium: 10% RDA

15. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Guatemala and Mexico. They are small, flat, and oval and possess a smooth texture. As for colour, their shades range from white, black, and brown

 From thickening sauces to topping yoghurt, chia seeds make for good healthy snack ideas. After all, every ounce of chia seeds contains:

  • Calories: 138
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Protein: 4.7 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Fibre: 10 grams
  • Magnesium: 23% RDA
  • Calcium: 17% RDA
  • Iron: 12% RDA

16. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast (and all-day) food that needs only water or milk. This gluten-free superfood can be topped with other healthy snacks such as raspberries. Other good topping options include nut butter, dried fruits, and apple sauce.

With every 177-gram packet of oatmeal, you will get:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 21 grams
  • Protein: 4.2 grams
  • Fat: 2.4 grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Iron: 58% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 25% RDA
  • Vitamin A: 15% RDA
  • Calcium: 14% RDA
  • Magnesium: 11% RDA

17. Cottage Cheese

Cheese may not be the first thing that comes to mind for people who want to eat healthy. Cottage cheese, however, is of a league different from other cheeses. With its mild flavour, this fresh cheese can be used to make yummy recipes for healthy snacks.

Each cup of small curd cottage cheese contains:

  • Calories: 222
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Calcium: 18% RDA
  • Cobalamin: 16% RDA
  • Vitamin A: 6% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 5% RDA

18. Greek Yoghurt

If you’re looking for healthy snacks to buy, then you should consider purchasing Organic Greek yoghurt. For one, it’s tangier and less sweet than its ‘regular’ counterpart. And since it’s strained extensively, the loss of water and sugar gives it a thicker consistency.

Whether you plan on taking it as a filler – or perhaps, an ingredient for your recipes for healthy snacks – each 170-gram serving will give you the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 100
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Fat: 0.7 gram
  • Cobalamin: 21% RDA
  • Calcium: 18% RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 5% RDA
  • Magnesium: 4% RDA

19. Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolates are unhealthy. Case in point: dark chocolate, which is teeming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

So if you’re looking for sweet healthy snacks for work, then you should consider keeping one at work. After all, an ounce of this delicacy can give you:

  • Calories: 168
  • Carbohydrates: 12.8 grams
  • Protein: 2.2 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Fibre: 3.1 grams
  • Manganese: 27% RDA
  • Copper: 25% RDA
  • Iron: 19% RDA
  • Magnesium: 16% RDA

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t have to skip snacks to lose weight. As long as you eat nutritious food, you can stay in shape.

Get the workout energy that you need with these healthy snacks for weight loss:

1. Cottage Cheese Bowl

More than just being a good breakfast staple, organic cottage cheese is a great snack for those who wish to shed some pounds. You can mix these with fruits such as raspberries and bananas. Don’t forget to add oats on top for some crunch!

2. 5-Minute Avocado Toast

This easy, 242-calorie recipe only needs you to do 2 things. First, toast a whole grain slice. Next, top it with a mixture of avocadoes, cilantro, lime, Himalayan salt, and pepper. For more protein, you can top it with a poached egg.

3. Raspberry Ricotta Toast

If you’re craving a sweet toast, then this healthy snack idea is perfect for you. It’s delicious, filling, and contains only 392 calories. It’s also fuss-free, as it only requires whole grain bread slices, ricotta, honey, and of course, raspberries.

4. No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls

These scrumptious bites are not only low in calories, but they provide you with much workout energy too!

To make oatmeal balls, mix the natural peanut butter, honey, and oats in a bowl. Add your desired flavourings, which can include banana slices, dark chocolate chips, blueberries, or raisins. Form these into balls and chill overnight before serving/eating.

5. Chia Pudding

With chia pudding, you can give in to your sweet tooth minus the guilt. As you can keep it in the fridge for 4-5 days, it is the perfect recipe for people who don’t have a lot of prep time on their hands.

To make a healthy chia pudding, all you need to do is mix chia seeds with healthy milk (almond or macadamia), sweetener (such as honey), and Himalayan salt. Refrigerate overnight and serve with low-calorie toppings such as raspberries, bananas, and/or dark chocolate chips.

6. Watermelon Fries

Yes – you can have fries and lose weight – as long as they’re made from watermelon. All you need to do is slice your watermelon into strips. Dunk them in a sauce made with Greek yoghurt, lime zest, and honey. Apart from being filling, this healthy snack will only take you back about 50 calories. 

Healthy Snacks for Work

Healthy Snacks for Work

Now that you have a list of healthy snacks to buy, you can easily make nutritious munchers for work. Here are some recipes that you can prepare in advance at home: 

1. Cauliflower Popcorn

Miss eating popcorn? Instead of the usual corn, you can make a healthier alternative with cauliflower. Just toss the cauliflower florets in olive oil and garlic salt and bake them at 450F for 15-18 minutes.

2. Avocado Chips

Want something crispy yet healthy? Then go make avocado chips at home. The only ingredients you need for this are avocadoes, garlic powder, Himalayan salt, lemon juice, ground white pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Mix these ingredients to form a mash. Take 2 teaspoons full and spread it thinly on your cookie sheet. Bake the chips for 10-15 minutes, cool down, and serve.

3. Roasted Chickpeas

To make this healthy snack, all you need are chickpeas, olive oil, kosher salt, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Bake the chickpeas for 8-10 minutes before sprinkling them with flavourings. Bake them for another 33-35 minutes to prepare a healthy snack you can enjoy at work.

4. Creamy Garlic Hummus

No need to buy hummus from the store anymore. To make this healthy snack dip, all you need are chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin, and Himalayan salt. Just blend these ingredients well and serve with carrot sticks.

5. Avocado Hummus

Want to feast on a unique yet healthy hummus recipe? Then add some avocadoes to your usual hummus recipe. Top this with cilantro leaves and red pepper flakes and serve with carrot or zucchini sticks.

6. Paleo Granola

This gluten-free, sugar-free snack is not only delicious – it’s easy to make too!

For this healthy snack recipe, all you need are pepitas, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, pecans, and dates. Mix them with coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Bake the granola in a preheated oven for 20 minutes and cool down before serving.

Healthy Snacks for Kids

Healthy Snacks for Kids

As picky eaters, kids barely know how to eat well. Although this is the case, you can make them eat nutritious food – just as they would candies or chocolates. With these ideas for healthy snacks, anything is possible!

1. Eggplant Chips

Do your children love chips? Well, you can make them eat healthier by serving eggplant chips instead. All you need are 4 ingredients, namely eggplants, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Slice the eggplants thinly and season them with the 3 other ingredients. Bake them on lined sheets for 10-15 minutes at 450F to make them really crispy.

2. Honey-Garlic Cauliflower

This is one of the healthy snack recipes that will prod your kids to eat their veggies. All you need is a head of cauliflower that you have to bake for 20-25 minutes. The magic comes with the sauce, which is made from honey, soy sauce, garlic, lime, and Sriracha (choose natural & organic).

3. Bacon Avocado Fries

Say goodbye to unhealthy taters with this nutritious recipe. Just wrap your sliced avocadoes in veggie bacon and bake them for 15 minutes. For best results, serve with ranch dressing.

4. Apple Doughnuts

Instead of serving the usual fat-laden donuts, treat your kids to apple donuts instead. Just fashion the fruits into doughnut-like slices and top them with Greek yoghurt, dark chocolate chips, sliced almonds, and/or walnuts.

5. Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

If your kids are looking for sweet treats, then make sure to serve them with this healthy snack recipe. This easy-to-make dessert only has 4 ingredients, which are ripe bananas, dark chocolate chips, natural peanut butter, and coconut oil. It doesn’t need baking, as all you need to do is freeze the slices for an hour after making.

6. Frozen Candy Grapes

This ‘cool’ recipe is a popular kiddie snack, especially during the summer. It’s very easy to do as well, as all you need are grapes, Monk Fruit sweetener, and juiced limes.

Soak the fruit into the lime juice and refrigerate for 10 minutes.  Roll them around the Monk Fruit sweetener and freeze for 3 hours before serving.

Conclusion

Healthy snacks are nutritious food sources that shouldn’t have a lot of calories. They should be low in salt, sugars, and trans-fat as well. 

Healthy snacking is just as important as your bigger meals, as they give you that much-needed energy in between your bigger portions.

To eat well, it’s best to buy nutritious food sources such as carrots, cauliflower, avocadoes, bananas, raspberries, grapes, dates, walnuts, almonds, beans, chickpeas, chia seeds, oatmeal, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, and dark chocolate.

While these food items can be deliciously eaten on their own, they can also be used to make healthy snack recipes for you and your kids.

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Luiz Presso
Luiz Presso