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Healthy Snack Ideas and Tips
If you are trying to watch your weight, or simply trying to eat healthy, you might find it challenging to come up with healthy snack ideas that won’t add to your waistline. It turns out there is a lot more than chocolate and chips to keep in your pantry. Vitasave selected the best tips for smart snacking plus a few ideas that will help you plan snacks in advance.
EatRight Ontario recommends that a healthy snack should contain between 85 and 250 calories. Don’t forget to also consider what those calories are made of. Give preference to foods filled with fiber, protein, and healthy fats and try to minimize your intake of sugar and sodium. Aim for 10 grams of protein and close to 5 grams of fiber per snack. High protein snacks (plus exercise) will fuel the growth of lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolic rate and increases calorie burn. High fiber snacks will help to improve digestion and keep you from binging on fats and sugars. Consider portion size: it is best to serve yourself a single portion on a plate instead of eating from a box or bag. This is especially true if you are distracted while eating – for example, if you are in front of a computer or television. In order to avoid temptation, stock your fridge, pantry, and office with healthy snack options.
Now that you know the basics, here are some great snack ideas recommended by our in house holistic nutritionist:
Ditch the movie theatre popcorn for homemade instead! Coconut oil is a great oil to use because it can withstand high temperatures and it's full of healthy fats supporting metabolism, brain function, and digestive health. Season as you wish with sea salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, or even superfoods like spirulina! Check out simple instructions to make popcorn at home here.
You must know by now that we are big smoothie fans! Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a variety of nutrients that are easily absorbed and utilized by the body. This is a great post-workout option that is quick and easy to make! Want our magic smoothie formula? Focus on including fat + protein + carbohydrate + fiber to ensure you are hitting your macronutrients and to get a well-balanced meal to support your blood sugar and energy levels. Below is an example of a delicious and highly nutritiously balanced smoothie that you can try yourself at home:
1 handful of kale
1 handful of spinach
½ green apple
½ cup pineapple
1 half lemon juice
1 cup coconut water
4-inch cucumber sliced
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender, and mix up until smooth. Serve chilled.
Although most fruit is going to make a great snack, you usually want to pair it with a bit of protein to make it more satisfying and to keep your blood sugar stable. Unlike carbohydrates, which get used up relatively quickly, protein will help sustain your energy and hunger levels for a couple of hours. Choose a good quality organic peanut, cashew or almond butter as a healthy side with an apple or pear. Sprinkle some ceylon cinnamon on top which has blood sugar-stabilizing effects and provides a naturally sweet taste without adding sugar!
When choosing an energy protein bar as a snack, you should always be mindful of a few things: aim for at least 5 grams of protein, 5 grams fiber and 5 grams of sugar or less. Aim for higher protein if you are in a post-workout recovery state. Avoid highly processed bars with unnecessary fillers, artificial flavors and colors, and allergens. The Iron Vegan Bars are a great choice as they are naturally gluten-free, vegan, and contain high fiber and protein but low sugar, whilst almost tasting like candy!
Hummus is a great on the go snack as it is packed with protein, healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) and fiber which may help improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and weight control. Hummus is also a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folate, and calcium. Use hummus as a dip for veggies such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, or cucumber.
Berries are a potent source of antioxidants (they average roughly 10 times more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables) and fiber and supply the body with a healthy supply of glucose. Berries are well known as a brain superfood as they may reduce cognitive decline, improve cardiovascular health, and protect cells against oxidation. Pair them with protein-rich greek or almond yogurt and you have yourself a sustainable snack!
Kale has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason!
Kale is high in vitamin K important for blood clotting, and heart and bone health. This superfood is also a great source of calcium, magnesium, and iron which have a higher absorption rate compared to other leafy greens because their oxalate content is lower.
Not too fond of the green taste? Add kale to your morning smoothie or try making kale chips as an alternative way to get all that nutrition without compromising taste!
All you have to do is preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Destem the kale leaves, wash and dry thoroughly and drizzle coconut oil evenly on the leaves and season with spices such as sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake until crispy for about 10 to 15 minutes.
One cup of edamame, or boiled soybeans, contains 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 189 calories. A perfect snack all by itself! Serve hot or cold, season with sea salt, and enjoy. Just make sure you always buy organic soy products to avoid GMO crops.
There's no reason you can't have smaller portions of "real" food as snacks. The healthiest and most balanced snacks are the ones that start as full meals—like a bowl of soup or a plate of leftovers put together from dinner the night before. As always balance your plate with protein, fat, and carbohydrates to make it a balanced and complete snack.
1. Prepare ahead of time. Set aside a day to prep snacks for the week whether it be washing and chopping up veggie sticks, blending up protein balls, or preparing overnight oats. You will thank yourself later, we guarantee.
2. Plan and schedule. Having a plan for snacks and meals during the week can save you a lot of time, stress, and money. Instead of buying unhealthy snacks on the go you will have prepped foods that are healthy and delicious all ready to go. Take the time to get out your calendar and write down what snacks and meals you will prepare this week and make a grocery list in accordance.
3. Be prepared for emergencies. It happens to all of us; we forget to bring a snack and realize we are starving and frantically search for anything to keep us sane. Be proactive and keep a stash of raw nuts, a protein bar, or a piece of fruit in your bag at all times, just in case.
4. Keep healthy food in the kitchen. If you want to eat healthier and avoid snacking on the pop tarts or chips then simply do not buy junk food in the first place. When you get rid of temptations in the kitchen it's a lot easier to make healthier choices.