Making healthy snack choices can be a challenge for all of us, especially when our blood sugar drops and before we know it were reaching for the vending machine. Have no fear you can easily beat the 3 P.M. slump with these healthy snack ideas.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Typical restaurant fries are loaded with fat and have no nutritional value, so swap these white spuds for their beta-carotene partners, sweet potatos, and whip up a healthy and fiber rich snack that is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening side dish with dinner. Simply slice the orange spuds into fry-like stalks, spray with non-stick cooking spray and place onto a roasting pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder for a savory snack, or use cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweeter treat. Pop them into the oven at 400 degrees farenheit for 20 minutes and enjoy dipped into ketchup, Greek yogurt or hummus.
Homemade Trail Mix
Steer clear of the processed, sugar-loaded trail mix in the supermarket and have fun customizing your own. Add your favorite dried fruits and nuts like almonds, peanuts, pitted dates, dried cranberries and dark chocolate mini-chips for an easy go-to snack that you can toss into a Ziploc bag and carry in your bag at all times for when hunger strikes. Your homemade mix will be booming with potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins E and C.
A great afternoon pick-me-up. Photo: Rex Roof, Flickr
Avoid those tempting jars of bean dip and hummus in the store as they are often loaded with sodium and extra fat. Instead, create your own bean dip by combining black beans and chickpeas along with fresh herbs such as cilantro and basil, a squirt of lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. wheat germ and a hint of sea salt and pepper. It’s a healthy low-fat alternative that you can store in the fridge to use with crudites, pita chips or flatbread crackers.
Greek Yogurt Fro-Yo
Weve all seen the granola-loaded, heavily sweetened, high in fat frozen yogurt desserts that offer us meek nutritional benefits, so why not create your own healthy snack? Toss a frozen banana, Greek plain non-fat yogurt (we like Fage best!), blueberries and a drip of freshly squeezed orange juice into a blender, and add tasty toppings such as fiber-rich ground flax seeds or crushed whole grain cereal for a crunchy, cooling and satisfying treat.
Try using protein-packed Greek yogurt in your smoothies. Photo: iStock.com
Wondering why all that chomping on rice cakes isnt filling you up? Theres no fiber! Solve this snacking dilemma by creating a mock rice cake and combine rolled oats, canned pumpkin, egg whites and a pinch of cinnamon in a bowl, mix together, flatten into a pancake form and place into the microwave until your desired texture. Then top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, agave nectar, nut butter or preserves for a delicious spin on the boring, flavorless rice cakes found at the store.
Want more healthy snack ideas? Visit Amie Valpone’s site thehealthyapple.com!
Amie Valpone is a HHP and AADP certified nutritionist and author of ‘The Healthy Apple.‘