Many people go all the way from breakfast to lunch, or lunch to dinner, without any food between, but that often sets them up for ravenous hunger, energy crashes, and blood sugar swings (i.e. cravings) between meals. The solution can be as simple as adding a morning or afternoon snack.
Here are three tips for a healthy snack that satisfies, followed by 20 uber-easy healthy snack ideas.
3 Guidelines for Healthy Snacks
1. Choose a Mix of Complex Carbs, Protein, and Healthy Fats
An apple or a few crackers is a good start, but those aren’t going to contain much fat and protein to keep you full for long. Carbs are like a quick burst of energy (kindling on a fire) whereas fat is a long-burning source of energy (logs on a fire). Incorporating fat and protein into your healthy snacks will keep you full for longer.
2. Aim to Eat Roughly Every Three Hours
While it’s not essential to incorporate snacks — no one way of eating will work for everyone — if you find yourself getting hungry between meals, watching the clock until lunch time, or accidentally overeating when you get home, it’s a tell-tell sign your body may need more nutrients. Healthy snacks are a great way to level out blood sugar, calm cravings, and replenish energy supplies between meals. Aim to fill any meal gaps longer than 5 hours with a healthy snack, and observe how your hunger, cravings, and energy changes.
3. Watch for When Hunger Perks Up
Think of it like this: aim to eat when hunger perks up, versus waiting until you’re so ravenous that you want an entire meal, and no mere snack will satisfy. If you get to the point of hungry-hungry, it’s too late. Instead, watch for when you feel the bristles of hunger a few hours after your last meal, heed your body’s wisdom, and try one of the snacks below.
20 Healthy Snack Ideas You Can Make in 5 Minutes or Less
The list below is full of healthy snack ideas that take just moments to make. All contain a mix of complex carbs, healthy fat, and protein to fill you up, level out blood sugar, and give you the fuel you need until meal time. For clarity, I included recommended serving sizes, but your body is always the best judge; eat until you start to feel full and satisfied, even if it’s more (or less) than the suggested amounts below.
- 3 oz. smoked salmon over one sliced cucumber.
- Brown rice cake topped with a smear of peanut butter, one sliced banana, and drizzle of honey.
- Sprouted-grain toast topped with half a mashed avocado, smoked sea salt, and pepper.
- Two hard-boiled eggs topped with sea salt, pepper, and hot sauce. (Siete has a great clean one.)
- Sprouted-grain toast topped with a poached or fried egg, sea salt, and pepper.
- Half cup Greek yogurt with handful fresh blueberries and granola. (Simply Elizabeth has a great clean one.)
- Half cup Greek yogurt with handful frozen blueberries and a drizzle of honey.
- Third of a cup hummus with one cup baby carrots.
- Two tablespoons peanut butter with one cup celery.
- Third of a cup guacamole with one serving veggie chips. (Rhythm has great clean, canola-free options.)
- Apple with two tablespoons peanut butter.
- Handful fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries with two squares dark chocolate.
- 3 oz. sliced turkey (Applegate has a great nitrate-free version) over one sliced cucumber.
- Handful nuts with one piece fresh fruit.
- RX Bar or LÄRABAR.
- One serving seed crackers with hummus, turkey, or smoked salmon. (Love Mary’s Gone Crackers.)
- One slice sprouted-grain toast topped with a smear of ricotta, one sliced peach, and smoked sea salt.
- Third of a cup hummus with one serving veggie chips.
- Third of a cup guacamole with one serving plantain chips.
- Small mezze plate: handful olives, smoked salmon, salami, artichoke hearts and/or pickles.
I love a good chia seed pudding or overnight oat cup as much as the next person, but the truth is, healthy snacking doesn’t have to require much meal prep at all. By choosing a few of the healthy snack ideas above to stock your kitchen, you can stave off cravings, keep energy sky high, and feel sustained and satisfied all day long. Happy snacking!
P.S. Want help simplifying healthy eating to fit within your busy life? Or a custom plan to break free from a restrict / overeat / repeat cycle and make healthy eating work for you? Book a free discovery call here to see if we’re a fit!