My kids come home from school every day and immediately begin searching for snacks! Come to think of it, around 3 or 4 pm, I'm usually getting pretty hungry myself. Snacks can be a great way to combat hunger in between meals.
However, what do sugar-filled yogurts, Cracker Jacks, pudding, potato chips, candy, and cookies have in common? They are common snack foods that have little nutritional value while delivering lots of added sodium, sugars, and unwanted additives.
Because they are so easy to grab and eat, these pre-packaged foods have become common snack foods. People get used to eating them for convenience and think they taste good because they are accustomed to eating those levels of sodium and sugar. However, I would argue the opposite is actually true – that natural snacks really taste better!
Further, these unhealthy snacks are packaged in a visually appealing way (especially appealing to kids), and I believe that they need to be packaged that way to entice people to buy them. Believe it or not, kids truly will enjoy healthier options just as much. They will also have the added bonus of receiving the health benefits from them!
Whether you are searching for after school snacks or a mid afternoon snack for yourself, here are some easy, healthy ideas to try:
- Apple slices with a tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butter.
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with honey and homemade granola.
- Energy bar containing at least 4 grams of protein and natural ingredients, such as Larabar
- Handful of almonds with raisins, craisins or dried blueberries
- Rice cake with peanut (or other nut or soy) butter
- Cheese stick (cheddar or mozzarella) with a handful of grapes
- Air-popped popcorn sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt
- 2 slices of turkey and a slice of cheese, rolled up into a “burrito” for even more fun!
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese with pineapple tidbits or blueberries
- 2 hard-boiled eggs cut in half with the yolks removed; add 2 teaspoons of hummus to each half
- 2 celery sticks with 1 teaspoon of Greek cream cheese on each stick.
- 2 tablespoons of guacamole with tortilla chips
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of jam mixed in
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame (or 1 cup edamame in shells – don't eat the shells!) sprinkled with sea salt
- 1/4 hummus with veggies: carrots, celery sticks, peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower
To make it easier for you, we have created a graphic with all these ideas so you can download it or print it and keep it somewhere handy! Click HERE to download the graphic.
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