We often connect snacking with being unhealthy—and it can be if we choose the wrong things. But if we’re hungry and want to keep ourselves full between meals, it’s actually a wise choice. Most healthy eating plans require snacking, and plenty of experts say that healthy mini-meals is the way to ensure we don’t make poor decisions when we’re hungry and on edge, according to a recent article from Women’s Health.
“Snacking can keep your hunger at bay, prevent overeating at meal times, and actually keep your weight in check,” says Kara Lydon, RD, author of the Nourish Your Namaste e-book and The Foodie Dietitian Blog. Lydon says the two tricks to healthy snacking are making sure the snacks are high in fiber and protein to keep you full, and to vary them so you aren’t stuck in a rut. Read on to see a rundown of the go-to healthy snacks nutritionists like Lydon choose to nosh on in-between meals.
Sliced Apple With Hummus: “The combination of carbohydrates from the apple and protein and fat from the hummus supply your cells with a constant flow of energy so you don't crave a larger meal," says Laura Cipullo, RD, author of The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet. Plus, this is a great option for busy days—grab an apple and a hummus packet for on-the-go ease.
Greek Yogurt With Almonds and Walnuts: Take one cup of plain Greek yogurt and top it with six almonds and six walnuts. The almonds keep your blood sugar at a healthy level and keep food cravings low while the walnuts supply you with omega-3 fatty acids known to create the hormone leptin, which helps give you that “full” feeling.
Cottage Cheese With Pineapple: This snack packs on the protein and is low in carbs at the same time. An added bonus: It’s a great combination of sweet and salty.
Air-Popped Popcorn: “With only 100 calories in three cups, air-popped popcorn provides a filling snack packed with fiber,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD. Plus, Palinski-Wade suggests adding toppings like cinnamon, taco seasoning, or parmesan to keep the snack fresh.
Edamame: Just one cup of this vegetable gives you eight whole grams of fiber. Not only does this help with digestion, but it also helps keep you satisfied longer.
Sweet Potato With Ricotta and Cinnamon: Craving something sweet? “You’ll get your carbs, fiber, and potassium from the potato, fat, and protein from the ricotta and an added kick of flavor from the cinnamon,” says Mary Jane Detroyer, RDN.
For more nutritionist-approved healthy snacks, visit Women’s Health, and tell us which healthy foods you snack on between meals in the comments.