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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

10 Healthy Ways to Get Your Midday Food Fix

Snacks can either be a healthy eater’s dream or downfall. On one hand, between-meal eats can keep your metabolism revved up and rolling, but on the other, if you choose the wrong ones, they can easily do your eating regimen a disservice. That’s why it’s all about your healthy choices. The best snack is an appetizing and satiating one, ideally containing a protein, fiber, calcium, or antioxidants, and a number of different options can keep you satisfied while also keeping you slim.
Now, back away from the Cheetos and get ready to go grocery shopping. We’re throwing 10 examples of sensible snacking choices your way, because if you’re going to snack in between meals, you might as well keep it clean.  

10. Get Nutty

Perhaps one of the best snack choices out there is a simple handful of nuts. Don’t make the mistake of believing that nuts can’t fill you up. In fact, they promise the opposite — and that’s thanks to their high fiber content. On top of that, nuts are also full of healthy fats and vitamins, and 23 almonds only yield 162 calories, according to Self.
Or, if you prefer a combination of savory and sweet, try a handful of nuts and dry fruit. We’re talking 1 tablespoon of peanuts and 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries. Don’t knock it until you try it, and we know that it doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust us, nuts are satiating enough to make you feel satisfied with just one handful. Sometimes, less is more. 

9. Go for Yogurt

Another satiating snack is that of yogurt, whether it’s plain or of the Greek variety. Self, Womens Health and Real Simple all highlight yogurt as a healthy snack choice for all — as long as you keep your portions in control and your toppings to a minimum. Eight ounces of plain yogurt yields 110 calories and 0 grams of fat. This mix helps keep you satisfied throughout the day, so you don’t find your hand reaching itself into the cookie jar. What’s more, yogurt comes with calcium to boot, so there you go doing your body another favor.
If you want to go the Greek yogurt route, that’s fine too, just remember to practice portion control. Real Simple recommends low-fat Greek yogurt with chopped walnuts and honey, while Women’s Health is going for 1 cup of raspberries with 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon honey. Both sound like good options to us. 

8. Veggies + Dip 

Keeping it classic, a snack of veggies and dip is always a good option, too, because when in doubt, go for the foods that are the least processed and also the freshest if possible. Also, if you’re a fan of eating more rather than less, this snack is for you, as veggies are low in calories so your portion sizes can be bigger. Take carrots for example. Eat a cup of the orange things and pair it with 2 tablespoons of hummus. The fiber in the veggies will keep you full, and the hummus, whether homemade or store bought, will take the seemingly boring snack and give it a kick.
You can also always go for celery and hummus, or baby tomatoes, raw peppers, etc. The possibilities are endless, and you never lose when you eat real food. 

7. Fruit + Peanut Butter

We’re staying in the produce aisle for this next snack too, because like we said before, when it comes to sensible snacking, the fewer number of ingredients on an ingredient list the better. Luckily, fruits like apples and bananas only have one ingredient. We’ll let you do that math on your own.
For some, one banana, apple, or pear is perfectly satisfying for a snack, but for others, they need fruit plus a little something with a higher fat content to stay satiated. Enter: peanut or almond butter, otherwise known as the nutty nectar of the gods. Nut butters have a high healthy fat content, and just one tablespoon is enough to fill you up when paired with an apple, banana, or even celery. Stay mindful of your portion sizes when you have this snack, as nut butters are high in calories, but as long as you stick to one piece of fruit and one tablespoon of nut butter, it’s all good. 

6. Cheese, Fruit, and Dark Chocolate

Next up is another snack combination highlighted by Real Simple that will satisfy all of your cravings. Cheese, fruit, and dark chocolate: is there anything better? Especially in the middle of the day, this snack provides the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Real Simple recommends that you pack one piece of low-fat cheese, a small peach, and a piece of dark chocolate for your healthy snack throughout the week. Thanks to a variety of flavors, and the fat from the cheese coupled with the caffeine and sugar from the chocolate, you’ll feel perfectly satisfied (and sad) when this snack is over. 

5. Smoothie

Or, if you don’t want to chew your snack, you can simply drink it and get your nutrients all in one sip. That’s where the snack time smoothie comes in, loaded either with fruits or veggies, depending on your cravings. You can either go the green smoothie route (spinach and banana) or stick to the natural sugars with an orange berry smoothie. Here are recipe examples for both of them. Consult your snack tooth and you decide. 

4. Oatmeal

A bowl of oatmeal is also a good snack option if you hit midday and you’re craving a comforting bowl of carbs. At only 150 calories for a half cup, oatmeal doesn’t have to only be a breakfast option, and what’s more, it’s full of antioxidants and has been shown to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, so this is really a snack you don’t need to feel guilty about. Real Simple agrees. It says to have a small bowl of plain oatmeal with fresh berries and a splash of milk next time you need an afternoon pick-me-up. 

3. Hard-Boiled Egg

Or, get your omega-3s with eggs, because eggs are another breakfast food that does not only have to be consumed in the morning. These babies come loaded with protein, vitamins, and healthy fat, and they’ll keep you satiated for hours. Now, we’re not telling you to have a full Eggs Benedict breakfast the next time the clock hits 3 p.m., but a hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper — now that’s something we can get behind. 

2. Lunch Meat Rollups 

Coming in at No. 2, believe it or not, is our first mention of a snack that involves meat. That’s just proof that meat is not the only kind of food that provides satiation. But still, some consumers still crave that afternoon protein, and that’s where this snack idea for lunch meat rollups come in. Next time you have a midday meat craving, grab two slices of deli turkey and have it alongside a small cup of grapes. Sure, it’s no sandwich, but it’s also not lunch time, and this satiating snack will hold you over until your next meal. 

1. Avocado Toast

Last but not least, a final snack that involves an especially popular fruit: avocado. That’s right, you can have avocado as a snack, too, because it is chock full of healthy fat, fiber, and vitamins. However, as is the case with peanut butter, do keep in mind the high calorie content of avocados, and once again, watch your portion sizes. In order to make sure you don’t over-do it, take Self’s lead. It says to have 1 Wasa Multigrain Crispbread topped with 1 tablespoon avocado and 1 tablespoon of hummus as your morning or afternoon snack. Trust us, a little avocado goes a long way. In addition, if you’re not in the mood for crackers, you can try a half piece of whole grain toast. That works, too. Happy snacking!

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