Katie’s Healthy Bites: My Smarter Snack Picks

by in Uncategorized, July 19, 2009

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One thing I look forward to every day is my snacks. Some people think too much snacking can lead to weight gain, but the key is nibbling on the right things in the right amounts. Choose wisely and these daily treats can be beneficial, too.

Creating healthy snacking habits gives structure to your daily eating regimen — plus, these foods can add some important nutrients you might not get from your other meals. Better still, a healthy snack provides extra energy to get you through your busy day and it may curb your appetite, which keeps you from overdoing it at lunch or dinner.

So what do I eat? My snacks usually consist of about 1 serving of carbohydrate (about 15 grams), an ounce or so of protein and some fiber so it’s balanced. Carbohydrates offer the energy, while the protein and fiber help keep me feeling full because they take longer to digest.

Here are a few of my favorite snacks — all for under 200 calories:

  • 1/4 cup of trail mix: My combo is unsalted, roasted almonds or cashews with unsweetened, dried fruit like cranberries. This snack is packed with heart-healthy fats and antioxidants and super easy to pack when you’re on the go.
  • 1/4 cup of hummus or white bean dip: Pair it with a cup of cut-up, raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers and peppers. With the beans and veggies, you get fiber galore, so drink a big glass of water along with it.
  • A piece of fruit and some cheese: Try an apple with a wedge or two of Laughing Cow, a light string cheese or a Bonne Bell light cheese.
  • 1/2 cup of edamame: Did you know that 1/2 a cup of shelled edamame has about as much protein as 2 eggs? And no cholesterol worries!
  • An apple, whole grain crackers or a slice of wheat bread with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut or almond butter: This combo can help curb strongest cravings. (To make your own: Add your favorite dry-roasted nuts to your food processor and let it run for about 2 minutes. Add a little water to get to your desired consistency, but I like mine as is. A pinch of sea salt, and it’s ready to go!)
  • Low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt: So creamy and fresh it can seem like a guilty decadence. The yogurt packs a good amount of protein and calcium to boot.
  • Kashi granola bars: Traditional granola bars are mostly carbohydrates, but Kashi adds some soy protein to their to make them more balanced and, again, easy to grab on the run.
  • A fruit smoothie: I stick to 6 to 8 ounces and mix in low-fat yogurt, tofu and colorful fruits, especially whatever is in season.
  • 8-ounce glass of milk: This sounds simple but one serving provides carbohydrates, protein, calcium for your bones and is easy to guzzle down when you don’t have a lot of time.

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, owns HealthyBites, LLC and competed on Season 5 of The Next Food Network Star.

[Photo courtesy of enzo & lulu / Flickr]

TELL US: What are your favorite snacks?

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Comments (18)

  1. Evan says:

    I just picked up 3 boxes of kashi granola bars yesterday. i love their low sugar content and nutiness

  2. Gigi says:

    HEART THIS POST!!! But lately all the apples i have gotten at grocery stores have been grainy and have a wierd texture. Are they in season right now??

  3. katie says:

    Apples are not in season…you'll have to wait until fall for this treat. Berries, peaches, plums and nectarines are ready to be eaten and pair wonderfully with yogurt and cottage cheese for a delightful afternoon snack!

  4. Kate says:

    I love to eat apples with peanut butter! I just bought Greek yogurt because I've heard so much about it. It's delicious! My hubby doesn't like it but I think it's got the perfect texture and flavor. I love to mix it with grapes, raspberries, blueberries, and a little granola on top.

  5. Christine Smith says:

    I recently found out that I have to follow a Gluten, Wheat, Dairy & Yeast Free diet. It's really confusing to figure out what to eat. Do you have any recipes that I can make that will take into account all these restrictions. Thanks.

  6. Cheryl says:

    To Christina Smith : Sorry to hear about your restrictions. Just wanted to say that for the Gluten intolerance, there is a book out by Elizabeth Hasselbock from the View show… it is called THE G FREE DIET. G meaning gluten, and she has many recipes to follow in it. Maybe that will be a little of help for you. My mom – in – law is also gluten intolerant. Good luck!

  7. jill says:

    whole foods has New Zealand organic apples right now that are fresh. The Galas are delicious!

  8. Lydia says:

    I like to eat a snack consisting of meatless jerky (only about 75-100 calories per serving, and plenty of carbs with 10g protein and 2-3g fat) with either some cottage or low-fat string cheese and/or fruit. My other favorite snacks are, as mentioned above, hummus and veggies, nut butters and fruit/crackers, a small bowl of soup with a dollop of low-fat yogurt/sour cream, a granola bar (Kashi and Larabar are my favorites), or even some fruit with extremely dark chocolate and a small piece of cheese.

    I like to make snacks that are made up of small amounts of food from different food groups to make it seem more satisfying (like a mini-meal) and supply any nutrients I need. I especially like to incorporate protein, because we vegetarians are sometimes lacking in that department. :)

  9. Christine Smith – It's tough in the beginning but you adjust. I would like to suggest getting a couple GF cook books like Bette Hagman's bread books. There are lots on Amazon. You can also find some pretty good GF recipe sites like Karina's Kitchen (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/) . Eating out is a bit more difficult but Outback Steakhouse, Cheeseburgers In Paradise and Carrabas Grill all have GF menus (ask for one). The menus are available at their websites as well. If you have a Whole Foods or natural food store near you you can usually find a good selection of GF products including mixes (look for Anne's, Bob's Redmill, Gluten Free Pantry etc). I'm on a GF diet as well as a calorie restricted diet and I sometimes post the recipes I use on my blog at BlessedBlogger.com. If you have questions you can contact me through my site. Hope this helps :)

  10. CRP says:

    I like to take a few julienned vegetables like carrots, cucumber, bell pepper and a tiny bit of hummus or mustard and wrap it up in either a big piece of lettuce or a slice of low fat sandwich turkey meat.

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