10 Snack Foods that are Actually Healthy for You

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Whole Grains

Oats

Oats (not the instant kind) pack a major protein punch with no added sugar and only around 200 calories per serving. With nearly 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber, a low but substantial amount of carbs, and very little fat, rolled oats are a great source of nutrients as well as long-lasting energy that won’t bog you down. Plus, oats are a fantastic base-flavor: Add honey, fruit, or your favorite nut butter for a completely customize-able breakfast experience. You can even make them ahead of time for a quick, on-the-go bite.

Popcorn

If you ditch the movie theater butter and mountain of salt usually accompanying this fluffy treat, popcorn can actually be a really healthy substitute for other salty snacks (so long, potato chips). Popcorn is a great source of whole grains and fiber, and because it doesn’t impact blood sugar levels, it’s even a great snack for people with diabetes. Air popped popcorn, a new trend among foodies, is an even healthier alternative to this classic snack food. Whether you choose this, the stove top, or the microwave, try topping this treat with an oil high in healthy fats (like coconut oil or olive oil) and your favorite, low-sodium seasonings (garlic powder and dried herbs, cayenne pepper with a pinch of brown sugar, a touch of sea salt and cracked black pepper… the possibilities are endless!)

Proteins

Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds

So this is a pretty large category, but all three of these ingredient types are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Unlike meat (the main thing people think of when they think of the word ‘protein’), nuts and seeds contain a lot of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help your body function naturally instead of making you feel slow and over-full. Try your favorite nut or seed butter on whole wheat toast in the morning; make a sweet dessert smoothie with peanut or hazelnut butter, dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder, and bananas; or mix together your favorite nuts, seeds, and some dried fruit for a nutrient-rich snack on the go!

Legumes

A fancier word for beans, legumes are a super healthy way to include protein, fiber, healthy fats, and mineralsin even a completely meatless diet. While you would usually think of portions of a meal – and not easy, portable snacks – when you hear the word ‘beans,’ there are actually a ton of easy, satisfying ways to snack on these wonder-foods. If you’re in the mood for something salty but want something more substantial than popcorn, try roasting chickpeas and adding your favorite seasonings for a filling, protein-packed snack. You can even combine multiple types of legumes – along with some vinegar, oil, and seasonings or fresh herbs – to create a savory salad that puts other snack foods to shame.

Dairy

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become a booming trend recently, but there are actually a lot of legitimate reasons for that. This thick, creamy, slightly-bitter treat is full of protein and probiotics (which essentially are bacteria that help your stomach function properly). Opt for low sugar, plain varieties of Greek yogurt for the most health and weight loss benefits. But what if you don’t like the taste (like me)? Try adding your own healthy flavors to yogurt, like fruit, honey, or granola, or use yogurt as a way to thicken smoothies or make quick, easy freezer pops.

Cheese

I always knew I was onto something in being obsessed with cheese. This category comes with some stipulations, though; it can’t be overly-processed, and it should be full-fat. That’s right. The protein and fat in cheese fill you up (in the best possible way), and it’s a great source of minerals for strong bones. Cheese is also one of the most versatile foods I can think of; pair it with small portions of cured meats, dried or fresh fruit, and whole grain crackers to create an inspired cheese board, or even add fruit preserves to a whole wheat grilled cheese for a bite of sweet and salty heaven.

Fruit

Pineapple

A personal favorite, pineapple is a mineral and nutrient-rich fruit that is naturally low in fat and has a healthy amount of natural sugars. It’s also hydrating and packs a sweet and tangy punch, whether enjoyed on its own or combined with other healthy ingredients (like in a smoothie). Try dried pineapple for a light, pop-able dessert or a sweet element in trail mix. Plus, pineapple may improve the smell and taste of certain body fluids released during sex, so… what’s stopping you?

Avocado

Avocados, another favorite fruit among hipsters and Instagram foodies, are super healthy and have a subtle flavor, allowing you to use them in tons of snack-tacular ways! The majority of the fat in avocados is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, so there’s no guilt; plus, they’re low-carb, full of protein, and contain a good amount of fiber and minerals. Peep this avocado toast article for some inspiration to make your own delicious, creamy spread, blend up a nutritious dessert like avocado mousse or a smoothie, or mash up some guac with tons of fresh herbs and veggies for a light but satisfying treat.

Veggies

Kale

Yet another food trend! Maybe the hipsters know a thing or two about nutrition. Kale is a dark, curly, leafy green that’s a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C and K. It has a mild flavor that can lend itself to tons of different preparations. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, add kale to your smoothies for an earthy kick of nutrient-powered energy. Looking for something a little saltier? Try baking your own crispy kale chips with any of your favorite spices for an irresistible snack that no one will believe is good for you.

Carrots

Despite their humble appearance, these hearty root vegetables are super good for you and super versatile. Carrots are high in vitamins A and C (one carrot alone will provide you with twice as much Vitamin A as is recommended daily), and contain fiber and many minerals as well. Growing up, I always loved eating carrot sticks and ranch dip. Substitute the ranch for homemade hummus and the sticks for whole, unpeeled carrots, and you’ve got a grown-up version of a childhood staple. Or, go bold – and make these spicy carrot fries to put a kick in your snack time.

Healthy ingredients are easy to find, and they’re even easier to turn into nutritious snacks that will satisfy anyone’s cravings. Whatever your dietary needs, stick to the simple stuff, and turn it into the tastiest stuff in no time at all.

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