Whether you’re eating 3,000 calories a day or 1,500, it’s hard not to snack periodically throughout. However, too many people tend to make poor choices when it comes to snacking, selecting foods that are high in calories, sugar and void of key nutrients. Here are some healthy, tasty snack options that won’t bust your waistline and will hold you over until it’s time for the main meal.
Cottage cheese with fruit
I’m sure many of you haven’t eaten cottage cheese in, well, decades. However, it’s the perfect power snack, containing belly-filling protein that will keep you feeling full long after you eat it. And there are a variety of ways to actually make it taste good. Cottage cheese pairs well with fruits, especially pineapple.
It also works well with nut butters and cinnamon, which turn cottage cheese into a dessert. Low in calories, a four-ounce serving of cottage cheese contains 14 grams of protein. Better yet, it’s casein protein, the slow-digesting dairy protein. Unlike whey protein, which is digested rapidly and is favorable immediately after workouts, casein protein literally takes the body hours to digest, helping you feel full longer.
Professional bodybuilders swear by the stuff, as many of them eat cottage cheese in massive amounts just before they go to bed to counteract any muscle loss during sleep. Go with Daisy 4 percent Cottage Cheese brand or Safeway’s Lucerne—both are creamy, smooth in texture and dare I say it, downright tasty.
Guacamole with chips
I thought you’d like this option. Be forewarned: It’s easy to go crazy on guac and chips—remember how much you ate while watching the Super Bowl?—so it’s important to portion this out beforehand to prevent a Nutty Professor episode. I recommend Wholly Guacamole, which you can buy in bulk at Costco.
It’s rich, creamy and best of all, it contains an abundance of avocado, which is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pair Wholly Guacamole with chips that have five or less ingredients on them—corn (or potato), salt, pepper, oil and not much else should be on the list—and you’ll have a delectable snack that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Power berry smoothie
What is a list of powerhouse snacks without a smoothie? This recipe is courtesy of health.com, and it checks in at a measly 139 calories. Ingredients include one cup of mixed berries or a berry of your choice, ½ cup of water, ¼ cup low-fat plain yogurt (I prefer Fage or Chobani), a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of unsweetened soy protein powder.
Combine the ingredients in a blender, and puree until it meets your desired consistency. The protein from the yogurt and the powder combined with the carbohydrates from the fruit truly makes this a nutritious, mouth-watering snack that will keep your energy levels up for a sustained period.
When you’re in the mood for something sweet, one or two squares of this heavenly delight is sure to hit the spot. Yes, it seems too good to be true, but dark chocolate—we’re talking the 70 percent or higher variety, folks—contain flavanols, which have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Flavonals also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.
Trader Joe’s has some of the the best dark chocolate, bar none—pun intended. My personal favorite is the Organic 73 Percent variety. It’s rich, smooth and has no added preservatives.