Sometimes you simply get too busy to prepare and eat a healthy meal.
Having some healthy snacks on hand can be useful when this happens.
Here are 10 healthy and weight loss friendly snacks to add to your diet.
1. Mixed Nuts
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack.
They’ve been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may help prevent certain cancers, depression and other diseases.
Despite being relatively high in fat, they are very filling. Several studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation can help you lose weight.
Nuts contain the perfect balance of healthy fat, protein and fiber. They contain about 180 calories in a 1 oz (28 grams) serving, on average.
They also taste great and don’t require refrigeration, so they’re perfect for carrying with you when away from home.
2. Red Bell Pepper with Guacamole
Red bell peppers are extremely healthy.
Although all bell peppers are nutritious, red peppers are highest in antioxidants like beta carotene, capsanthin and quercetin.
They’re are also rich in vitamin C. In fact, 1 large red bell pepper contains over 300% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Pairing 1 large red bell pepper with 3 oz (85 grams) of guacamole adds healthy fat and fiber while keeping this snack’s calorie count under 200.
3. Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries
Plain Greek yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient-dense snack.
In addition to being a great source of calcium and potassium, Greek yogurt is also high in protein.
Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants around. You’ll get a good variety of antioxidants if you consume a mixture of different-colored berries.
Combining 3.5 oz (100 grams) of plain full-fat Greek yogurt with half a cup of mixed berries provides about 10 grams of protein and less than 150 calories.
4. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Apples and peanut butter taste fantastic together.
Apples are high in fiber and polyphenol antioxidants that improve gut health and reduce heart disease risk.
Peanut butter may have additional benefits for heart health. It has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
That being said, peanut butter is fairly high in calories. Although it generally hasn’t been linked to weight gain, it’s best consumed in moderation.
A medium apple with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter provides a nice balance of sweet flavor with crisp and creamy textures at under 200 calories.
5. Cottage Cheese with Flaxseeds and Cinnamon
Cottage cheese, flaxseeds and cinnamon each have impressive health benefits on their own. Together, they’re a super-healthy snack.
Cottage cheese is a high-protein food that is very filling, and full-fat varieties contain conjugated linoleic acid, which may help reduce body fat.
Flaxseeds are beneficial for weight loss, blood sugar control and may also reduce breast cancer risk.
Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar and may improve gut health.
Here’s an easy recipe that combines all three ingredients to provide about 15 grams of protein with less than 150 calories:
Cinnamon Flaxseed Pudding
• 1/2 cup cottage cheese.
• 1 tablespoon flaxseeds.
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
• Stevia or other sweetener, if desired.
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
6. Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese
Celery sticks with cream cheese are a classic low-carb snack.
Celery contains luteolin, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and may also help prevent cancer.
Adding cream cheese turns the celery sticks into a delicious and satisfying snack.
Five small celery sticks with 2 oz (60 grams) of cream cheese contain less than 200 calories.
7. Kale Chips
Kale is incredibly healthy. It’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.
These compounds decrease blood pressure and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
A 1-cup serving of raw kale provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins A, C and K.
This easy recipe for kale chips provides about 150 calories:
• 1 cup bite-sized kale leaves.
• 1 tablespoon olive oil.
• 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–15 minutes.
8. Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Dark chocolate and almonds make a rich, satisfying and portable snack.
Dark chocolate is loaded with flavanols that may lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk, provided the chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa solids.
Almonds are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and have beneficial effects on blood sugar control. Studies also show that they can reduce appetite and help you lose weight.
Both dark chocolate and almonds are high in magnesium. One ounce of each provides about 300 calories in total, depending on cocoa content.
9. Cucumber Slices with Hummus
Cucumber and hummus are nutritious and go well together.
Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin E, a compound that may have anti-cancer effects.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, olive oil and garlic, which reduce inflammation and may improve heart health.
One cup of sliced cucumbers dipped in 3.5 oz (100 grams) of hummus has about 180 calories.
10. A Piece of Fruit
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying.
Examples of fruit that are portable and can be eaten with almost no preparation include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit and oranges