The best healthy snacks are made from nutritious foods. Processed foods like potato chips, candy bars and cookies are high in fat and sugars and won't help you lose weight. Low calorie snacks can satisfy your hunger cravings in between meals, making it easier to lose weight. Here are some healthy foods that you can snack on, even while you're trying to lose weight.
Popcorn is a very healthy snack, as long as it's not drenched in butter and salt. Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories. Air popped popcorn is the best, but you can pop it on the stove in canola or olive oil, or another oil that consists of monounsaturated fats. Check the labels on microwave popcorn, as many brands contain high levels of sodium and fat.
Nuts contain monounsaturated fats, which can lower your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, while clearing your arteries and preventing the build up of arterial plaque. Nuts are high in protein, so they help you feel full. Nuts are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E, as well as fiber and magnesium.
3. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain a lot of the same healthy nutrients as nuts. Choose low salt or salt free sunflower seeds; the salt on the shells can make this healthy snack much less healthy after all.
4. Peanut and Nut Butters
Peanut and other nut butters are rich in protein, which can help keep you feeling full in between healthy meals. You can eat peanut butter all by itself, or add it to fruit, crackers or a smoothie. Peanut butter is a great healthy snack, but don't eat too much, because it's also high in calories.
Fruit smoothies are a great healthy snack and can even be used to replace healthy lunches if you put in enough ingredients. Smoothies can contain up to 600 calories, as many as some healthy meals, and can keep you feeling full for hours.
You can make smoothies yourself in your blender at home, with ingredients like fruit, yogurt and peanut butter. Many juice bars and cafes also offer smoothies on the menu. For extra protein, ask for an added shot of whey powder. Just be advised that smoothies are often high in fructose (fruit sugar), and that sugar can lead to weight gain if it's not burned off.
6. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a healthy snack that's high in protein. An ounce of jerky contains about 80 calories, 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat.
Buy your jerky at a health food store or whole foods grocery. However, be sure to read the label, as many brands of jerky are high in sodium.
7. Low or Non Fat Yogurt
An eight ounce cup of yogurt contains about 3 grams of fat and 150 calories. Yogurt is also high in protein and a good source of dietary calcium. Some studies show that consuming three eight ounce servings of low fat yogurt each day can help you lose weight. In addition, many low fat recipes use low fat yogurt as a healthy substitute for sour cream.
If you need a burst of energy while dieting, consider munching on one of the previously mentioned snacks.