There are so many healthy snacks around at the minute that we couldn’t possibly cover all of them, so here’s a quick rundown of some of the options.
Nuts, Seeds and Grains
These are probably the most natural, healthy snack you can have that are going to give you a protein boost at the same time. A handful of nuts can be a great shot of fibre, protein and good fats which could help curb those hunger pangs and stop you reaching for the chocolate bar. Cashew nuts have around 22g of protein per 100g. Almonds have a very similar protein content and a fraction of the calories of cashews so are a great option if you are watching your calories. Don’t forget though that all nuts are pretty high in calories due to their fat content so try to keep your portions under control.
Graze and Nakd have a great selection of snacks available but do check out the nutritional information as they can be quite high in fat if you don;t stick to the recommended portion amounts.
Seeds are another great snack which, so long as you get them unsalted, unflavoured with no other added ingredients. Despite their small size, seeds can help to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, which is pretty cool.
Chia seeds – these are a pretty trendy seed at the moment but with good reason. Chia seeds have been proven to reduce blood sugar, with ground chia seeds being proven to reduce blood sugar directly after a meal. Due to their chemical composition they are also great at reducing the symptoms of IBS and can help to regulate your bowel whether you have diarrhea or are constipated. Chia seeds are also one of the most protein rich seeds there is and their ability to absorb large amounts of liquid makes them a fantastic ‘bulker’ as you can add them to a meal and they will increase the size of the portion whilst keeping the calorie count low.
Sesame seeds – are another great snack as they also contain a healthy amount of protein. If you take them regularly they can also help with reduction in muscle damage through exercise and increased aerobic capacity.
Pumpkin seeds and Sunflower seeds – offer a great dose of monounsaturated fats and omega 6 oils, which are both important for your body to function properly. It has also been reported that they can help with the health of your heart and could also help with urinary problems. A number of studies have also shown that they can reduce blood pressure and improve menopause symptoms.
Fruit is also a healthy natural snack that you can turn to if you get the munchies. Just bear in mind if you are monitoring your calories/carbs that they do contain natural sugars so count towards your carbs for the day. Everything into consideration though, a correctly timed fruit snack can be great. A banana around 30 minutes before a workout can give you that boost of energy you’re looking for. Mix it into a protein shake and you’ve got yourself a great pre or post workout snack. An apple is pretty low in calories but team it with some peanut butter and it’s a great snack that will fill you up, give you some of your much needed good fats and see you through to your next meal. Be cautious around dried fruit as you are likely to eat a much larger portion than you would the undried version as there is no water content to help fill you up and dried fruit has a very high sugar content.
Nut butters are, quite simply, awesome. One of the best snacks of all time has to be nut butter on toast. Right? Packed with protein and tasting great, you can top it with fruit or nuts to really make it a taste sensation. Also great in shakes, spread on fruit, added to or on top of pancakes or just eaten straight out of the tub the possibilities are endless. Muscle Food have a great selection of nut butters at fantastic prices. Whilst they do stock branded nut butters we don’t think you can beat their 100% peanut butter, particularly as it’s free of oil and salt and is just giving you pure peanut butter. Peanut, almond and cashew butters as well as tahini are on offer. Powdered peanut butter is also an option which has 75% less fat than regular peanut butter. For the peanut butter purists it may not be a replacement for spreading on your toast, but with significantly lower fat you could still use it for stirring into your porridge or adding to your pancake mix. Flavoured nut butters are also available which are tasty but not a naughty as you would think given that they are flavoured with natural ingredients. Winner.
There’s something really satisfying about opening up a bag of crisps when you have the munchies. But when you’re watching what you eat, that really shouldn’t be your go to option on a regular basis. Unless, of course, you’re opening a bag of healthy crisps that aren’t going to take half your daily calories or be full of bad fats and other nasties.
People are making crisps out of really weird and wonderful things these days which are making the snack much healthier. We are a really big fan of the lentil curls and pea crisps that you can get from supermarkets now. Aldi in particular stock some really great flavours that all come in around 100 calories a bag or less and taste great without breaking the bank. If you’re putting in an order, you could give some of the options Muscle Food offers a go. They have chickpea puffs, coconut curls and even egg white crisps for you to try. They also offer a number of flavours in their protein crisps, which are less than 100 calories a bag but have an impressive 12g of protein.