When looking for healthy snacks it is not only important to look at the calories but, also at the nutritional value.

Healthy snacks should have protein, fiber and good fat in them.

If you ever have to choose between a low calorie, low nutrition snack and a relatively higher calorie but, extremely nutritional one, go for the latter. It will not only keep you full longer, it will also keep you fit, healthy.

These anytime, snacks are not only healthy but, also easy to find at any local store near you. And are extremely nutritious, helping you on your weight loss journey.

Healthy Snack #1 Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits & Vegetables are the healthiest snack

Fruits & Vegetables are the healthiest snack

This is definitely a no-brainer. Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest snacks you can find – low in calorie and high nutrients and fiber. And there is a very very large variety that you can choose from in this category for example:

Fruits: Grapefruit, Berries like Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, Watermelon, Banana
Vegetables: Carrot,Cucumbers, Bell Pepper, Peas, Beets, Sweet Potatoes

Trying to loose weight? Have half a grapefruit before every meal! Its hydrating, filling and packed with antioxidants. A word of caution here, do check with your doctor before you start adding grapefruit or grapefruit juice to your diet as it can interfere with some prescriptions.

Carrots are one of the easiest to find vegetables and the easiest to carry around. Carrots are on every weight watchers snack list. A cup of chopped carrots has around 62 calories, with no fat or cholesterol, very little sodium. Carrots have beta carotene, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, iron, vitamin K and fiber (whew that is a long list of good stuff!) which means, this is one all rounder you shouldn’t miss.

Or, how about some berries? Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries! Berries are super snacks because they are low in calories and high in antioxidants. In fact, a cup of blueberries has just 80 calories, while a cup of strawberries will give you 100% of your daily dose of Vitamin C along with high quantities of folic acid and fiber. Raspberries are high in vitamin K which helps build strong bones.

And then, there is nothing like a banana, especially when there are still a little raw, to keep you full for a long time. They are one of the best sources of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that gives you the full feeling. It is also a rich source of potassium that helps keep lower blood pressure.

Cucumbers and watermelons are very hydrating and can keep you cool on a hot day – not to forget low in calories. Watermelons are among the best source of lycopene that is important for good vision, healthy heart and cancer prevention.

For that extra sweet craving you can always have podded peas (just 26 calories per cup), sweet potatoes or beets!

Healthy Snack #2 Nuts

Nuts make a quick and healthy snack

Nuts are easy to carry, anytime snacks

Nuts are also easy to carry and are high in protein, fiber and fat – the 3 things needed to keep you full.
Walnuts and almonds top the list of healthy nuts. They are not only low in calorie and fat, their health benefits makes them one of the best snacks available. Just ensure you choose the unsalted, unseasoned, non-roasted variety.

Almonds

Almonds are the best snack to loose weight! Compared to other nuts, almonds have the most fiber and richest in vitamin E.
While fiber gives you that full feeling for a long time, vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant, especially great for glowing skin and shiny, healthy hair.
Including almonds in your diet also helps keep your blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) low.  So, if you are someone who needs to keep their blood sugar under control, keep a handful of almonds with you.

Approximately 23 almonds have 170 calories, 15 grams fat

Walnuts

Of all the nuts, Walnuts contain the most anti-oxidants and are also the richest in omega 3 fatty acids. So if, you are not a big fan of fish (which is the predominant source of omega 3) ensure that you include walnuts in your diet.

About 14 walnut haves have 185 calories and 18 grams of fat.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend Macadamia & Brazil Nuts as a regular snack option purely because of their high calorie & fat content. 5 to 6 nuts have approximately 185 calories and 21 grams of fat.
They do have great health benefits – like high MUFA and caner fighting minerals – so you can definitely plan to have them once in a while, just not regularly.

I found this great article which describes the health benefits of some commonly available nuts.

Healthy Snack #3 Yogurt

Greek Yogurt or Low Fat Yogurt

Greek Yogurt or Low Fat Yogurt

That is low fat or Greek yogurt. No flavored yogurts please. Yogurt is good for your muscles, bones, heart and weight loss! A 6 oz serving of Greek Yogurt has negligible (almost 0g) of saturated fat and cholesterol. Since, it is made from concentrated milk it has 20% more calcium per serving and is 30% protein – stronger bones and muscles.

For a change in texture and flavor, you can top it with fruits, flax-seeds or wheat germ!

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Healthy Snack #4 Whole wheat crackers

Whole wheat crackers: Tasty, wholesome and healthy snack.

Whole wheat crackers with healthy topping makes a wholesome snack

Mix n match whole wheat crackers with with peanut or almond butter for a healthy and filling snack. The combination of complex carbohydrates and protein help to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling full longer. Almond butter and peanut butter have similar nutritional value and they each have about 100 calories per tablespoon. Almond butter may have a bit of an advantage though, since  it has a little less saturated fat.

If, you want to indulge a bit, you could crush a whole cracker and sprinkle it on Greek yogurt with berries!

Healthy Snack #5 Popcorn

Air popped popcorn makes a tasty low cal snack

Air popped popcorn makes a tasty low cal snack

A great, healthy snack as long as its not drenched in oil or butter.It is whole grain, and provides a generous quantity of protein, minerals and vitamins, roughage and bulk. Hence, it keeps you full for a long long time. It is healthiest if its air popped or popped on a stove-top. No Microwave Popcorn please! A single serving (3 cups) contains 100 calories.

 

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Final Points

Being a working parent, other than the health (and weight loss!) benefits, my other top criteria for picking a snack are

  • Should be easy to get it or the ingredients for it from my local store.
  • It should be easy take around with me and easy to cleanup afterward.
  • Can be had at anytime of the day.

I am definitely sure there are many more snack options out there. Let me know your favorite, healthy, ready to go snack choices. Maybe we can come up with a new list or a longer one. Please leave your comments below.

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