When the munchies creep up, it can be tempting to reach for a bag of crispy, salty, greasy — and unhealthy — chips. Or how about that chocolate bar that's been teasing you since last night? When our energy levels are low, and our cravings are high, it's easy to take comfort in a quick fix. But unhealthy snacks leave you feeling sluggish and slow soon after consuming them, and more often than not, you quickly regret your choice. So, you've reached for one — or two — too many cookies. It's not too late to get back in the game. These healthy snacks for adults are great for a midmorning or midafternoon fix.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away; add some peanut butter, and keep those cravings at bay. A medium apple contains only 80 calories, but it's full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Since apples have plenty of vitamin C, an important antioxidant, they may play a role in cancer prevention. Natural peanut butter has plenty of protein, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. For those allergic to peanuts, any nut butter will do. Add your favorite toppings, such as dark chocolate chips, raisins, slivered almonds or chopped dried fruit.
Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Their fat content is high, but don't let this fool you into believing they're unhealthy. Almonds contain the "good" fat — the kind that helps to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. They're an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cell membranes and skin from free radical damage. If you feel your brain could use a boost, almonds are the perfect choice because of their riboflavin and L-carnitine content. These nutrients enhance brain activity and may even lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease. To make things a little more interesting, pair each almond with a raisin, dried cranberry or piece of dried date.
Looking for a way to pack in more greens? Look no further than green smoothies. Choose any two or three fruits and add them, along with a healthy serving of spinach or kale, to your blender. Use water or any milk of your choice to thin it out to your desired consistency. This refreshing, energizing drink keeps you focused and on track with no worries about crashing.
French fries and chips are not healthy when they're made from processed, deep-fried white potato. A good alternative? Homemade sweet potato fries or chips. Sweet potato has plenty to offer in the nutrition department. One medium sweet potato contains 438 percent of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin A. It also provides a substantial amount of vitamins B6, C, and E, and it contains many essential minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. When you bake a sweet potato at home, you get to choose which, and how much, oil to use. One tablespoon of olive oil should do the trick.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, fiber and many vitamins and minerals. One cup of chickpeas contains 29 percent of your DRI of protein. They also offer substantial amounts of vitamin K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. To make roasted chickpeas, drain and rinse one can of chickpeas, transfer them to a paper towel, and pat dry. Then put them on a baking sheet with two tablespoons of olive oil and salt plus any other seasoning blend of your choice, and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes.
Hummus is a dip or spread made from chickpeas. It has all the great nutrients that chickpeas provide, plus the nutrients from whichever vegetables you choose to dip into it. Good options for dipping veggies include celery, bell pepper, cucumber, and carrot.
Yogurt is full of probiotics that are essential for gut health and immune function. If you choose Greek yogurt over regular yogurt, you'll be getting 8 grams of protein and an incredibly creamy texture. Top with antioxidant-rich blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, and any granola of your choice for a filling and satisfying snack.
This kid-friendly snack will have your children giggling as you serve them "ants on a log." Take a piece of washed celery, spread peanut butter in the middle, and top with raisins for a nutty, satisfying crunch.
Edamame are soybeans eaten out of the pod. One cup of these beans contains 34 percent of your daily recommended intake of protein, and plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Edamame has been linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Avocados are packed with many essential nutrients and are a great source of the "good" kind of fat. They're a terrific source of vitamin K, which is important for blood and bone health, as well as vitamins B6, C and E, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Eat avocado with whole-grain bread, and you'll be adding fiber to the mix as well.
Beans and corn both contain plenty of protein, and black beans are a good source of many essential minerals as well. To make salsa, mix one can of black beans, one can of sweet corn, four chopped tomatoes, one diced red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Eat the salsa with any chip of your choice; some delicious options include tortilla, corn, sweet potato or beet chips.
Make canned tuna or salmon any way you like it, and eat with any cracker of your choice. Try adding some of these ingredients to your fish: mayonnaise or lemon juice, shredded carrot, chopped celery, chopped pickle, cucumber, olives, and spices. Both tuna and salmon are lean proteins, but salmon contains a larger amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids than tuna, and tuna has mercury, so when you can, opt for salmon. Don't cheat yourself out of a nutritious and delicious snack. When you settle for unhealthy foods, you pay the price later in your mood and energy levels, and on your waistline.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.