If you’ve ever snacked your way through a jar of peanut butter in a day, you’re probably pretty convinced that snacking is your worst enemy when it comes to weight loss. But yeah, no. Snacks (you know, the healthy, well-portioned kind) can help ensure you don’t get so damn hungry you just say “screw it!” and give up on your whole diet.
Still, whipping up your own perfectly portioned snack is way easier said than done. (Honestly, who knew a serving or peanut butter was only two measly tablespoons?) Make things a whole lot easier on yourself and whip up these nutritionist-approved best healthy snacks for weight-loss snacks instead.
1. Trail mix
“My ideal healthy snack combines a little of each of the macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fats,” says dietitian Kath Younger. “I love to rely on the combination of nuts and fruits, either fresh fruit or dried fruit for a longer shelf life. A small handful of trail mix is one of my favourite snacks that won’t spoil my appetite for my next meal.”
Make it: Combine equal parts unsweetened dried fruit and unsalted roasted nuts (sorry, no M&Ms this time). Reach for 1/4 cup of the mixture when you need a boost.
Per serving: 682kJ, 9g fat (1 g saturated), 19g carbs, 13g sugar, 3mg sodium, 2g fibre, 5g protein.
2. Yoghurt with nuts and berries
Younger adds a sprinkle of nuts to protein-rich fat-free yoghurt for some satiating healthy fats. A small handful of berries or another chopped fruit will add texture and sweetness, plus filling fibre. It might sound basic, but it’s a classic snack for a reason.
Make it: Combine 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt, two tablespoons chopped nuts, and 1/2 cup berries in a bowl.
Per serving: 858kJ, 11g fat (0g saturated), 13g carbs, 7g sugar, 43mg sodium, 1g fibre, 16g protein
3. Sliced tomato with a sprinkle of feta and olive oil
This savoury dish will make your taste buds happy. Tomatoes pack umami flavour, while feta adds tang and a little bit of salt.
Make it: Slice one medium tomato (or slice up 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes), and top with 28g feta and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Per serving: 5 56kJ, 11g fat (5g saturated), 5g carbs, 4g sugar, 265mg sodium, 1g fibre, 5g protein
4. Shrimp and cocktail sauce
Shrimps are a great source of lean protein, and it’s easy to find them pre-cooked in any supermarket. (Plus, it makes snack time feel way fancier!)
Make it: Combine eight cooked, peeled, deveined shrimps with 1/4 cup cocktail sauce for dipping.
Per serving: 527kJ, 1g fat (5g saturated), 16g carbs, 4g sugar, 432mg sodium, 1g fibre, 14g protein
5. Baby carrots with hummus
Carrots and hummus are a great snack as is, but adding a sprinkle of seasoning will make your taste buds extra happy.
Make it: Sprinkle one teaspoon of seasoning on top of 1/4 cup of regular hummus. Eat with one cup of baby carrots.
Per serving: 987kJ, 12g fat (5g saturated), 27g carbs, 12g sugar, 416mg sodium, 10g fibre, 6g protein
6. ‘Banana split’
Dietitian Robin Plotkin suggests a healthy version of the classic dessert by halving a banana, then topping it with yoghurt and nuts. It’s a delicious combo of carbs, protein and healthy fat – more importantly, it’s super-fun to eat.
Make it: Slice a small banana in half vertically. Top the open banana face with 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt and two tablespoons of chopped walnuts.
Per serving: 1 013kJ, 10g fat (1g saturated), 33g carbs, 18g sugar, 23mg sodium, 4g fibre, 10g protein
7. Egg on toast
This healthy snack is great for breakfast lovers – it’s as satisfying as a meal, but the slightly smaller portion size won’t weigh you down. Plotkin recommends using hard-boiled eggs for convenience, which you can make ahead or buy. If you have access to a stove, you can also opt for a scrambled or fried egg.
Make it: Toast a slice of whole-grain toast. Top with one egg, cooked to your preference.
Per serving: 761kJ, 6g fat (2g saturated), 20g carbs, 4g sugar, 221mg sodium, 3g fibre, 11g protein
8. Chocolate milk
This might seem like just something for kids, but it legit is a pretty great snack – especially for replenishing post-workout thanks to the simple carbs from the chocolate and the milk’s lactose.
Make it: Stir one tablespoon chocolate syrup into one cup of 2% milk.
Per serving: 728kJ, 5g fat (3g saturated), 25g carbs, 21g sugar, 134mg sodium, 1g fibre, 8g protein
9. White beans and olive tapenade
“Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Kalamata olive tapenade,” says dietitian Kendra Tolbert. “It’s a great combo of fibre, fat, protein and resistant starch that’ll keep you full and satisfied.” Tolbert eats it by the spoonful, but you can also scoop it up with a few whole-grain pita chips or cucumber slices.
Make it: Mix one teaspoon tapenade with 1/2 cup canned white beans (drained and rinsed).
Per serving: 728kJ, 4g fat (0g saturated), 20g carbs, 1g sugar, 121mg sodium, 6g fibre, 6g protein
10. Dates and pistachios
“It’s the usual fruit and nuts combo, but a little more sophisticated,” says Tolbert. Dates have a honey-like sweetness, which combines with the strong flavour of pistachios into a snack that feels like dessert.
Per serving: 891kJ, 7g fat (1g saturated), 40g carbs, 33g sugar, 35mg sodium, 5g fibre, 4g protein
11. Edamame with sea salt
Plotkin loves sprinkling edamame, in its shell or out, with a bit of sea salt. In addition to plant-based protein, you get fibre and a good dose of potassium.
Make it: Drizzle 1/2 cup shelled edamame with one teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Per serving: 586kJ, 8g fat (1g saturated), 8g carbs, 2g sugar, 481mg sodium, 1g fibre, 8g protein
12. PB-chocolate apple ‘nachos’
This sounds crazy-indulgent, but it’s actually a well-balanced snack, says Plotkin. You’ll get protein and lots of fibre, which will help slow the digestion of the little bit of added sugar from dark chocolate (preventing a mid-afternoon crash).
Per serving: 1 058kJ, 13g fat (4g saturated), 35g carbs, 25g sugar, 74mg sodium, 7g fibre, 4g protein
13. Microwave egg taco
Get creative with your microwave and make a tasty snack with enough protein to carry you to your next meal.
Make it: “Crack one egg into a microwave-safe mug and cook for 90 seconds,” says Plotkin. Immediately stir in 15g shredded cheddar, then serve inside a small whole-wheat tortilla.
Per serving: 761kJ, 10g fat (5g saturated), 11g carbs, 1g sugar, 360mg sodium, 3g fibre, 11g protein
14. Roasted chickpeas
“If you’re craving something salty and crunchy, roasted beans are a much better option than chips thanks to their combo of protein and fibre, says dietitian Jessica Levinson.
Make it: Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, then toss them with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever spice you want. Roast at 205°C for 30 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then eat. One batch makes three servings.
Per serving: 669kJ, 8g fat (1g saturated), 17g carbs, 2g sugar, 292mg sodium, 4g fibre, 5g protein
15. Almond butter crackers
“Peanut butter crackers serve as a quick option for people on the run, but the pre-packaged snack can have many hidden ingredients and kilojoules,” says dietitian Shamera Robinson. DIY it instead.
Per serving: 974kJ, 12g fat (2g saturated), 23g carbs, 2g sugar, 227g sodium, 5g fibre, 8g protein
16. Homemade popcorn
“Popcorn is a great snack to fill up on,” says Robinson, thanks to all the fibre. And you don’t have to stick with the plain stuff, either. “Try sprinkling garlic powder and dried rosemary (or Italian seasoning) for extra flavour,” suggests Robinson.
Make it: Pop three tablespoons of popcorn kernels in 1/2 tablespoon canola oil in a large saucepan on the stove. Top with your favourite herbs or spices.
Per serving: 674kJ, 6g fat (1g saturated), 28g carbs, 0g sugar, 15mg sodium, 5g fibre, 4g protein
17. DIY tzatziki dip with veggies
Greek yoghurt is a great high-protein snack that is usually sweet. However, you can easily turn that into a savoury snack by making tzatziki.
Make it: Add grated cucumber, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and lemon juice to 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yoghurt. Use one cup carrot or cucumber sticks for dipping.
Per serving: 594 kJ, 3g fat (1g saturated), 18g carbs, 9g sugar, 395mg sodium, 4g fibre, 9g protein
18. Cottage cheese with almonds and honey
“This creamy-crunchy-sweet combo is second to none,” says Robinson. The cottage cheese is rich in protein, while almonds add crunch and healthy fats. And a hint of honey makes things sweet without going overboard on added sugar.
Per serving: 820 kJ, 10g fat (2g saturated), 12g carbs, 10g sugar, 363mg sodium, 2g fibre, 17g protein
19. Biltong with raisins
“The ideal snack is portable and packed with satisfying lean protein,” says dietitian Nicole Rodriguez. Biltong fits the bill, and most brands pack a good amount of protein for less kilojoules. Look for lower salt varieties. Pair with raisins for some energising carbs and filling fibre.
Make it: Combine 28g biltong with two tablespoons raisins.
Per serving: 615kJ, 1g fat (1g saturated), 19g carbs, 3g sugar, 390mg sodium, 1g fibre, 15g protein
20. Pear and stringy cheese
If you love fancy cheese plates for their combination of sweet, salty, and creamy flavours, you’ll love this less-fussy snack. Pears have natural sugar and lots of fibre, while stringy cheese (you can get it at Woolies) is an easy way to get some satiating fat and protein in on the go.
Make it: Slice one medium pear. Eat with one low-fat stringy cheese.
Per serving: 761kJ, 6g fat (4g saturated), 27g carbs, 17g sugar, 172mg sodium, 6g fibre, 8g protein
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com