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Are you thinking about snacking all wrong?
When hunger strikes between meals, it’s natural to try to find something to tide you over until your next meal. But every time you eat is an opportunity not just to stop your stomach from growling, but to nourish your body. Healthy snacks can provide vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, while giving you enough energy for your spin class. Here are a few you might like to try!
- Apples and cheese makes a great snack because it blends sweet and savory — a delicious combination. Apples are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and they also provide phytonutrient antioxidants, such as quercetin and polyphenols. Cheese is loaded with calcium and protein, providing nutrition for bones and muscles. Added bonus: eating protein with fruit helps prevent blood sugar spikes. Avoiding dairy? Slather almond butter on your apple slices instead.
- Bagels with ricotta cheese and strawberries are a perfect snack for spring, when red, ripe strawberries are available. You’ll get vitamin C and manganese from the berries, protein from the ricotta, and fiber from the whole-grain bagels. I’ll make mine with gluten-free bagels.
- Cole slaw doesn’t have to be a too-sweet side dish swimming in mayonnaise. The main ingredients in most slaws are raw cabbage and carrots. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that helps activate detoxification pathways in the body. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and a good source of folate. Carrots are high in carotenoids, which are free-radical-fighting phytonutrients. They’re also an excellent source of vitamins A and K, and a good source of fiber. Try a vinegar-based slaw for a healthier change of pace!
- Fruit skewers with chocolate are mostly fruit, with a dash of chocolate to make them an indulgent treat. Try a combination of berries, kiwi, melon, and pineapple, and drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate. It’s true what they say about dark chocolate being good for you (in moderation). It’s high in phytonutrient antioxidants called polyphenols, which protect your cells from free radical damage, thus protecting you against a variety of diseases.
- Kale chips are crunchy, delicious, healthy, and easy to make. Just spread raw kale on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt (add a little nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste) and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy. Kale is another cruciferous vegetable and an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, plus the mineral manganese. It’s also a good source of copper. You do lose some of the vitamins by baking, but when a vegetable has 684 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamin K, you have some to spare.
- Popcorn is a whole grain and a natural source of fiber, with 1 gram per cup. Surprisingly, it’s also rich in antioxidant polyphenols, just like dark chocolate. Top it with butter and garlic powder, nutritional yeast, or a little grated Parmesan cheese. Or make your own healthier kettle corn with cinnamon and a little stevia instead of a lot of sugar.
- Yogurt-covered blueberries takes the classic combination of fruit and yogurt and adds a twist by freezing them together. Use a toothpick to dip each berry in Greek yogurt, arrange on a wax paper-covered baking sheet, and freeze for an hour for a tasty frozen treat. Packed with phytonutrient antioxidants called anthocyanins, blueberries are linked to improved memory and mood, heart health, healthy blood sugar, and skin health. They are also an excellent source of vitamins C and K plus the mineral manganese, in addition to being a good source of fiber.
And of course, Juice Plus+ chewables are always a delicious treat. What’s your favorite healthy snack? Share in the comments below!