When you’re trying to lose weight or following a healthy eating and weight loss plan, planning what you are going to have for your three main meals a day is relatively straightforward. There are numerous healthy options to choose from and it’s not difficult to think up low calorie, tasty meals incorporating ingredients such as fish, salads, grains and vegetables.
However, when it comes to that mid-morning snack or something to keep energy levels up between lunch and dinner, choosing what to have is not nearly as easy.
The temptation is to reach for the chocolate bars or a bag of chips, but there are some far healthier choices out there. Our 28 Day Diet & Exercise Plan has daily snacks to choose from and below are a selection to choose from too.
Healthy eating snacks
- Bananas. The simple banana is probably the best snack for an instant energy boost. Bananas are relatively low in calories and are packed with potassium, vitamins and fibre. Bananas are low in fat and are very quickly digested, meaning they are quick to satisfy hunger.
- Granola bars. Granola, or other cereal bats can be a great choice for healthy snacking. Oats and grains provide a form of slow release energy which will keep energy levels up to the next meal and are also full of fibre. Bars with nuts and dried fruit may be slightly higher in calories than the plain variety, but are tasty, nutritious and contain healthy fats rather than the saturated fats found in processed foods.
- Yoghurt. Natural yoghurt, or the Greek style varieties are a great choice for a snack and can be eaten with fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to boost the nutritional value even further. Always opt for a natural, unsweetened yoghurt as some of the more processed varieties are packed with sugar and artificial additives.
- Frozen Juice. In hot months, there is nothing better than ice cream, but shop bought ice creams are packed with saturated fats and sugars. A great alternative is to freeze fresh orange, apple or pineapple juice into cubes or make sorbets which can be kept in the freezer and whipped out when the icy craving hits.
- Licorice. Recent studies have found that licorice can help to fight fat, and this is thought to be caused by the blocking of an enzyme in the body. However, the licorice has to be good quality eating licorice rather than processed licorice sweets for the effect to be found. For those who crave a sweet treat when trying to lose weight, natural licorice may well be the answer.
- Nuts. Many people trying to lose weight avoid nuts, given that they are relatively high in calories compared with other snacks. As well as giving an instant energy boost, nuts are extremely high in vitamins and minerals, and the type of fat contained in nuts work to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. As they are packed with fibre, nuts will provide a long-lasting energy boost. Pack small portions of mixed almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios to take to work, or keep them in the cupboard at home for when the desire to snack strikes.
- Rice cakes. Part of the attraction of a snack is having something crispy and which feels like a real treat. Rice cakes are very low in calories and are filling, and a smear of jam or peanut butter will not add a huge amount of calories but will turn the rice cake into something a lot more special.
- Apples. This old diet favourite is a good source of energy and fibre, and tastes good too. Apples are very portable and can be easily carried to work or to the gym for a mid-morning snack.
- Cheese. Hard cheeses such as cheddar are high in saturated fats and are best avoided, but low fat cream and cottage cheeses are low in calories and delicious when eaten with some oat cakes, or even mixed with apple or orange segments.
- Popcorn. What adds the calories to commercial popcorn is the added butter or sugar which gives the product its flavour, but also drastically increases the fat content. Fresh popcorn, flavoured with paprika, cinnamon or cayenne pepper is very low in fat, high in fibre and will give a quick burst of energy.