Raw veggies are an ideal snack since they are very low in calories, provide numerous important micronutrients, and don’t require time to prepare. Pairing them with a tasty dip (see “dip” section below) or a healthy salad dressing adds more flavor and fat to stave off hunger.
Nuts and seeds are well-known as one of the most nutritious snacks, but portion control is really important since they are calorie-dense. You should be aiming for a 1/4 cup serving. In that serving, you typically receive 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, multiple vitamins and minerals (Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, and selenium), and antioxidant polyphenols.
Many types of fiber function as prebiotics (food) for your healthy gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and turn it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs have some evidence for improving gut health.
Popcorn is a good snack alternative to chips. Popcorn is a whole grain, so you are getting fiber, minerals, and vitamins (iron, magnesium, phosphorous, B1, B3, B6, zinc), that chips don’t have.
Additionally, there is some modest evidence that choosing popcorn over potato chips can help you lose weight. One study showed that 15 calories of popcorn was as filling as 150 calories of potato chips.
Finally, the form of popcorn matters. I recommend air-popped rather than microwave popcorn. Most microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoid acid (PFOA), which has been associated with thyroid disease.
If you need to satisfy your salty/crispy craving, here are a few ideas. I would highly recommend pairing this with either a dip, meat, or cheese to increase your satiety.
Dips are easy to make, economical, convenient (lasts in the fridge for days), and can increase the satiety factor and enjoyment of vegetables.
I strongly recommend you pay close attention to carbohydrates. Ignore the phrase “sugar free” (which is a meaningless and often purposefully misleading statement)– READ THE LABEL to see how many grams of carbohydrate it has.
limit sweet snacks to 15gm carbohydrate portions
limit desserts to 30gm carbohydrate portions.
Why Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt is made by fermenting yogurt in tanks, then straining the whey and other liquids to produce a thicker yogurt with a higher protein content than other yogurts.
What are the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt?
Choose 2% fat or whole-milk yogurt. Yogurt comes in full fat, reduced fat, and fat-free versions. I recommend for most people 2% fat or higher. Fat helps give you a feeling of fullness, and non-fat yogurts typically have more sugar and additives to to make up for the loss of taste and texture. However, feel free to try the lower fat versions to see for yourself if you notice a difference.
Make sure the brand you buy has no *added* sugar. All greek yogurt will have sugar in them (mostly the natural sugar found in milk, lactose). There is typically about 9 grams of lactose per cup of plain greek yogurt. While the natural sugar in greek yogurt is fine, some brands will load up their product with additional sugar. This is especially true of flavored yogurts, which can sometime have more sugar than a candy bar.
Why choose plain yogurt over flavored yogurt? While there are some brands that make perfectly healthy flavored yogurts, there are many more with loads of sugar and other unhealthy additives. If you buy flavored yogurt, read the label carefully.