Quick bites between meals should do more than just tide you over!
These inspired ideas will score you extra nutrients and bonus energy…
Why Quality Snacks Matter
Even if you regularly eat healthfully, you can’t always pack the vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein that your body needs into each meal, every day. Which is why healthy snacks (which make up almost a quarter of your daily calories, FYI) have to work harder to fill in any nutritional holes. To help you break out of your hummus-and-carrots rut, we gave chefs and nutritionists three snack goals to hit: fresh, easy, and fun. Ahead, their tastiest nibbles to add to your daily rotation.
Cheese and Crackers Upgraded
Top a fiber-rich oatcake with ricotta, red grapes, and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt, suggests Elizabeth Stein, the founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth, a whole-foods company.
Japanese Avocado “Toast”
Top squares of nori with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a savory snack that’s chewy, creamy, and crunchy, says Stephanie Middleberg, R.D.N., the founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. Seaweed is rich in vitamins and minerals, and avocado is full of healthy fat.
Yogurt is delicious as a tart and creamy base for vegetables, says Cheryl Sternman Rule, the author of Yogurt Culture. Mix a pinch of sea salt into six ounces of plain yogurt and top with thinly sliced radishes and cucumbers. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with chopped dill, and finish with a pinch more of sea salt. (Did you know that Greek yogurt is among The Best Foods for Flat Abs?)
Tahini-and-Cranberry Celery Sticks
Healthy-lifestyle gurus Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the coauthors of Good + Simple, give the childhood favorite ants on a log a grown-up makeover. Fill celery sticks with tahini and dot them with dried cranberries (or swap in raisins, goji berries, or chopped dried apricots) for a crunchy treat with a nutty-sweet taste that’s high in protein, fiber, and calcium.
Give your guac a dose of energizing magnesium with this Mediterranean twist from Allison Day, of the healthy food blog Yummy Beet. Mash avocado with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Use pita chips or sliced cucumber for dipping.
With their intense sweetness and hearty chewiness, just a few medjool dates can satisfy any sugar craving. Amp up their flavor by stuffing them with a salty cheese like goat or feta, Middleberg suggests. (Could Cheese Help Fight Cancer?)
Crunchy Chickpea Snacks
Roast a batch of chickpeas on the weekend and all week long you’ll have a crunchy, nutty, addictive snack that’s high in fiber and protein. This recipe from chef and author Ariane Resnick is customizable: Drizzle two cups of drained chickpeas with one to two tablespoons of vegetable or algae oil, and sprinkle with seasonings to taste. For a tropical flavor, try ground ginger, coconut sugar, and orange zest. For a ranch flavor, use garlic powder, dried dill, salt, and pepper. Roast at 375°F for about 20 minutes.
Chia is perfect post-gym, says chef Julie Morris, the author of Superfood Snacks. In a blender, process the flesh of two mangoes, half a cup of light coconut milk, and one tablespoon of agave syrup until smooth. Add more agave to taste and three tablespoons of chia seeds, then pulse to incorporate. Pour into two small bowls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will last up to a week.
Pumpkin Pie-Nut Butter Dip
Blend a half cup of nut butter with one cup of pumpkin puree and one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy with chopped vegetables, Stein says. Low-cal pumpkin adds a potent dose of vitamin A, which keeps skin, teeth, and muscles healthy. (Love pumpkin? Check out 13 Pumpkin Recipes to Squash Your Cravings.)
Easy Veggie Rolls
These look fancy, but they’re super simple, says Stein. Fill rice paper sheets or lettuce leaves with shredded cucumber and carrots, sliced avocado, and even leftover chicken if you have it. Roll up, cut in half, and pair with some nut butter thinned out with water or soy sauce for dipping.