Snacking has become almost like a fourth meal for many of us. While there is nothing inherently wrong with snacking, you want to be sure to choose nourishing foods that support your body and health. Snacking can be daily but be careful not to make it an all-day event. Always practice moderation when eating. This helps prevent overindulging in unhealthy foods that only add extra calories, sodium, or fat, that can hurt your health and waistline.
The best of both worlds comes together when you eat three meals a day, and if you need a pick-me-up snack, to do it right.
So, if you’re trying to eat healthier and need ideas for guilt-free snacks that also taste good, here is a listing of some of the best snacks to consider:
- Fruit Salad
Fruit is always a good snack making you feel guilt-free. All fruits contain natural sugars making them naturally sweet, in addition to various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
The ideal fruit salad is one with a combination of at least three different fruits. Here, you can get creative by mixing together sliced bananas and strawberries with chopped apples or have a berry-focused snack of blueberries and raspberries mixed in with chopped kiwi and mango. Then, add a touch of lemon or lime juice, coconut flakes, sliced almonds, or mint leaves, and you’ve created a fruit snack masterpiece.
- Dark Chocolate
Isn’t it nice to know that chocolate can be guilt-free – as long as it’s at least 72% cacao content. Studies show that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids important for heart health by lowering blood pressure and controlling chronic inflammation. Dark chocolate may also help lower insulin resistance, reducing your risk of diabetes.
It’s best to stick with minimally processed dark chocolate with minimal sugar and fats added. Also, be mindful that just one small square piece is all you need daily to get the health benefits.
When made right, popcorn is one of the best all-time favorite snacks. The trick is to avoid most microwavable popcorn (too high in sodium and fat), and instead, buy popcorn kernels and pop it yourself. You’re in control of how much oil you use or if you use any at all or not. Popcorn is a light, airy, high-fiber, and low-calorie treat when made with minimal oil.
The other good news about popcorn is that it contains antioxidants called polyphenols, linked to improving blood circulation and better digestive health, and it’s highly satiating – it makes you feel full!
- Yogurt Parfait
A layered yogurt parfait is your go-to for a decadent snack that is sure to squelch your hunger. It’s best to keep it simple to avoid extra calories. Begin with your base of a layer of plain Greek yogurt high in protein. Then add a thin layer of granola and another layer of fruit, such as berries. Repeat this layering and your high-calcium, fiber-rich snack is ready.
Nuts are always a great snack idea. Portable and packed with protein, minerals, fiber, and healthy fat, nuts are perfect for providing a mid-day energy boost. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and pistachios are all healthy nuts to rely on for boosting heart health and improving digestion. Since the calories in nuts can add up quickly, keep your portion size to a handful each day.
- Vegetables and Dip/Hummus
If you like a crunchy snack but don’t want to rely on chips or crackers, low-calorie, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fresh veggies with dip or hummus make a great snack. Most veggies can be cut up for easy dipping, such as making red or green pepper sticks, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or chopping broccoli or cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
Either use a homemade dip from Greek yogurt, herbs, spices, and lemon juice or dip in ready-made hummus. Whichever you choose, this snack has ‘guilt free’ written all over it.
- Peanut Butter with Whole Wheat Toast
Remember your love of peanut butter as a kid? You can still enjoy this protein-packed spread on fiber-rich whole wheat toast as a chewy, delicious snack filling you up for hours until your next meal.
Whole grains are a complete package of many health benefits, as opposed to refined grains stripped of essential nutrients during processing. Whole grains like whole wheat toast are rich in healthy fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Whole grains also provide fiber that breaks down slowly helping maintain steady blood sugar levels. Fiber also lowers cholesterol and may help prevent tiny blood clots from forming, possibly leading to heart attacks or strokes.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.