Snacking is one of those issues that can wreck the best laid plan for healthier eating. Everyone wants a snack now and then, but the key is to make those snacks healthy and nutritious as well as delicious.
There are many great snacks that can be enjoyed guilt free. For instance choosing snacks from whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat and nuts can be a great way to satisfy your craving without destroying your diet.
The world of grain and whole grain products contain a great many healthy snacks, including whole grain breads (wheat bread and rye bread are great choices), whole what bagels, wholesome tortilla shells, pita bread and whole grain cereals.
The all important vegetable and fruit food group contains so many ideas for healthy snacks that it would be impossible to list them all here. Some of the best, tastiest and easiest fresh fruit and vegetable snacks include baby carrots or carrot slices, bit size vegetables such as broccoli florets, radishes and green peppers, fresh vegetable and fruit juice and fruit salads.
For a quick and easy fruit salad, try this five minute recipe. Open a can of mandarin oranges and pour it into a bowl, making sure to capture all the delicious juice as well. Cut up a banana, an apple and a nectarine and add them to the bowl. Add some strawberries, blueberries and raisins for extra taste and color, and serve.
Of course fresh fruit also makes a great snack on its own. Snacking on apples, bananas and oranges is a great way to eat healthy and still enjoy delicious snacks. Keeping a bowl of delicious fruit on the table or the coffee table is a great way to encourage the entire family to eat healthier.
The milk and dairy products food group also contains many healthy snack items, including low fat and nonfat yogurt, skim milk, low fat puddings, cheeses and even chocolate milk.
Low fat cuts of prepared meats and low fat varieties of lunch meats make great snacks as well. Sandwiches made with whole grain bread and low calorie spreads like mustard can be a great treat any time of day or night.
Canned tuna (packed in water of course), peanut butter, eggs and egg substitutes, poultry, nuts and beans are also excellent choices for healthy snacks.
When creating healthy snacks, it is important to limit the consumption of high fat foods, and foods high in salt and sodium. Instead of buying snacks in the snack aisle of the grocery store, try making your own using some of the suggestions listed above.
For added variety, try combining several different healthy snacks in unexpected ways. For instance, try spreading peanut butter on pita bread, or use it as a fun dip for apple slices. Or top a whole grain English muffin with tuna and cheese. Place it in the broiler for a few minutes and enjoy a healthy and delicious snack.
Other good ideas for quick and healthy snacks include pairing fresh fruit with nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt, adding fresh fruit slices to cereal, and using fresh fruit and fruit juices to make delicious smoothies.
To perk up bagels that are getting a little stale, try slicing them into thin pieces and arranging them on a baking sheet. Brush them with some low fat salt free butter or margarine, some garlic powder and bake them for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. This is a great way to make your own inexpensive and healthy bagel chips without the preservatives or extra sodium found in the store bought variety.
There are of course many other types of healthy snacks, and their variety is only limited by your creativity. It is important to make a variety of healthy snacks, and keep them readily at hand. Replacing all those unhealthy snacks with healthier alternatives is one of the best ways to keep snack cravings from sidetracking your healthy eating goals.